English translation by Giuliano Provera
Anatolian Eagle is a yearly multinational drill that takes place at Konya airbase.
Konya is an important military facility, belonging to the Turkish Air Force (Turk Hava Kuvvetleri), located on the Anatolian central plateau.
The airport is the “homebase” of the 3ncu with his five flight Squadrons, 131 Filo (Dragon) with B.737AEW&C o/o, 132 Filo (Dagger) with F-4E-2020 and F-16C/D block 40, 133 Filo (Claw) with NF-5A/B-2000, 3AJAce A&KK with AS532AL Cougar. Konya is also “homebase” for the aerobatic team Turkish Star with NF-5/B-2000.
The event is divided into three well separated parts:
AE-12/1 that takes place from april 2nd to 13th. Activities are of national nature only and sorties are sallied out during daylight only.
AE-12/2 that takes place from june 11th to june 22nd. The main event is of multinational nature. In 2012 the participants were: Italy, Pakistan, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, the NATO AWACS component and obviously Turkey as master of the house. During the eleven days of operations, 78 aircrafts and 1231 military personnel were involved.
AE-12/3 is the conclusive part and takes place from september 24th to october 5th. This is a variation of the first part with night missions flown in addition.
In ten years of history (2001-2011), 31 training sessions were performed during Anatolian Eagle, with the attendance of 25.711 military personnel and 2.178 different aircrafts, with 18.697 sorties flown. Thirteen nations attended this event up to now: Belgium, Germany, Italy, The Netherlands, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, United States, France, Israel, Jordan, Pakistan, Spain and United Kingdom.
The main purpose of the drill is to enhance the attending air forces pilots training level as well as the one of the air defense center crews that manage flight operations. This goal is attained recreating scenarios increasingly complex and especially using assets deeply different from each other. In this way the ultimate task of true integration of flight and fighting procedures between the different deployed assets is fully attained. If within NATO the procedures are already widely standardized, thanks to the continuous work done during various drills such as the sessions of the TLP (Tactical Leadership Program), performing training activities with Air Forces not members of the Atlantic Alliance is far more complex. Full integration with them is extremely necessary, since some non western air forces actively take part to international operations. One example for all has been seen during the libyan crisis ended with the military operation Unified Protector (Odissey Dawn). Said so, these crises are unfortunately not isolated cases and therefore may happen again in a near future. The international community’s reaction capability, and not the one of NATO’s countries only, becomes mandatory. In any case, this situation will also benefit western air forces, who have the chance to deal with unusual operational assets. Surely our Air Force attendance to Anatolian Eagle with the Typhoons of 4th and 36th Stormo and their crews has enhanced this view increasing the tactical and operational experiences of each attendant.
The Italian Air Force, at her fourth attendance, has deployed six F-2000A Typhoon coming from Gioia del Colle and from Grosseto. Italian presence in Turkey has been planned in 2011 and falls within the most important training meetings scheduled by the Air Force.
Images and text by Alberto Mocchetti
Produced by Giorgio Ciarini