552nd ACW participates in inaugural Trilateral Exercise
By Darren D. Heusel, Tinker Public Affairs
/ Published January 21, 2016
TINKER AIR FORCE BASE, Okla. -- Several members of the 552nd Air Control Wing recently made history by participating in the inaugural Trilateral Exercise at Langley Air Force Base, Va., that included service members from the United Kingdom's Royal Air Force and the French Air Force.
The exercise, held Dec. 2-18, was hosted by the 1st Fighter Wing and focused on multi-national Air Dominance operations by executing a variety of simulated adversary scenarios.
The 552nd ACW sent crews from the 963rd and 965th Airborne Air Control Squadrons and two E-3 "Sentry" Airborne Warning and Control System aircraft, including one Block 40/45 upgraded aircraft.
"The 552nd Air Control Wing is thrilled to have been a part of this inaugural exercise," said Col. David Gaedecke, 552nd ACW commander, who was on hand to witness parts of the exercise.
"Training with the RAF and FrAF using their most advanced aircraft, coupled with our block upgrade, afforded us the opportunity to practice against a robust threat using the E-3's newest technology," Colonel Gaedecke added.
The intent of the exercise was to gain an understanding of the logistics, support requirements, capabilities, tactics, techniques and procedures associated with the integrated operation of the multinational front-line fighters.
More than 500 service members, including approximately 225 personnel from the USAF, 175 from the RAF and 150 from the FrAF, participated in the exercise.
The Trilateral Exercise featured the U.S.'s F-22 Raptor and E-3 Sentry, the RAF's Typhoon and the FrAF's Rafale as the primary aircraft, and adversary aircraft were replicated by the U.S.'s F-15E Strike Eagle and T-38 Talon.
"The command and control provided by our Airmen is a key component of operations in any highly contested operational environment and partnering with the RAF and FrAF is vital in maintaining our collaborative strategic edge," Colonel Gaedecke said.
While the 552nd ACW was busy participating in the Trilateral Exercise, they were simultaneously taking part in the Checkered Flag 16-1 exercise held Dec. 10-18 at Tyndall AFB, Fla.
Checkered Flag is a large-force exercise that affords legacy and fifth-generation aircraft the opportunity to practice combat training together in a simulated deployed environment.
Aircraft participating in the Checkered Flag exercise included Tinker's own E-3 Sentry as well as the F-22 Raptor, F-35 Lightning II, F-15E Strike Eagle, F-15C Eagle, F-16 Fighting Falcon, T-38 Talon, and the B-52 Stratofortress.