Anatolian Eagle 2013/2

Anatolian Eagle 2013-2 was held from 10th of June until 21st of June at Konya Air Base. Compared with Frisian Flag and NATO Tiger Meet it was the third large scale exercise in Europe this year. Touchdown Aviation got the great opportunity to visit Konya Air Base to see the Turkish Air Force and allied partners to operate together in the exercise.

The first Anatolian Eagle exercise was held in 2001 after the need for an own training facility has risen with modernization of the Turkish Air Forces fighter fleet. After the conflicts in Bosnia and Kosovo the Turkish Air Force gained experience and reached a performance level that they can host their own exercise and to provide training for other allied air forces. With Red Flag, USA being inspirational for the Anatolian Eagle exercises it's no wonder the facilities on base, such as the dining hall and ops buildings, are at the same level as Red Flag or Maple Flag exercises. The Anatolian Eagle exercise is held two to four times a year of which about one or two exercises are national exercises. In the other Anatolian Eagle exercises throughout the year the Turkish Air Force invites Allied Air Forces to give them the opportunity to join the exercise at Konya Air Base.

Anatolian Eagle exercise can be compared with Red Flag. Simulated wartime environment will increases with more difficulties day by day for the aircrews to give them the best training to prepare them for a real world conflict The scenarios have an blue and red forces within the Combined Air Operations (COMAO). During the mission all flight information is transmitted back to Command and control centre via ACMI. NATO E-3A AWACS provides data links to airplanes to provide them information such targets and where friendly forces are in the area and to provide tactical information to defeat enemy forces. After the mission the aircrews from Blue en Red air will debrief in the big briefing room to get lessons learnt to improve their skills.

This year’s Anatolian Eagle exercise suffered from cancellation from two NATO air forces and at the last minute cancellation from the Royal Air Force of Oman. For the AE2013-2 the NATO send two E-3A Awacs aircraft from Geilenkirchen to Konya. During AE2013-2 there where air forces from the Middle East, the Royal Saudi Air Forces and the Arab Emirates Air Force & Air Defence.

The RSAF provide it F-15C/D eagles from 13 Squadron based at Dhahran Air Base in Saudi Arabia, the UAE AF provide it F-16E’s block 60 desert Falcons from Shaheen 1 and 2 Squadron bases at Al Dhafra Air Base in de UAE. The Turkish Air Force participated with multiple units 142, 162 and 192 Filo flying with F-16’s from different blocks. The 142 Filo send their new build F-16C/D block 50 to Konya. Also the TUAF send one of their F-4E 2020 terminator units 111 Filo from Eskiseher to Anatolian Eagle. The 111 Filo flown together with the Konya based 132 Filo with the F-4E’s as red air.

During the exercise every day two missions were flown one morning wave and an afternoon wave, each wave there 50 aircraft involved in the exercise. During the exercise the Turkish Air Force provided air refueling and also tactical transport with C-130 Hercules and Case 235. Also the 135 Filo flying with AS532UL was on SAR standby during the exercise to provide rescue operation if needed.

The AE2013-2 was a great success, the aircrews that participated gained experience to train for the real deal. The doctrine “train as you fight” was seen at the Anatolian Exercise 2013-2. We would like to thank the commander from Anatolian Eagle for his hospitality, and all personal involved from the Turkish Air Force for the efforts and hospitality during our visit at Konya Air Base.

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