Point Blank exercise adapts to pandemic restrictions

More than 45 aircraft from the Royal Air Force and U.S. Air Force participated in exercise Point Blank 20-02 over the North Sea

By Master Sgt. Matthew Plew 48th Fighter Wing Public Affairs Brandon, Suffolk, United Kingdom May 14, 2020
15 photos: Point Blank adapts to pandemic restrictions
Photo 1 of 15: An F-15C Eagle assigned to the 493rd Fighter Squadron conducts aerial operations in support of exercise Point Blank 20-02 over the North Sea, May 12, 2020. The joint event, held quarterly between the Royal Air Force and U.S. Air Forces stationed in the United Kingdom was the first to be conducted amid the COVID-19 pandemic. (U.S. Air Force photo/ Master Sgt. Matthew Plew)
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15 photos: Point Blank adapts to pandemic restrictions
Photo 2 of 15: A KC-135 Stratotanker assigned to the 100th Air Refueling Wing conducts aerial operations with F-15 aircraft assigned to the 48th Fighter Wing in support of exercise Point Blank 20-02 over the North Sea, May 12, 2020. The joint event, held quarterly between the Royal Air Force and U.S. Air Forces stationed in the United Kingdom was the first to be conducted amid the COVID-19 pandemic. (U.S. Air Force photo/ Master Sgt. Matthew Plew)
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15 photos: Point Blank adapts to pandemic restrictions
Photo 3 of 15: An F-15C Eagle assigned to the 493rd Fighter Squadron conducts aerial operations in support of exercise Point Blank 20-02 over the North Sea, May 12, 2020. The joint event, held quarterly between the Royal Air Force and U.S. Air Forces stationed in the United Kingdom was the first to be conducted amid the COVID-19 pandemic. (U.S. Air Force photo/ Master Sgt. Matthew Plew)
 Download full-resolution image
15 photos: Point Blank adapts to pandemic restrictions
Photo 4 of 15: A KC-135 Stratotanker assigned to the 100th Air Refueling Wing conducts aerial operations with F-15 aircraft assigned to the 48th Fighter Wing in support of exercise Point Blank 20-02 over the North Sea, May 12, 2020. The joint event, held quarterly between the Royal Air Force and U.S. Air Forces stationed in the United Kingdom was the first to be conducted amid the COVID-19 pandemic. (U.S. Air Force photo/ Master Sgt. Matthew Plew)
 Download full-resolution image
15 photos: Point Blank adapts to pandemic restrictions
Photo 5 of 15: An F-15C Eagle assigned to the 493rd Fighter Squadron conducts aerial operations in support of exercise Point Blank 20-02 over East Anglia, May 12, 2020. The joint event, held quarterly between the Royal Air Force and U.S. Air Forces stationed in the United Kingdom was the first to be conducted amid the COVID-19 pandemic. (U.S. Air Force photo/ Master Sgt. Matthew Plew)
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15 photos: Point Blank adapts to pandemic restrictions
Photo 6 of 15: An F-15C Eagle assigned to the 493rd Fighter Squadron launches from Royal Air Force Lakenheath, England in support of exercise Point Blank 20-02 May 12, 2020. The joint event, held quarterly between the Royal Air Force and U.S. Air Forces stationed in the United Kingdom was the first to be conducted amid the COVID-19 pandemic. (U.S. Air Force photo/ Airman 1st Class Jessi Monte)
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15 photos: Point Blank adapts to pandemic restrictions
Photo 7 of 15: An F-15C Eagle assigned to the 493rd Fighter Squadron launches from Royal Air Force Lakenheath, England in support of exercise Point Blank 20-02 May 12, 2020. The joint event, held quarterly between the Royal Air Force and U.S. Air Forces stationed in the United Kingdom was the first to be conducted amid the COVID-19 pandemic. (U.S. Air Force photo/ Airman 1st Class Jessi Monte)
 Download full-resolution image
15 photos: Point Blank adapts to pandemic restrictions
Photo 8 of 15: An F-15C Eagle assigned to the 493rd Fighter Squadron taxis to support exercise Point Blank 20-02 at Royal Air Force Lakenheath, England May 12, 2020. The joint event, held quarterly between the Royal Air Force and U.S. Air Forces stationed in the United Kingdom was the first to be conducted amid the COVID-19 pandemic. (U.S. Air Force photo/ Airman 1st Class Jessi Monte)
 Download full-resolution image
15 photos: Point Blank adapts to pandemic restrictions
Photo 9 of 15: An F-15D Eagle assigned to the 493rd Fighter Squadron launches from Royal Air Force Lakenheath, England in support of exercise Point Blank 20-02 May 12, 2020. The joint event, held quarterly between the Royal Air Force and U.S. Air Forces stationed in the United Kingdom was the first to be conducted amid the COVID-19 pandemic. (U.S. Air Force photo/ Airman 1st Class Jessi Monte)
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15 photos: Point Blank adapts to pandemic restrictions
Photo 10 of 15: Airmen assigned to the 748th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron complete pre-flight checks on an F-15C Eagle assigned to the 493rd Fighter Squadron in support of exercise Point Blank 20-02 at Royal Air Force Lakenheath, England, May 12, 2020. The joint event, held quarterly between the Royal Air Force and U.S. Air Forces stationed in the United Kingdom was the first to be conducted amid the COVID-19 pandemic. (U.S. Air Force photo/ Airman 1st Class Jessi Monte)
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15 photos: Point Blank adapts to pandemic restrictions
Photo 11 of 15: An F-15C Eagle assigned to the 493rd Fighter Squadron conducts pre-flight checks in support of exercise Point Blank 20-02 at Royal Air Force Lakenheath, England, May 12, 2020. The joint event, held quarterly between the Royal Air Force and U.S. Air Forces stationed in the United Kingdom was the first to be conducted amid the COVID-19 pandemic. (U.S. Air Force photo/ Airman 1st Class Jessi Monte)
 Download full-resolution image
15 photos: RAF Typhoon's participate in Point Blank 20-02
Photo 12 of 15: Royal Air Force Typhoon aircraft participated in exercise Point Blank 20-02 over the North Sea May 12, 2020. The joint event, held quarterly in the United Kingdom was the first to be conducted amid the COVID-19 pandemic. (RAF Courtesy Stock Photo)
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15 photos: RAF Typhoon's participate in Point Blank 20-02
Photo 13 of 15: A Royal Air Force Typhoon conducts air-to-air refueling North of Scotland Oct. 16, 2018. Recently, Royal Air Force Typhoon aircraft participated in exercise Point Blank 20-02 over the North Sea May 12, 2020. The joint event, held quarterly in the United Kingdom was the first to be conducted amid the COVID-19 pandemic. (RAF Courtesy Stock Photo)
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15 photos: RAF Typhoon's participate in Point Blank 20-02
Photo 14 of 15: A Royal Air Force Typhoon conducts air-to-air refueling North of Scotland Oct. 16, 2018. Recently, Royal Air Force Typhoon aircraft participated in exercise Point Blank 20-02 over the North Sea May 12, 2020. The joint event, held quarterly in the United Kingdom was the first to be conducted amid the COVID-19 pandemic. (RAF Courtesy Stock Photo)
 Download full-resolution image
15 photos: RAF Typhoon's participate in Point Blank 20-02
Photo 15 of 15: Royal Air Force Typhoons conduct air-to-air refueling operations over North Scotland Oct. 16, 2018. Recently, Royal Air Force Typhoon aircraft participated in exercise Point Blank 20-02 over the North Sea May 12, 2020. The joint event, held quarterly in the United Kingdom was the first to be conducted amid the COVID-19 pandemic. (RAF Courtesy Stock Photo)
 Download full-resolution image

ROYAL AIR FORCE LAKENHEATH, England – More than 45 aircraft from the Royal Air Force and U.S. Air Force participated in exercise Point Blank 20-02 over the North Sea May 12, 2020. The joint event, held quarterly in the United Kingdom was the first to be conducted amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Displaced mission planning between ten U.K. installations was conducted via secured video teleconference to comply with current pandemic restrictions, and to ensure interoperability success.

“Point Blank 20-02 is instrumental in showing our bilateral resolve to continued operations during these restrictive times,” said Capt. Nathan Hartoin, a pilot for the 493rd Fighter Squadron and chief of wing weapons. “The Wing was able to prove that displaced Mission Planning can be executed safely and swiftly across multiple bases with minimal coordination.”

Point Blank provides a unit driven, custom-made, cost-effective environment to maintain warfighter readiness using realistic training against near-peer adversaries.

This iteration provided multiple opportunities for each participating unit to “upgrade,” varying personnel into a Mission Commander role or Command and Control Team Lead.

“Large exercises alongside our NATO allies enable us to share tactics, training, and procedures,” said a pilot from Number IX (Bomber) Squadron at RAF Lossiemouth. “Coordinating this number of aircraft involves a lot of support staff on the ground, who maintain the aircraft, provide air traffic control, and manage the battlespace we are training within. Ultimately their hard work on the ground makes us more effective in a range of disciplines in the air.”

The scenario for this specific Point Blank included deliberate Combat Search and Rescue (CSAR), Destructive Suppression of Enemy Air Defenses, Defensive Counter Air and Reactive CSAR.

“The Exercise was a resounding success in providing key data points moving forward in being a more agile and lethal combat force,” said Hartoin.