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USAFE F-16 pilots test their bombing skills during Excalibur bombing competition

August 19, 2005 (by 1st Lt. Carla Gleason) - Aircraft from the U.S. Air Force and the Royal Air Force joined forces for a training exercise at Royal Air Force Lakenheath Aug. 17 to 19. Excalibur, a multination bombing competition, is an opportunity for aircrew members to test their skills and pit their wits against each other.
"Competitions like Excalibur not only allow us to practice with our equipment, but they allow us to test our procedures and leadership skills," said Brig. Gen. Robert P. Steel, 48th Fighter Wing commander. "It is events like these that help us hone our skills, our lines of communication and our tactical abilities."

Excalibur is designed to enhance esprit de corps, not only among USAFE squadrons, but on an international scale as well. The competition pitted the talents of pilots from the 492nd and 494th Fighter Squadrons here, the 52nd and 53rd FS at Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany, the 510th and 555th FS at Aviano Air Base, Italy, and Royal Air Force pilots assigned to RAF Marham and RAF Coltishall.

"This type of event builds unity and pride in our squadron, group and wing organizations," said Capt. Rich Carver, 48th Operations Support Squadron weapons assistant chief. "These competitions give us a chance to interact with other USAFE units as well as NATO units."

F-15E Strike Eagles and F-16 Fighting Falcons from Spangdahlem and Aviano and RAF GR-3 Jaguar and GR-4 Tornado fighter aircraft were flown during the competition. Although each team's aircraft had different capabilities, the aim was to pit pilot against pilot.

"These competitions test proficiencies in basic core competencies which are and will be (used) downrange," Captain Carver said.

Crews were judged on how well they dropped BDU-33 bombs on specific targets from defined altitudes, speeds and angles. Competitors were judged on their accuracy and how well they followed set restrictions such as angle of attack, altitude and speed.

Courtesy of USAFE News Service