493rd FS trains during Tactical Leadership Programme 18-4

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Malcolm Mayfield
  • 48th Fighter Wing Public Affairs
F-15C Eagles and an F-15D assigned to the 493rd Fighter Squadron and support personnel from the 48th Fighter Wing, RAF Lakenheath, U.K., are participating in the NATO Tactical Leadership Programme 18-4 at Amendola Air Base, Italy.

The multilateral training course focuses on developing tactical air expertise and leadership skills. This event marks the first time the course has been held in Italy, from its normal host location at Albacete AB, Spain.

Another welcome first for the course is the participation of Italian F-35s, which will allow for the expansion of fourth and fifth-generation aircraft interoperability.

“We are here to train side-by-side with our NATO allies to meet future security challenges as a unified force,” said a 493rd FS flight commander. “We’ll fly about 15 missions that will get tougher and more complex as the course goes on. They are challenging us to create good tactical plans within a short amount of time and execute them.”

With over four decades of history, TLP has become the focal point for NATO’s Allied Air Forces tactical training, developing knowledge and leadership skills, necessary to face today's air tactical challenges.

Along with the U.S. Air Force, air forces from Italy, Germany, Spain, the Netherlands and Belgium are participating in the training. Training courses like TLP help to enable the NATO alliance by providing an opportunity for NATO partners and allies to work alongside each other in the classroom and in European airspace.

“TLP is a tremendous opportunity to strengthen our interoperability as NATO allies,” said Lt. Col. Cody Blake, 493rd FS commander. “The training strengthens our partnerships across the board, and we get the opportunity to train with different platforms and countries to enhance our readiness.”

TLP has prepared hundreds of NATO and allied forces’ flight leaders to be mission commanders. Where they learn to lead coalition force air strike packages, instruct allied flying and non-flying personnel in matters related to tactical composite air operations, and provide tactical air expertise to NATO agencies.