AALBORG AIR BASE, Denmark — The U.S. Air Force continues to assess its ability to meet new challenges and deter enemies. In line with this, United States Air Forces in Europe and Air Forces Africa continuously develops, tests, and evaluates new warfighting concepts to meet and overcome these challenges.
USAFE-AFAFRICA’s Agile Combat Employment concept enables forces to operate from locations of varying levels of capacity and support, ensuring Airmen and aircrews are postured to deliver lethal combat air power.
The 48th Fighter Wing, 352d Special Operations Wing and partner nations to include Netherlands, Denmark, and Belgium are supporting a combined readiness exercise in the Baltic region to strengthen interoperability and enhance ACE capabilities.
“The overall goal of the exercise is proving the concept of agile combat employment and enhancing the U.S. commitment to NATO and our allies in the Baltic region,” said Capt. Woodruff Johnson, 494th Fighter Squadron operations project officer. Throughout the exercise, the 48FW will sharpen ACE capabilities by participating in various training missions with allies and partner nations, to include combat air support and reconnaissance training with the 352 SOW.
“We’re working with NATO Allies on the ground to practice close air support,” Johnson said. “We’re also working with Danish F-16s to conduct air-to-air and air-to-ground mission training.”
Training with joint and combined allies and partners during ACE events increases the 48FW’s lethality and enhances interoperability, allowing our forces to counter military aggression and coercion by sharing responsibilities for common defense.
“The benefit of this exercise for the aircrew is that we are learning to work and mission-plan away from home,” Johnson said. “We’re also learning how to refuel our aircraft at air bases without F-15 maintenance support, and learning to work with our NATO partners on the ground and in the air.”
By using ACE concepts and conducting various training missions, the 48FW demonstrates the ability to operate in an austere location with a minimal maintenance and operational footprint.
“In the Panthers, we keep our claws sharp to win in combat, but we don’t do it alone,” said Lt. Col. Jaina Donberg, 494th Fighter Squadron commander. “By sharpening our claws with our partners, we’ll be a more lethal team ready for any fight.”