Anatolian Eagle Training Aera
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.
Founded at the 3rd Main Jet Base, Konya in 2001, the Anatolian Eagle Training Center (AKEM/AETC) is one of three tactical training centers in the world with comparable capabilities and is the only tactical training center in Europe. Located in central Anatolia, the exercise was called Andolu Kartarli (Anatolian Eagle). The choice for Konya was clear; a large air force base with good infrastructure and plenty of space to practice in the immediate vicinity. North of the base are salt lakes that allow optimal use of the airspace up to an altitude of 50,000 feet. In this training area with an airspace of 300 by 400 km. can be practiced without restrictions and unimpeded by civil air traffic. There are several counterfeit Surface-to-air missile (SAM) sites.
Since the establishment of the center, a total of 43 training courses (24 international and 19 national) and approximately 24,000 missions have been flown with participants from 15 countries.
In June 2001, Anatolian Eagle 01 (AE 2001) was held with Turkish, American and Israeli attendees. From AE 2004-3, Pakistan first participated in the exercise Azerbaijan participated in 2019 with observers. Qatar participated in 2014 (AE 2014-2) and 2019.
Other exotic participants were, with first participation:
Jordan (AE2007/2). Saudi Arabia (AE2011/2) and United Arab Emirates (AE-2008/2)
Which countries are invited is also politically motivated. Countries with which Turkey has good relations are invited. For example, when Israel intercepted six ships en route to Gaza in 2010, Turkey's relationship with Israel cooled, and Israel's participation in AE was over.
During our visits in 2008 it was told that participation in AE requires a good command of the English language and of NATO procedures. In preparation for participation, potential participants are invited and tested on their knowledge and skills.
The Turks operate according to NATO procedures. Foreign units unfamiliar with NATO procedures come to Konya a few weeks before the start of the exercise to familiarize themselves with NATO and local procedures.
Anatolian Eagle Trainings
(click on photo below to view full gallery)
Participating Air Forces
For the fist time, during AE2021/2, the Air Force of Azerbaijan participated with two MiG-29s and two Su-25s.
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.
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.
AE2021/2, the 132 Filo Hançer (Dagger) from Konya AB took part with eight F-16s. The Aggressors were the last to leave and the first to return. For the aggressor task a number of the 132 Filo aircraft were temporarily painted red on the leading edge of the tail and on part of the vertical tail surfaces.
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.