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TLP brings it all together

A pilot assigned to the 493rd Fighter Squadron, and a Belgian pilot shake hands while at media event during the NATO Tactical Leadership Programme 18-4 at Amendola Air Base, Italy, Nov. 30, 2018. This event marks the first time the course has been held in Italy, from its normal host location at Albacete Air Base, Spain. (U.S. Air Force photo/ Senior Airman Malcolm Mayfield)

A pilot assign 493rd Fighter Squadron pilot and a Belgian pilot shake hands at a media event during the NATO Tactical Leadership Programme 18-4 at Amendola Air Base, Italy, Nov. 30, 2018. This event marks the first time the course has been held in Italy, from its normal host location at Albacete Air Base, Spain. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Malcolm Mayfield)

An F-15C Eagle assigned to the 493rd Fighter Squadron takes off for a sortie during the NATO Tactical Leadership Programme 18-4 at Amendola Air Base, Italy, Nov. 29, 2018. 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. (U.S. Air Force photo/ Senior Airman Malcolm Mayfield)

An F-15C Eagle assigned to the 493rd Fighter Squadron takes off for a sortie during the NATO Tactical Leadership Programme 18-4 at Amendola Air Base, Italy, Nov. 29, 2018. With more than 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. (U.S. Air Force photo/ Senior Airman Malcolm Mayfield)

AMENDOLA AIR BASE, Italy (AFNS) -- Above the mountainous landscape of Amendola Air Base, Italy, F-15C Eagle pilots assigned to the 493rd Fighter Squadron are training side-by-side with NATO allies from Germany, Spain, Italy, the Netherlands and Belgium in support of Tactical Leadership Programme 18-4.

The month-long program gives participants a chance to see how others get the job done. TLP builds familiarization and strengthens interoperability within NATO through combined training in the classroom and in European airspace.

“Our methods may be different, but the end goal is all the same,” said an Italian Air Force F-35 pilot assigned to the 32nd Stormo. “We share a commitment to maintaining security and enhancing our air readiness within NATO. Training opportunities like TLP allow us to come together and learn from one another, giving us an edge in the future with a deep partnership to lean on.”

During the course, some pilots noticed more similarities than differences in how each country got things done. TLP is designed to bridge the gaps and help form cohesiveness between allies.

“Building partnerships here will make us more effective in the future,” said a 493rd FS flight commander. “There are a lot of similarities to the way we all operate, and exercises like this help us find those similarities and break down any language or cultural barriers that appear.”

The effectiveness cultivated by the training has molded NATO and allied forces’ flight leaders into the mission commanders of today, creating skilled and competent leaders able to tactically and operationally work within the NATO alliance.

“The program condenses the mission planning process and then adds everything that comes with working with our international partners,” said a 493rd FS flight commander. “We are constantly pulled in different directions and you have to learn how to prioritize and work effectively with the whole team.”

TLP is the focal point for NATO’s Allied Air Forces tactical training. The hundreds of NATO mission commanders developed by the program are able 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.

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