Anatolian Eagle is expected to become an annual event, open to NATO air forces. The first Anatolian Eagle joint military exercise by the US, Turkey, and Israel took place over southern Turkey for 13 days ending 29 June 2001. The air forces of Israel and Turkey have flown together over each other's territory since a bilateral defense alliance between Jerusalem and Ankara was formed in 1996. Likewise, American and Turkish forces regularly practice as NATO allies. The U.S. Air Force contributed F-16s, normally deployed on patrol over northern Iraq, from Turkey's Incerlik air base. Israel reportedly arrived with a team of 10 F-16 fighters, helicopters and refueling tanker aircraft. The Turkish Air Force participated with 46 aircraft.
All aircraft were deployed at the Konya air base 250km south of Ankara. The aircraft trained over the plains of Anatolia, near the borders with Syria, Iran, and Iraq. The war games included combat maneuvers and ground-attack sorties with live ammunition. The participating aircraft staged attacks on ground-based air-defense missile sites and conducted mid-air refueling in an area covering some 7,600 square miles near the Turkish city of Konya.
More than 120 52nd Fighter Wing members returned home 01 July 2001 after a two-week deployment to Konya, Turkey, for Anatolian Eagle. The multinational weapons training exercise was the first of its kind involving the US Air Force, primarily 22nd Fighter Squadron F-16CJs. Members of the 37th Airlift Squadron and Polygon Electronic Warfare Range, Ramstein Air Base, and the 4th Air Support Operations Group, Heidelburg, Germany, also participated.
In February 2002 it was announced that Turkey, Israel, and the United States had decided to hold three comprehensive air maneuvers during the year. The Anatolian Eagle maneuvers will be held in April, June, and September, and will include at least 30 warplanes each from the three countries.
Anatolian Eagle - April 2002
The 23rd EFS "Fighting Hawks" are participating in Anatolian Eagle, a two-week long, large-force employment exercise carried out near the central Anatolian city of Konya, Turkey.
The exercise, which is scheduled to end May 3, includes combat maneuvers over the plains of Anatolia and ground-attack sorties with live ammunition on the Konya range. It is based on the principles of U.S. Red Flag exercises.
Participating in the exercise are Air Force F-16CJs, a NATO E-3 Sentry and Turkish air force F-16s, F-4s and F-5s.
The training the pilots receive during Anatolian Eagle is even more critical because increased operations tempo and geographic locations prevent some units from participating in similar exercises throughout the year.
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