RAMSTEIN, Germany – Completing a two-month training and exercise deployment under NATO Assurance Measures at Malbork, Poland, the Portuguese Air Force F-16 detachment has now redeployed to its home base at Monte Real.
"It was a very rewarding experience that enhanced our interoperability with Allied and Partner nations while at the same time demonstrating the Alliance's abilities and resolve to deter aggression from any threat," said the Detachment Commander Lieutenant Colonel Luis Silva, who oversaw the mission in April and the redeployment phase. "This mission has allowed the Portuguese Air Force and my team to train our deployment procedures and expeditionary capability in order to be ready to deliver combat air power where and when needed," he added.
The four Portuguese Air Force F-16 MLU fighter aircraft and a team of approx. 70 military specialists including aircrew, maintenance, logistics, force protection and medical personnel arrived in early March. During the eight weeks they executed more than 300 flying hours providing training and exercise activity under NATO's Assurance Measures. Most of the almost 200 sorties were in direct support of several NATO units stationed in the region.
The Portuguese F-16 fighter aircraft provided air-to-ground training and exercise support among others for the Multinational Battle Groups in Poland, Lithuania and Latvia. Air-to-air training was conducted with NATO Baltic Air Policing and enhanced Air Policing nations Poland and Germany, and Partner air units such as the Swedish JAS-39 Gripen. Training activities were also executed with United States Air Forces in Europe F-15 fighter aircraft during their temporary deployment to Poland.
"We are extremely grateful for the excellent Host Nation Support provided by our Polish colleagues here at Malbork Air Base," said Lieutenant Colonel Silva. "Their support was a key enabler for us, allowing the operation to be conducted as planned and with a reduced logistic footprint," he added.
NATO's Assurance Measures approved in September 2014 provide a comprehensive package of actions to respond to the changes in the security environment in and near Europe, to include challenges posed by Russia. The Air Measures under the Readiness Action Plan are comprised of AWACS flights, enhanced Air Policing as well as training an exercise activity with and within the Allies along the Eastern flank of NATO.
Story by Allied Air Command based on information provided by Portuguese Air Force detachment