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Air Force Brings E-3 Sentry to NATO Exercise for First Time in 20 Years

06/02/2017

GEILENKIRCHEN, Germany --- This year's Baltic Operations exercise will mark the first time in two decades that a U.S. E-3 Sentry Airborne Warning and Control System aircraft will participate in a NATO exercise. 

Air Force Lt. Col. Jim Mattey, the detachment commander for the Air Force Reserve's 513th Air Control Group, said that flying in the European theater provides some new and different challenges. 

Training Opportunity 

"As reservists, most of our training is stateside, so it is vital we seek opportunities to integrate and exercise various operation plans," he said. "The 513th has participated in three Pacific-area exercises over the last two years, so this time we linked up with U.S. Air Forces in Europe and selected BALTOPS 2017 as our exercise to learn and integrate with our European friends." 

The AWACS reservists are joining about 900 airmen who are slated to support the exercise from NATO nations such as Norway, Poland and Germany. 

"This exercise provides U.S. Air Force Reserve AWACS operations and maintenance airmen the opportunity to integrate with 13 NATO nations," Mattey said. "This is quite an endeavor, considering we all fly and fight with very different equipment like data links, which provide life and death information across the battle space." 

BALTOPS, which began in 1972, is an annual multinational, maritime-focused exercise designed to provide high-end training for the participants. This year participating nations include Belgium, Denmark, Estonia, France, Germany, Latvia, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, the United Kingdom, and the United States, and NATO Enhanced Opportunities Partners Finland and Sweden. 

The exercise is designed to enhance flexibility, strengthen combined response capabilities and demonstrate resolve among allied and partner nations' forces to ensure stability in, and if necessary defend, the Baltic Sea region.

Date: 
06/02/2017
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Sources of Information: 

US Department of Defense

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