June 22, 2006 (by Lieven Dewitte) - Pakistan has again sent six of its F-16s to Konya Air Base, Turkey to participate in a joint military exercise codenamed "Anatolian Eagle" which is held from June 12th untill June 23rd.
PAF F-16A's #83703 and #84704 in tight formation above some hostile terrain. [PAF photo by Usman Shabbir]
Other nations participating to the Anatolian Eagle-2006/2 Exercise are the United States, France and of course Turkey
. A NATO
AWACS is also joining.
The exercise on and near the Turkish air base of Konya is aimed to develop cooperation and mutual exchange of views among participant countries.
Essentially a simulated air war, it is one of the largest and most complex joint air force exercises in the world. The objective of the exercise is to have an average of two Combined Air Operation (COMAO) missions per day.
"Blue Forces" (allies) and "Red Forces" (ennemies) go head to head in complex air-to-air and air-to-surface missions. There are usually no less than 45 aircraft involved per mission for the "Blue Forces" and about 15 for the "Red Forces".
Air Force's contingent consists of six F-16 multi-role aircraft. Chief of the Air Staff Tanvir Mahmood Ahmed witnessed the air operations in Turkey.
The French participate with five Mirage F1 CT from the 2/30 "Normandie-Niémen" fighter squadron based in Colmar.
Turkey itself brings 38 aircraft including F-4s, F-5s and F-16s to the exercise.
The main American element comes from the 510th Fighter Squadron, based at Aviano. Personnel from Incirlik Air Base and the U.S. contingent at Ankara will play supporting roles.
It provides the 510th opportunities such as low-level flying, (dummy) bomb dropping and large-scale battles that the unit rarely gets to experience in Italy
. The areas the planes will be flying over are generally less populated and there are fewer restrictions than in the airspace over most of Europe
The first Anatolian Eagle joint military exercise by the US, Turkey, and Israel
took place over southern Turkey for 13 days in June 2001. Besides, the American and the Turkish forces regularly practice as Nato allies.
The first Anatolian Eagle exercise by the United States, Turkey, and Israel took place over southern Turkey for 13 days ending 29 June 2001. Since then, Anatolian Eagle has become an annual event, open to NATO air forces.