Rebirth of the Anatolian Eagle

2 Eylül 2019
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You can read the special coverage published in the July 2019 Issue of MSI Turkish Defence Review here:

 

Onur KURÇ / onur@removebeforephotos.com

Tayfun YAŞAR / tayfun@removebeforephotos.com

 

The international-level Anatolian Eagle Exercise, which had taken a break due to the re-organization of the Turkish Air Force following the July 15 coup attempt, was relaunched on June 17-28 after taking a two-year hiatus. Hosted by 3rd Main Jet Base Command in Konya, the International Anatolian Eagle-2019 Training Exercise, which ran from June 17–June 28, was joined this year by forces from the United States, Azerbaijan, Italy, Qatar, NATO, Pakistan and Jordan, as well as units from the Turkish Air and Naval Forces. In addition to the 600 Turkish participants, the training exercise was joined by over 450 foreign personnel.

On June 25, six NF-5A aircraft of the Turkish Stars Team and four F-4E 2020 aircraft from the 111th Panther Fleet stunned spotters with formation flights.

On June 25, six NF-5A aircraft of the Turkish Stars Team and four F-4E 2020 aircraft from the 111th Panther Fleet stunned spotters with formation flights.

 

Anatolian Eagle LogoThis year’s training scenario involved two neighbouring countries, designated as blue and red, with an oil pipeline located on the border of the blue country and the nearby port being considered strategic infrastructures. According to the scenario, the red country was providing support to a terrorist organization deployed in the vicinity of the pipeline, while the blue country exerted its right to self-defence. The blue country was represented by Turkish and foreign aircraft taking part in the training, while the red country was represented solely by Turkish aircraft. Acting on collected intelligence, the blue country attacked strategic and important targets found within the red country’s borders and destroyed them without losses before returning to their own bases.

As is the case every year, the Turkish Air Force once again gave spotters the opportunity to observe this year’s Anatolian Eagle Training Exercise. To this end, the 3rd Main Jet Base in Konya opened its doors to spotters on June 25 and 26. The International Anatolian Eagle-2019 Exercise was followed by a total of 316 spotters, including 187 Turkish spotters and 129 foreign spotters from 20 different countries.

F-15E Strike Eagle

F-15E Strike Eagle

 

Special Demonstrations by F-4E 2020 Jets

The F-4E 2020 aircraft of the Turkish Air Force were given pride of place at this year’s exercise, with six F-4E 2020 Phantoms belonging to the 111th Panther Fleet of 1st Main Jet Command in Eskişehir taking part.  The aircraft provided a special demonstration, which was a first in the history of the Turkish Air Force and the Anatolian Eagle Exercise, offering a visual feast to both local and foreign aerial photographers on the day of the exercise.

F-4E 2020

F-4E 2020

In the afternoon of June 25, F-4E 2020 aircraft flew over the spotters in a two wing formation, passing above the 01L runway of the 3rd Main Jet Base in Konya. After taking-off, aircraft from other countries that joined the exercise also made a pass over the Main Jet Base in Konya in separate formations, making manoeuvres for the benefit of the gathered spotters. While the aircraft reassembled for the next phase of the exercise, an AS-532 Cougar helicopter from the 135th Personnel Rescue Squadron that operates out of the 3rd Main Jet Base provided a special demonstration for the photographers. The Turkish Stars aerobatic squadron, operating out of 134th Aerobatic Team Fleet Command, then provided a special performance for the spotters.

The C-160 Transall that the Turkish Air Force uses as an electronic jamming aircraft

The C-160 Transall that the Turkish Air Force uses as an electronic jamming aircraft

 

29 Onur Kurc Tayfun Yasar Anatolian Eagle 2019 - c - MSI Dergisi - Onur Kurc - Tayfun Yasar Resim1

After the demonstration, an unforgettable flight demonstration was conducted for the first time in the history of the Turkish Air Force involving six NF-5A aircraft of the Turkish Stars and four F-4E 2020 aircraft of the 111th Panther Fleet, flying together in tight formation. Following this pass, the F-4E 2020 Phantoms raised the level of excitement even further among the crowd of observers by making several low passes over the 01L runway. Following the completion of the flying display, the Turkish Air Force organized a special activity for the F-4E 2020 Phantom aircraft, which is of particular interest to spotters. The Turkish and foreign spotters who had arrived to watch the exercise were taken to the apron where the six aircraft were parked, and given the opportunity to take photographs together with the pilots, the maintenance team and the aircraft. A group photo was taken together with the assembled spotters to commemorate the event.

JF-17 Thunder

JF-17 Thunder

International Anatolian Eagle Exercises

The Turkish Air Force has attached great importance to infrastructure, weapon modernization and training since the early 1980s. Since this time, the Turkish Air Force has sought to maximize on the success and experience gained during internal security operations, its operations in Bosnia-Herzegovina and Kosovo, and the training and exercise activities conducted involving the air force pilots of friendly and allied nations. To this end, it launched the International Anatolian Eagle Exercise, the first of which was held in June 2001, and which continues to be conducted to this day. These training activities are similar in scope to the Red Flag Exercise conducted at the United States Nellis Air Base.

AMX (A-11B)

AMX (A-11B)

 

The Anadolu Eagle Exercise Centre is one of only three tactical training exercise areas in the world, and is located within the 3rd Main Jet Base in Konya. The Anatolian Eagle Exercise is conducted in a realistic war environment, with scenarios that vary from simple to challenging, in a generic environment that benefits from the advantages offered by advanced technologies, and in a way that allows training quality to be assessed in a digital environment. The Airspace of the Anatolian Eagle Exercise has been expanded with additional fields to the south, attaining 200 nm on the east-west axis and 150 nm on the north-to-south axis. This allows more than 60 aircraft to train at the same time, without being affected by each other’s movements.

The basis, or premise, of the executed scenarios are Composite Air Operations (COMAO) carried out by the blue team against tactical and strategic targets found in the red team’s territory that are protected by fighter aircraft and surface-to-air missiles.

F-16 Fighting Falcon

F-16 Fighting Falcon

The Command and Control Centre serves as a centre from where images of the airplanes while in flight can be transmitted and viewed in real-time using Air Combat Maneuvering Instrument pods. The centre also receives images from cameras mounted at the Konya firing rage, as well as data in the form or the traces and signatures detected by AWACS and ground radars. The centre can also follow, in real-time, the scanning, locking and strike images of surface-to-air missiles and anti-aircraft systems. The briefing hall, located in the same building as the Command and Control Centre, has a 450 personnel capacity, and is where briefings and debriefings are made before and after each flight.

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The Red Forces are stationed in the Red Building, where they plan their missions and carry out their own briefings. Only Red Force personnel can access this building.

The Mavi1, Mavi2 and Mavi3 buildings are where pilots from the domestic and foreign fleets who have arrived for training duty are accommodated, containing rooms and halls equipped for planning and brainstorming.

They also serve as a forum where the participants can exchange their views on the implemented trainings.

A total of 41 Anatolian Eagle Exercises have been conducted since 2001, with the participation of 15 countries, more than 33,000 personnel and approximately 2,000 aircraft, with approximately 24,000 sortie flights having been made.

A film entitled Anadolu Kartalları (Anatolian Eagles) was shot in 2011 on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the Turkish Air Force, with many scenes in the film showing images from the exercise.

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