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Feb 4 2022

Neptune Strike stretches its reach across Europe

RAMSTEIN, Germany – Maritime and land based aircraft working together are demonstrating the multi-national reach and readiness of Allied Air Power. 

Allied fighters including Polish and Belgian F-16s have been integrating over central Europe and the Baltic States together with F-18s flying from the Carrier USS Harry S. Truman, sailing in the Adriatic Sea. As part of the NATO-led Neptune Strike, fighters have been acting as escorts for the F-18s while they carried out air-land integration training with Joint Terminal Attack Controllers (JTAC).

Simultaneously, Hellenic Air Force F-16s and F-4s have been carrying out air defence exercises against US F-18s over the Ionian Sea. These dual missions highlight the ability of Neptune Strike participants to react to multiple threats concurrently. 

The integration of land and maritime based air assets into a single package demonstrates NATO's ability to provide a robust defence to Allies across Europe

"The integration of land and maritime based air assets into a single package demonstrates NATO's ability to provide a robust defence to Allies across Europe," said Lieutenant General Pascal Delerce, Deputy Commander Allied Air Command. "The Carrier Strike Group provides a high-end capability that can be fused with other Allied air platforms to offer NATO commanders a formidable multi-domain response, providing regional stability and security for the Alliance."

An Italian KC-767A refueling two US Navy F-18s during Neptune Strike, air-to-air refueling  improves the endurance and reach of Allied air power. Photo courtesy of STRIKFORNATO.
The cockpit of a Hellenic Air force F-16 in formation with his wingman and US Navy F-18s during air-to-air combat training over the Ionian Sea. Photo courtesy of the Hellenic Air Force.

Long-range missions such as these require the support of Allied air-to-air refueling aircraft. This capability was provided by: a French Air Force A330 Multi Role Tanker Transport (MRTT), a USAF KC-135, an Italian KC-767A and the multinational MRTT unit. Air-to-air refueling is a key capability that extends the reach and endurance of Allied air power, ensuring it can react to any situation across the European theatre. 

Neptune Strike 22 allows NATO to integrate the high-end maritime strike capabilities of a US Carrier Strike Group into the constant vigilance activities that provide security and regional stability. The unique capabilities of the Carrier Strike Group also enable multiple theatre-wide missions and training events to be executed concurrently across Europe. Neptune Strike 22 has increased the readiness of the United States Navy and Allied air, land and maritime units.

Story by Allied Air Command Public Affairs Office

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