Ample Strike: F-16s support aviation detachment rotation

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Eric Donner
  • 31st Fighter Wing Public Affairs
F-16 Fighting Falcons from the 510th Fighter Squadron and approximately 150 support personnel from the 31st Fighter Wing at Aviano Air Base, Italy, arrived at the U.S. Air Force Aviation Detachment here, Sept. 4-5.

Service members from U.S. Air Forces in Europe and the Polish air force will conduct joint training during the next several weeks, upholding long-standing commitments to allies and ongoing efforts to increase interoperability of NATO forces.

"Our main goal here is to increase our partnership with our Polish allies," said Maj. Freddie Helton, a 510th FS detachment commander. "Our continued training with the Polish air force allows us to enhance our tactics and increases interoperability if needed for a real-world event."

The opportunity to train with NATO allies not only gives units the ability to employ fighter aircraft and pilots, but also provides training for aircrews and support personnel in a forward location.

The aviation detachment in Poland, activated November 2012, makes it possible for U.S. Air Force aircraft and service members to participate in joint training exercises and host a regular rotation of aircraft.

"The continued training here helps the Airmen of the 510th Fighter Squadron stay forward, ready, now and strengthen our relationship with the men and women of the Polish air force," Helton said.

As part of the rotation at the detachement, the 31st FW will support the NATO close air support exercise Ample Strike. The exercise, hosted by the Czech Republic, will allow the 510th FS and USAFE to work with, a planned, 11 nations. The purpose of the exercise is to test the ability for close air support and evaluate aircraft and personnel capabilities and increase military relationships and NATO interoperability.

"Poland is a key ally in Central Europe, and has been one of the United States' strongest supporters," Helton said. "Exercises like Ample Strike and the continued rotations here, allow us and our NATO allies to develop the tactics and relationships needed to enforce NATO priorities in Europe."