The dozen US Air Force F-16 Fighting Falcons of the 31st Fighter Wing deployed from their homebase Aviano in Italy to Lask Airbase in Poland have started their joined aerial training with the Polish Air force on 18 March 2014. The Vipers were sent north in reaction to military action by Russian on the Crimean peninsula and Russian statements to consider requests for help by Russian citizens anywhere in Ukraine.
The USAFE 52nd Operations Group Detachment 1 – as the 12 Aviono F-16s and 200 personnel are called – officially hopes “to enhance interoperability, allowing pilots to take advantage of a unique opportunity to operate across the range of military operations with precise full-spectrum capabilities”.
Lt. Col. John Peterson, the 555th Fighter Squadron commander. “When we execute operations in possible real-world situations, we need to have taken the opportunity to train with our fellow NATO nations. In this case, having been invited by the Polish government to train with Polish air force counterparts, it’s a unique opportunity for us to combine forces.”
On the first day of flying, 16 pilots were sent up just to familiarise themselves in the new environment and procedures. As the training continues, the scenarios become more complex, allowing pilots to exercise their capabilities to a comprehensive extent.
Aerial training will continue with the integration of Polish F-16s to strengthen U.S. and Polish communication and combine in-flight tactics.