The German Air Force is happy that its largest military exercise of the year went fairly well despite the government shutdown of the USA. The ops called Mountain Roundup didn’t take place in the idyllic Bavaria, but in the airspace around Mountain Home AFB, Idaho, USA, in October.
Not that everything went according to plan. “Especially the stand-down of the 64th Aggressor Squadron of Nellis Air Force Base in Nevada hurt us in the beginning of the exercise”, admits Luftwaffe Major Marcel Schlereth of the German training centre at Holloman AFB to the press department of the German Air Force. German Tornados meant to fly on the ‘friendly side’ now had to be redeployed to fly as ‘Red Air’.
Only at the end of the exercise the Americans were able to put up some extra adversary air power with F-15E Strike Eagles from the 391st FS out of Mountain Home AFB and A-10 Warthogs from the Idaho ANG flying from Boise. The number of aircraft participating in the so-called Composite Air Ops (COMAO) were up to 60 at a time.
In total the Luftwaffe deployed 18 of its Tornado fighter jets. Base element were 10 from the German Air Force Flying Training Center (GAFFTC) at US Holloman AFB. But the Taktisches Luftwaffengeschwader 33 (TLG33) at Büchel in Germany dispatched 6 Tornado ASSTA 3s, joined by two Tornado IDS from Taktisches Luftwaffengeschwader 51 (TLG51) from Schleswig. A pair of civilian Learjet 35s from GFD based at Hohn joined in, as well as a NATO E-3A Sentry from Geilenkirchen AB.
Seven Royal Canadian Air Force CF-18A+ from RCAF Cold Lake and six Singaporese Air Force F-15SGs based as a training unit at Mountain Home AFB participated as well, but most impressive was the US involvement:
- 4x EA-18G Growler, USMC VAQ-136, homebase NAS Whidbey Island
- 10x AV-8B Harrier, USCM VMA-542, homebase MCAS Cherry Point
- 1x KC-130T, USMC VMGR-234, homebase JRB Fort Worth
- 10 F-15E, USAF 391 FS, homebase Mountain Home AFB
- 4x F-15C, Oregon ANG 114 FS, homebase Kingdley Field
- 8x A-10, Idaho ANG 190 FS, homebase Boise
- 2x B-52H, USAF 23 BS, homebase Minot AFB
- 2x KC-135, USAF 22 ARW, homebase McConnell AFB
- 1x KC-135, USAF 92 ARW, homebase Fairchild AFB
- 1x RC-135, USAF 38 RS, homebase Offut AFB
The Europe based Luftwaffe Tornados took off on October 21st, to return back to the east side of the Atlantic Ocean. The 10 Tornado IDS of the German training unit at remain Holloman in the States until the Luftwaffe is close to phase-out the Tornado totally.
Source: Luftwaffe / USAF