Commando Sling wraps up
by Tech. Sgt. Bryan Gatewood
36th Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs
11/18/2005 - PAYA LEBAR AIR BASE, Singapore (AFPN) -- The first Commando Sling exercise of the fiscal year ended here today, wrapping up a month of air-to-air combat training.
Nearly 80 members and their F-16 Fighting Falcons from the 14th Fighter Squadron at Misawa Air Base, Japan, deployed to this island city state to square off against Singapore air force fighters.
The 497th Combat Training Squadron, a geographically separated unit attached to Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, hosts the exercise.
“This is very good training since they (Singapore’s pilots) train in the States. They think like we do,” the F-16 squadron commander Lt. Col. John Pearse said.
The colonel called the exercise a “very good threat replication” because it allowed his pilots to train against a smaller aircraft, which doesn’t normally happen.
The fighters went up in different formations and flew with the Singaporeans — and also in mock combat against them — in the same flight.
Pilot 1st Lt. Patrick Pearson hoped to learn something from the allied flyers “and hopefully they can learn something from us.”
No matter who learned from whom, both sides had the same goal.
“To get as much practice [flying] with dissimilar aircraft, because the visual picture is a good,” pilot Capt. Justin Dupuis said.
Commando Sling is a result of an agreement signed in November 1990 between the two nations. The pact allows for an almost continuous deployment of U.S. fighter aircraft and the permanent presence of U.S. forces at this base.
There have been 65 Commando Sling exercises from 1991 to 2004. Active and Guard units flying F-16s, F-15 Eagles and Navy F-18 Hornets have flown against Singaporean F-5s over a huge range over the South China Sea. Australian air force jets also participate.
The next Commando Sling, March 1 to 22, will involve the 80th Fighter Squadron out of Kunsan AB, South Korea.
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