Supercruise Aviation - Article
Anatolian Eagle 2019 - back to business

The last held Anatolian Eagle training exercise dated back from June 2016. A month before the failed coup attempt in Turkey. Luckily the situataion stabilized during the aftermath of the failed coup and around early May 2019 the Turkish airforce announced training exercise Anatolian Eagle is once more back to business.

Like previous edtions the Anatolian Eagle 2019 training exercise was conducted at the Konya 3rd Main Jet Base Command. The exercise was held from June 17-28. In a realistically simulated operational environment, the Anatolian Eagle training exercise is executed both nationally and internationally every year at Konya. Main goal of the exercise is to increase the training level of pilots, air defence staff and controllers in operations, where they experience and improve joint and combined operation methods, which minimizes losses under real operation conditions and increasing task effectiveness to the maximum level. Since the establishment of the center a total of 15 countries participated.

The Anatolian Eagle Training Center established at the 3rd Main Jet Base in 2001 is one of the world’s most developed tactical training centers with its realistic threat environment. Anatolian Eagle featurs one of the largest worldwide military training areas with a width of about 330 km at a North-South direction and about 400 km at an East-West direction. This vast exercise area enables aircraft to execute their flight tactics without any limitations and without being affected by civilian air traffic.

During the Anatolian Eagle training exercise the blue forces, units/elements attending the training, attack the targets in the red zone protected by enemy’s air defence systems and the aircraft. During the training F-16C/D aircraft from the 132nd Squadron fly and act as the red force, or in other words the enemy. At the Anatolian Eagle Operation Center, data/information transfer between all aircraft, early warning aircraft, ground surveillance radars and other components, are monitored in real-time, coordinated and evaluated.

With the ongoing and growing dispute between the USA and Turkey about the purchase of the Russian S-400 Surface-to-Air missile system and the pending delivery of the first F-35A to the Turkish Air Force, these political developments had no effect on this years Anatolian Eagle training exercise as the U.S. Air Force attended with F-15E 'Strike Eagles'. In the past the Pakistan Air Force attended with F-16A/B aircraft, but this year they participated with JF-17 Thunders. These JF-17 aircraft are co-produced between China and Pakistan. Another notable participant was the Royal Jordanian Air Force with three of its F-16 MLUs. These three were all former dutch F-16 MLU's.

International participation in this year’s Anatolian Eagle 2019 training exercise consisted of:
U.S. Air Force with 6x F-15Es,
Italian Air Force with 3x AMX A-11s,
Pakistani Air Force with 6x JF-17s,
Royal Jordanian Air Force with 3x F-16AM/BMs,
Qatar Air Force with 1x C-17 and 1x C-130J,
NATO with 1x E-3A,
And Azerbaijan Air Force with some observers.

Turkish Air Force particpated with
6x F4E-2020s of the 111st Squadron,
Many F-16C/D of the 113rd, 132nd, 152nd and 161st Squadrons,
1x E-7T of the 131st Squadron,
1x CN-235M and
1x AS-532UL of the 135th Squadron,
1x C-160D “MILKAR-2U” of the 221st Squadron.

Report and Photos by Edward Antonissen