At the end of the 20th century and at the beginning of the 2000s, the Gulf War, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Kosovo and Iraq Wars have shown that air forces will play the major role in deterrence and in the determination of the outcome of future wars. To train these aspects and more an exercise called ‘Anatolian Eagle’ was established by the Turkish Air Force starting its first edition from 18-29 June 2001 and held annually ever since.
Flags of all the participating countries
The concept of Anatolian Eagle is similar to the Red Flag exercises which are held at Nellis AFB, Nevada since 1983. Anatolian Eagle trainings are realized in close-to-real war environment, with a scenario from easy to hard, combined with the advantage of high-level technology and by monitoring the quality of each mission in a computer environment. The aim is to test the knowledge and abilities of all participants and to raise the level of training by detecting the hitches and deficiencies. The basis of the scenario consists of the attack of the BLUE team with Combined Military Air Operation (COMAO) on the tactical and strategic targets in the RED lands which are defended by fighter aircraft and Surface-to-Air Missile (SAM) systems.
The White Headquarters, sort of the brain of Anatolian Eagle where the staff works, is the center building in which the exercises are planned and the statistical studies are carried out. The Command Control Center is the headquarters in which the information (location, position and flight information) of aircraft, which are transferred through ACMI (Air Combat Manoeuvring Instrumentation), can be observed in real-time. The tracks detected by AWACS and land radars and real-time searching, locking and shooting images of SAMs and anti-aircraft systems can be observed. Also the MASE (Multi Aegis Site Emulator) Operation Center, Anatolian Eagle sorties and daily base flights are all controlled and commanded here. The main briefing hall, which is located in the same building with CCC, has a capacity of 450 people and both the last briefings before each sortie and the after-flight debriefings are carried out here.
Located in the Red Building, the Red Forces plan their tasks and have their briefings here. No one except the Red Forces can enter this building. Equally, personnel from the Red Forces cannot enter other buildings either. The national and foreign squadrons participating in Anatolian Eagle are stationed in Blue-1, Blue-2 and Blue-3 buildings. Each building has briefing rooms for squadrons to have their briefings and brain-storming sessions. The Anatolian Eagle airspace is expended towards the South and reaches a dimension of 200 Nm East to West and 150 Nm North to South. The Salt Area, the main operation airspace, is being used from ground level up to 50,000 feet. During the AE trainings the AWACS gives C2 support to the Blue forces and the land radar located on base gives GCI support to the Red forces. The Turkish tanker aircraft gives Air-to-Air Refueling (AAR) support to both forces. Anatolian Eagle is held 3 times a year, two times with only national participants and one exercise with international participation.
Anatolian Eagle inspires the ages and aces!
This year’s international edition was held from June 10 till June 20 at Konya Air Base and was attended by foreign participants from Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates and the NATO E-3 contingent. The Royal Air Force of Oman was also scheduled to participate, but cancelled just prior to the event. In total 54 aircraft took part in the exercise: 27 Turkish F-16’s, 8 Turkish F-4E-2020’s, one Turkish KC-135R (flown from their home base) together with a C-130 Hercules and one CN235M. The Saudi’s brought 8 F-15 Eagles, the UAE 6 F-16E Block 60 aircraft and NATO was there with its E-3A AWACS. Together with the aircraft came 540 Turkish AF personnel and 525 foreign military personnel.
Missions were flown twice a day, consisting of a briefing before the flight and a debriefing afterwards. The various elements of training put into this exercise are all ingredients that help Anatolian Eagle Training Center Command accomplishing its mission:
- To train fighters for victory.
- To test and validate systematically the fighter’s combat readiness status and to output tactical training needs and plan exercises accordingly for efficiency.
- To establish a background and buildup knowledge for doing research about Tactical Air operation.
- To research operation and leadership tactics and to analyze threats in order to reach military aims of a war in a shortest time and with minimal effort.
- To support defining operational needs, logistics and R&D activities.
- To ensure a training environment that fulfills air forces training needs.
- To support tests of the new developed weapon/airplane systems
The close proximity of the ranges and the available large airspace to train in, combined with perfect weather conditions made this edition again a success despite the absence of a few nations due to budget restraints.
But the future for Anatolian Eagle looks very bright and therefore next year’s international edition of AE will be another great challenge for the Anatolian Eagle Training Center Command to organize with hopefully even more foreign nations and personnel attending.
|F-16C/D Block 50+
|Kayseri / Erkilet AB
|Dhahran / King Abdullah Aziz AB
|United Arab Emirates
|F-16E Block 60
|Abu Dhabi / Al Dhafra AB
Phodocu would like to thank the Anatolian Eagle Staff for their hospitality as well as HQ Turkish Air Force and in particular the Wing Commander of 3 AJÜ.