USAFE Hosts F-35 Multilateral Symposium
(Source: US Air Force Europe; issued Oct 06, 2017)
A US Air Force F-35A Lightning II aircraft assigned from Hill Air Force Base, Utah, prepares to be refueled by a KC-135 Stratotanker during a flight to Graf Ignatievo Air Base, Bulgaria, in April. (USAF photo)
RAMSTEIN AIR BASE, Germany --- Approximately 79 senior leaders representing all U.S. military branches and eight partner nations attended the F-35 Multilateral Symposium Oct. 3-5 here.

Hosted by the U.S. Air Forces in Europe – Air Forces Africa plans, programs and analysis directorate, the symposium was created to synchronize planning efforts, discuss broad operations employment consideration, and challenges unique in the European theater.

“The F-35A brings an unprecedented combination of lethality, survivability and adaptability to joint and combined operations, and is ready to deploy and strike well defended targets anywhere on Earth,” said Gen. David Goldfien, U.S. Air Force Chief of Staff, in a statement last year when the aircraft was declared combat ready.

With the impending delivery to the European theater, the F-35 represents a new model of international cooperation, ensuring U.S. and coalition partner security well into the 21st Century. The F-35 also brings together strategic international partnerships, providing affordability by reducing redundant research and development and providing access to technology around the world. Along these lines, the F-35 will employ a variety of U.S. and allied weapons.

Remaining conscientious of each country’s security sensitivities, the symposium was a venue for each country to bring topics for discussion and determine how others can use them. The group also discussed different tactics, techniques and procedures for training with hopes of keeping the program evolving.

“We’ve got to keep working alongside each other to make gains,” said Gen. Tod D. Wolters, U.S. Air Forces in Europe - Air Forces Africa commander during opening remarks. “If we don’t change, we’ll lose. Global security is our job and what we do.”

According to Wolters, the security disposition within the European theater has changed for the better in the past fiscal year in comparison to previous years, a point he also made in the F-35 Leadership Symposium in July.

“We’re taking those good ideas and we’re nesting them under that thought process to where we could elevate our command and control to a point that from a comprehensive perspective – we’re better,” he said. “At the end of the day, if we can say that this is something we’re fusing into the system that guarantees the sovereignty of the skies overhead our NATO nations and our great partners, then we’re in a great place.”

Topics included operations, maintenance, intelligence and logistics – creating a strong network able to provide combat capability through a coalition.

“We have identified a way forward to coordinate and work together as a team to find solutions for interoperability and training,” said Col. Chris Yancy, USAFE-AFAFRICA Plans, Programs and Analysis deputy director. “This program and this aircraft is a quantum leap above any other technology that we’ve had before. The program is much larger, much more complex and much more unique than our previous airframes.”

The introduction of the premier fifth-generation fighter to the European area of responsibility brings with it state-of-the-arts sensors, interoperability, and a broad array of advanced air-to-air and air-to-surface munitions that will help maintain the fundamental sovereignty rights of all nations.

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Allied Air Command Hosts Modern Aircraft Integration Workshop
(Source: NATO; issued Oct 6, 2017)
RAMSTEIN, Germany --- Senior Officers from across NATO and Allied nations, met at Allied Air Command (AIRCOM), Ramstein, on October 6 for a workshop focusing on the integration of 4th - 5th Generation Aircraft, called Modern Aircraft (MA).

One of NATO’s key Air and Joint capability challenges in the future will be the integration and interoperation of existing and evolutionary MA within NATO’s operational capabilities. Such integration offers an unparalleled step change in the NATO’s ability to dominate the air and cyberspace domains in support of its collective deterrence posture.

AIRCOM, as part of its role as the NATO Air Power proponent, will be at the forefront of the work required to amplify and enhance the effectiveness of the Alliance’s existing aircraft through integration of MA enhanced situational awareness, stealth technology, advanced avionics, communication and sensor fusion capabilities. More immediately, with a number of NATO Nations bringing MA into service, AIRCOM will be working to optimise their capabilities in order to contribute to its peacetime Air Policing mission to safeguard Alliance Airspace.

The workshop is a follow-on action to the discussion of the NATO Air Chiefs at the two recent NATO Air Chiefs Meetings. It will take the Air Chiefs’ mandate forward to explore integration optimisation in detail to produce outcomes that will be briefed to them at their next Symposium in October 2017. In opening remarks, the Deputy Commander Allied Air Command, Air Marshal Stuart Evans emphasised the importance of such workshops, "the seamless fusion of existing and evolutionary 5th generation modern aircraft provides a significant enhancement to the Air and Joint capabilities of the Alliance and is key to meeting current and future security challenges,” he said.

Attendees included guest speakers and subject matter experts from NATO Allies with 5th Generation fighters, the United States Air Force in Europe, European Air Group and the Tactical Leadership Program. All shared either their major lessons identified in transitioning to such aircraft and integrating them into their National Air Forces. Eight NATO countries are currently involved in the 5th Generation F-35 development (United States, United Kingdom, Italy, Netherlands, Turkey, Canada, Denmark and Norway).

Alliance Air Power remains an essential element of NATO’s operational capabilities and continues to deliver a vital contribution to NATO success. The enhanced situational awareness, integration capabilities, stealth technology and advanced avionics of MA will also amplify and enhance the combat effectiveness of the Alliance’s existing aircraft fleets and act as a significant force multiplier.

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