Anatolian Eagle 2015-1 takes place at Konya, Turkey

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Anatolian Eagle is an exercise, which is held at 3ncu AJÜ (Main Jet Base) Konya in Turkey, hosted by the Turkish Air Force. This exercise is similar to Red Flag, the ultimate air combat training exercise hosted by the United States Air Force at Nellis Air Force Base in Nevada, USA. Being modeled after the Red Flag syllabus, in the  numbers of aircraft, duration and  missions challenges presented to the players.

With the modernization of its Air Force and the participation in various operations, from Bosnia-Herzegovina to the Kosovo war the Turkish Air Force realized the philosophy that “no matter how modern the weapons are, it is men that use them.”
After the participation of a Red Flag exercise in Nevada in 1997, the Turkish Air Force built within three years the infrastructure to execute similar exercises at Konya.

The first Anatolian Eagle exercise was held in 2001, organized by the TAF Operations Command.
Due to its geographical place in Europe, not only countries from Europe participated in the numerous exercises, also countries from  near, middle and the far east are participating, like Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Jordan and Pakistan.

Anatolian Eagle trainings are similar to the Red Flag exercises, realized in close-to-real war environment, with scenarios ranging  from easy to extremely  difficult. The heart is the “White Headquarters“ in which all training is planned and the statistical studies are carried out. The Command and Control Center (CCC) is the place in which the information (location, position and flight information) of the participating aircraft can be observed in real-time. This happens through ACMI (Air Combat Maneuvering Instrumentation), each aircraft carries this pod with the size of an AIM-9 Sidewinder during its flight.

The tracks detected by AWACS and land radars and real-time searching, locking and shooting images of SAMs and anti-aircraft systems can be observed. In the main briefing hall, which can host 450 people is the place where the last briefings before the sorties and the debriefings after the flights are carried out. These debriefings can last up to four hours.

The Red Building is used only by the Red Forces. No one except the Red Forces can enter this building. Also in the same way, the Red Forces personnel cannot enter other buildings.

There are three Blue buildings which have each rooms for the participating squadrons for planning, briefing and debriefing.
The Anatolian Eagle airspace is expended towards the south and has the dimensions of 200 nm east-west and 150 nm north-south. The Salt-area, the main operation airspace, is being used from ground level up to 50,000 feet.

The key aims of Anatolian Eagle were outlined during the exercise and these include:

*To systematically test and evaluate the fighters’ combat readiness statuses
*Manage tactical training progress
*Build a background and knowledge base in order to research tactical aeronautics
*Conduct research to allow fighter elements of the Turkish Air Force Command to reach the military goals in the shortest time and with minimum resource and effort
*Support the definition of operational requirements, supply, and research and development activities
*Allocate training environment in order to fulfill the requirements of the Turkish Air Force Command
*Support tests of existing/developed/future weapon/aircraft systems

Most participants of Anatolian Eagle come from southern NATO nations and the Middle East and this year was no different.

The following foreign units participated in Anatolian Eagle 15-1:

NATO – E-3A AWACS of NAEWF from Geilenkirchen, Germany
Germany – A.310MRTT of 1.FBS / BMVg from Cologne
Pakistan – F-16A/B of 9.Sqn / 38(Multi-Role).Wing from Mushaf
Spain – EF-18M of Ala 15 from Zaragoza
United Kingdom – Typhoon FGR.4 of 11.Sqn from RAF Coningsby
United States – F-15C/D of 493.FS / 48.FW from RAF Lakenheath, UK

The Turkish Air Force participated with the following units:

101.Filo with KC-135R from 10nci TÜK Incirlik-Adana (flying from there)
111.Filo with F-4E-2020 from 1nci AJÜ Eskisehir
141.Filo with F-16C/D-50 from 4ncu AJÜ Akinci (Ankara)
142.Filo with F-16C-30 from 4ncu AJÜ Akinci (Ankara)
151.Filo with F-16C/D-50 from 5nci AJÜ Merzifon
152.Filo with F-16C/D-40 from 5nci AJÜ Merzifon
161.Filo with F-16C/D-50+ from 6nci AJÜ Bandirma
162.Filo with F-16C/D-40 from 6nci AJÜ Bandirma
171.Filo with F-4E-2020 from 7nci AJÜ Erhac (Malatya)
181.Filo with F-16C/D-50+ from 8nci AJÜ Diyarbakir
182.Filo with F-16C-40 from 8nci AJÜ Diyarbakir
191.Filo with F-16C/D-40 from 9nci AJÜ Balikesir
202.Filo with CN.235-100 from 8nci AJÜ Diyarbakir

Next to the Air Force, the Turkish Army participated with S.70A and T.129.

Also the based units at 3ncu AJÜ Konya participated:

131.Filo with E-7T Wedge Tail
132.Filo with F-16C/D Block 50
135.Filo with AS.532AL

Next to the foreign participants, the Turkish Air Force did some shuffling with its F-16s. At the same time the squadron markings of most of the units changed, sometimes more sometimes less but it was a great opportunity to see them in masses.
104 aircraft participated in the exercise, the mission in the morning and one in the afternoon included usually about 70 aircraft.

The author like to thank the Office of the Military Attache in Berlin, Germany, in persona    Col. Kurt, the Turkish Air Force PAO Office with Maj. Mesuat Yurtdan and 1st Lt. H. Naim Kaya, the members of the Anatolian Eagle staff who made us feel welcome, especially  LtCol Hasan Birsen Celikel and all the unknown helpers, guards and members of the military who made our visit at Konya very worthwhile and successful.

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