KONYA, Turkey -- An international weapons-training deployment involving Turkish and U.S. air forces began here March 5 and lasts until March 15.
The 480th Fighter Squadron from Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany, and the Turkish air force's 3rd Main Jet Base combined their efforts during Anatolian Falcon 2012, an exercise designed to strengthen joint operations between the two allied countries.
Turkish air force Col. Ercan Dursun, 3rd Main Jet Base Operations Group commander, expressed his appreciation for the U.S. Air Force's commitment to building relations and military interoperability.
"It's good to see you here," Dursun said during opening remarks at an initial mass briefing March 4. "I hope we will have a fruitful exercise."
He went on to say that one of the main goals of the training is to share lessons learned. By working together, the two air forces can individually evolve into a more flexible force.
"Training with the Turkish air force now ensures smooth communication and tactical effectiveness if we should ever have to go to war together," said U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Paul Murray, 480th Fighter Squadron commander. "Our air forces pride themselves on adaptability and flexibility, and this exercise showcases those capabilities by allowing us to work with our international partner in fast-paced training scenarios."
Some of the scenarios are set up to have specific targets plotted on a map inside of a mock high-threat zone. The Turkish and U.S. air forces must integrate their aircraft fleet to assess any threats in the area and neutralize the plotted targets. Additional "popup" threats may appear at random times and positions throughout the training. The "popup" threats could be something as small as an enemy ground-forces member aiming a surface-to-air missile launcher at an aircraft.
Other scenarios are air-to-air, meaning two teams of aircraft mock battle in the skies over Turkish air force's Konya Air Base.
"The 480th is excited to get on the road to fly with our NATO ally and strengthen the bonds that have been built during the last 60 years," Murray said of both nations' dedication to ensuring regional peace and stability.