With thanks to the Headquarters of the Turkish General Staff and the Turkish Air Force, the Turkish Embassy in The Hague in The Netherlands, and to all the other individual persons for their great support and hospitality during all those trainings.
Anatolian Eagle Training
North to South 180NM, East to West 215 NM wide AE airspace is one of the largest military training areas in the world, allowing multiple assets to employ their tactics away from the effects of any traffics around.
Anatolian Eagle Training Center (AETC)
Located at 3rd Main Jet Base Konya, is a high level tactical training center, providing realistic combat training to our units and friendly countries in a high threat environment. The AETC is one of the most sophisticated military training centers in the world and is one of the three training centers with such capabilities in the world. Although it is a recent center established in 2001, AETC is considered to be the best training center amongst other training centers (Red Flag/USA, Maple Flag/Canada) since it provides an interactive environment, has no restrictions in the airfield, develops scenarios in line with the participant countries requests, and arranges missions accordingly with the training needs of the participants.
Anatolian Eagle Training is intended to provide
- A simulated "training environment" imitating virtual operational environment to train combat ready personnel;
- The fighter pilots the opportunity to apply their own tactics in multi-aircraft missions;
- A forum enabling exchange of ideas and lessons learned.
Besides, it is aimed to train the participants as they fight on various mission types and train them how to survive, and maintain their combat readiness.
Building reputation in the international arena, Anatolian Eagle Training increases the training level of the Turkish Armed Forces units as well:
- It is the only environment where Land, Naval, Air and Special Forces and Cyprus Turkish Forces Command participate a joint training;
- It provides an international training environment to display our training level and capability to other participant countries;
- Participants at every level learn how to fight in joint multi-aircraft operation and exchange experiences;
- Lessons are learned in a synergic environment and standard implementing procedures are derived at the end of the training.
At Anatolian Eagle Training, the blue forces, within the constraints of a scenario, attacks red enemy region, protected by airborne and ground based assets. All aircraft airborne, all threat systems on the ground, and datalink and vocal communication are tracked, and assessed by Anatolian Eagle operations center.
In the first week every day two missions were flown from Monday to Thursday with one morning wave and an afternoon wave, each with up to 60 aircraft involved in the exercise. On Friday there was only one mission in the morning. The second week from Monday to Wednesday two missions were flown each day and on Thursday one wave in the morning. A total of 16 combined air operation (COMAO) missions were flown throughout the exercise (all were successfully completed). Air refueling and also tactical transport with C-130 Hercules and CASA 235s was provided by the Turkish Air Force. On CSAR standby for search and rescue flight was 135 Filo flying with the Eurocopter AS532UL. AE2014/2 consisted of a Blue (friendly) Force achieving certain objectives and a Red (enemy) Force trying to stop them. 132 Filo with their F-16s from Akinci AB played in the Red Force "enemy" role.
(click on photo to see full gallery)
Participating units and types during our 9 visits
A310 10+27 from Flugbereitschaft des Bundesministeriums der Verteidigung (FBS BMVg) Base: Köln-Bonn Wahn (AE-15/1).
Israëli Air and Space Force
Israeli units deploy regularly to Turkey including participation in Anatolian Eagle. The opportunity to meet and exercise with other Air Forces and availability of a lot a free air space is ideal for the IASF. In AE-08/3 two squadrons were present with five aircraft each. Four in each wave and a single reserve.
The Israeli F-15 detachment consisted of four F-15D from the 106 'The Second Baz squadron' also known as the 'Spearhaed' squadron and a single F-15C in the markings of 133 'The Knights of the Double Tail' squadron. Remarkable as the F-15Cs used to be with 106 squadron. The F-15C/D is named Akef(Buzzard) in the IASF, although in some publications the C/D is also referred to as Baz the name for the F-15A/B. The F-15s are in the IASF used as multirole aircraft. Present were:
F-15C 848 80-0130 Baz (Falcon or Eagle) in 133 sq. markings has two Syrian kills from the 1982 Lebanon war when on June 10, 1982 Capt. Ziv Aravidi shot down a Gazelle with a Python 3 AAM. And later that day Capt. Yuram Hofman shot down a MiG-21 with the 20 mm. cannon fire.
Note the smiling eagle motif on a dark blue band inspired by the markings of the USAF 33rd TFW later 33rd FW from Eglin AFB. The 106 sq markings include an inverted V on the inside of the fins.
F-15D 701 90-0277
F-15D 706 90-0276, Kochev Hazafon (Northern Star)
F-15D 733 90-0275, Ratz Hamelech (Kings Envoy),
F-15D 970 80-0135 Ayelet Ha'Shacher (Morning Star)
Following an idea from the 133 squadron commander from 1981 individual names were painted in blue on the Eegle radomes of both squadrons. Single words on the single seaters and on the twin seaters have two word names. With one exception F-15C 832 named 6th of June. Due to technical problems and the interchange ability of radomes between aircraft, it was decided in circa 1991 to apply the names on the fuselage aft of the radome. The F-15 fleet has gone trough a AUP (Avionics Upgrade Programme) upgrade by IASF engineers in co-operation with Elbit systems. Work begun in 1995 and the first upgraded aircraft was rolled out at Tel Nof in August 1998.
Five F-16D Block 40 were participating from 105 'Scorpion' squadron based at Hatzor. Is operating the F-16 since 1992 initially with a mix of 14 F-16Cs and 14 F-16Ds. Since December 2004 became an Homogenous F-16D Barak 2 (lightning 2, the Barak 1 is the F-16C/D Block 30) outfit when the single seaters were transferred to 101 'First Fighter' squadron in return receiving the duals of that squadron. On the right intake pylon the F-16s carry a Rafael Litening targeting pod. With this pod the crew is able to detect. recognize, identify, track and engage ground targets in day, night and under adverse weather conditions. The targets can be designated by laser for attack by precision guided munitions on board or by other aircraft.Notable is a trend that the Israelis apparently wish to have a second crew member. At AE-08/3 they used two-seaters the recently delivered F-16Is are all twin-seaters.
106sq 'The Point of the Spear Squadron' based at Tel Nov participated with F-15C/D. The photo shows F-15C 848 80-0130 Baz (Falcon or Eagle) in 133 sq. markings has two Syrian kills from the 1982 Lebanon war when on June 10, 1982 Capt. Ziv Aravidi shot down a Gazelle with a Python 3 AAM. And later that day Capt. Yuram Hofman shot down a MiG-21 with the 20 mm. cannon fire.
During 2004-2019 the Air Force of Jordan participated nine times with their F-16s. They came from 1, 2 and 6sq. All based at Al Azraq As Shaheed Muwaffaq at Salti AB. Photo left: F-16AM 141 from 1sq (ex Belgium Air Force FA-60); Photo middle: F-16BM 138 part of 1sq (ex Belgium Air Force FB-04); Photo right: F-16A ADF from 2sq.
NATO AWACS E-3A COMPONENT
A major asset in Anatolian Eagle training is the use of E-3A AWACS from Nato NAEW&CF, stationed at the Nato Air Base (NAB) Geilenkirchen in Germany. Each day, before the mass launch of around 50-60 fighters go's out, an E-3A is the first plane to take off from Konya AB. Nato has a permanent AWACS detachment at 3rd Main Jet Base Konya.
Highlight during AE-14/2 was the participation of Mirage 2000-5DDA/EDA from Qatar Emiri Air Force. They belong to the 7 Air Superiority Squadron/1st Fighter Wing based at Doha.
Quite a surprise to see two different transport types, C-130J-30 and C-17A, both on the taxiway ready for a new AE-2019 mission. They are part of the 12sq based at Al Udeid.
Based at Dhahran-King Ab dullah Aziz Air Base
Tornado IDS from 83q (AE-12/2);
F-15C/D from 13sq (AE-13/2).
Ala 12 is based at Torrejón near Madrid and joined AE-14/2. This unit consits of 121 and 122 Esc. flying with the EF-18BM (left photo) and EF-18M (right photo). 12-73 has '25 years F-18' in service with Ala 12 on the tail.
United Arab Emirates
During AE-12/2 the UAE sent six Mirage 2000-9EADs from 71sq based at Abu Dhabi/Al Dhafra.
A detachment of six F-16E Falcons from the 3rd Fighter Squadron, based at Abu Dahbi/Al Dhafra, was sent to AE-13/2. F-16E number 3075 (photo right) has a different color scheme if you compare it with the other five aircraft wich have the same scheme as number 3038.
The Royal Air Force was present (AE-09/2, AE-14/2 and AE-15/1) with Typhoon GR4s/T3 from 3sq and XI(F)sq both operated at RAF Coningsby in England.
During AE-08/2 the United States Air Force was present with F-16CJs from the 52nd Fighter Wing based at Spangdahlem AB in Germany. F-16s from both squadrons, the 22nd FS (blue fin-tip) and the 23rd FS (red fin-tip) participated. The 22nd FS has been disbanded on the 13th of August 2010.
The 493rd FS/48FW from RAF Lakenheath in England was present at AE-15/1 with eleven F-15Cs and one F-15D. Here in take-off is F-15C 86-0156/LN. It has two MiG-kills under the cockpit. (On 23 March 1999, during Operation Allied Force. Capt. Jeff Hwang shot down with this aircraft a pair of Serbian MiG-29s). The right photo shows F-15D 84-0044/LN.
Six F-15Es arrived from RAF Lakenheath (UK) for AE-2019. All had the red-white fintip and are part of the 494FS/48FW.