Spanish Eurofighter fighters take on US F-35s in Alaska

First major challenge for the group Air Force which is immersed in an unprecedented Around the World with aircraft French and German. And since yesterday, within the framework of the Pacific Skies initiative, Spanish fighters and aircraft participate in one of the most demanding maneuvers of this deployment: the Arctic Defender exercise in Alaska (United States), the only one of the three in which they will take part in which They will train with live fire and with fifth-generation fighters, such as the F-35 and F-22 Americans.

Organized by the German Air Force, these maneuvers, which will last until the 17th, will involve around 1,000 German soldiers. 500 personnel and more than 60 aircraftincluding four fighters Eurofighter and three transport aircraft (two A400M and a A330) Spanish, which form the so-called «Plus Ultra» Group.

Formation of European and US aircraft participating in the maneuversAir ForceAir Force

As explained by the Air Force in a statement, “the ‘Arctic Defender’ exercise aims to improve both the tactical capabilities of the participating units such as the interoperability among them», one of the main objectives of this deployment throughout the world, in addition to Promoting the Community Defense Industrysince the planes of the three countries are European.

Realistic combats

Specifically, it is a Red Flag type exercisethat is, “a simulation of combats between two opposing air forceswhere participants train situations with the greatest possible realism, even using Royal armament on certain missions.”

In this way, the pilots of the participating armies prepare “for confront any potential enemytraining them to operate in all scenarios, no matter how remote they are and against any threat, no matter how complex,” explains the Air Force.

The Air Force begins today in Alaska an exercise with real weapons within the framework of the 'Pacific Skies' deployment
The Air Force begins today in Alaska an exercise with real weapons within the framework of the ‘Pacific Skies’ deploymentEuropa Press

During the first day, in which they received a visit from the head of the Air Combat Command, Lieutenant General Francisco González-Espresati Amián, and of theGerman Defense Minister Boris Pistoriusthey got used to the terrain to later practice the elimination of defenses or enemy command centers with guided munition and carry out aerial combat.

It is a demanding exercise that “reproduces various challenging scenarios“, with a “very demanding battle rhythm.” And it takes place in one of the largest training grounds in the worldthe “Joint Pacific Alaska Range Complex”, an airspace with an area of ​​approximately 300,000 square kilometersmore than half the area of ​​the entire Iberian Peninsula, details the Spanish Air Force.

Spanish fighters will launch around twenty laser-guided bombs during the exercise

During the days that these maneuvers last, they will carry out all kinds of missionseach one more demanding than the other, and they practiced risky maneuvers, such as low altitude flightskeys to avoiding detection. And Alaska’s terrain is ideal for this.

Guided ammunition

The Spanish Eurofighters to launch 24 laser-guided bombs GBU-16 throughout the more than 80 hours of flight and 40 sorties planned. In fact, for two days, the Spanish Army will lead the planning of the missions and for another two days the air to air combat.

And along with the European aircraft, the American latest generation F-22 and F-35 fighters. The latter is the fighter aircraft desired by the Spanish Armed Forces, especially because of the Navy in its naval version (B), Well, today it is the only option on the market for replace the “Harriers” operating from the aircraft carrier «John Charles I» and that are close to reaching the end of their useful life.

Around the world Armed Forces
Around the world Armed ForcesTania NietoThe reason

In this first exercise, personnel and resources from the Wing 14, Wing 31, Air Deployment Support Squadron (EADA), Air Medical Unit for Deployment Support, Armament and Experimentation Logistics CenterDirectorate of Economic Affairs, Head of Air Mobility and Air Combat Command. A significant deployment of troops and capabilities in such a remote place is another of the objectives of this trip around the world: to demonstrate the capacity of Spain and its allies to successfully project an air force anywhere in the world as required and at any time. A message of deterrence with a clear recipient, Russia, although it is not named directly.

But in addition, this exercise will also test the interoperability between allied nations, especially between the three deployed in «Pacific Skies», Not only do they share many of the aircraft, but in this deployment the maintenance of the same is carried out in a manner shared. «It will serve to exchange experiences and harmonize tactics and procedures,” the Spanish Army highlights.

Once this exercise is completed, the Spanish, French and German aircraft will begin one of the most demanding and longest sections of their journey, which will take them from Alaska to Japanwhere they will arrive skirting Russian airspace. As they confirmed when they presented this challenge, they are clear that the Russian fighters will go out to meet them to identify them and try to intimidate them.