100th ARW keeps Noble Arrow flying

A KC-135 Stratotanker from the 100th Air Refueling Wing at RAF Mildenhall, England, refuels an F-15C Eagle from the 48th Fighter Wing at RAF Lakenheath, England, Oct. 13, 2016, over the North Sea. This refueling mission was in support of Noble Arrow. Noble Arrow is an exercise to train NATO foces through air operations in a realistic high-threat environment, to provide component-level force integration training for NATO Response Force assigned units. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Christine Halan)

A KC-135 Stratotanker from the 100th Air Refueling Wing at RAF Mildenhall, England, refuels an F-15C Eagle from the 48th Fighter Wing at RAF Lakenheath, England, Oct. 13, 2016, over the North Sea. This refueling mission was in support of Noble Arrow. Noble Arrow is an exercise to train NATO foces through air operations in a realistic high-threat environment, to provide component-level force integration training for NATO Response Force assigned units. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Christine Halan)

U.S. Air Force KC-135 Stratotanker crew chiefs wait as aircrew members conduct pre-flight checks in support of Exercise Noble Arrow, Oct. 14, 2016, on RAF Mildenhall, England. Developed to train NATO forces through air operations in a realistic high-threat environment, the exercise provide component-level force integration training for NATO Response Force assigned units. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Christine Halan)

U.S. Air Force KC-135 Stratotanker crew chiefs wait as aircrew members conduct pre-flight checks in support of Exercise Noble Arrow, Oct. 14, 2016, on RAF Mildenhall, England. Developed to train NATO forces through air operations in a realistic high-threat environment, the exercise provide component-level force integration training for NATO Response Force assigned units. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Christine Halan)

U.S. Air Force Airmen conduct a pre-flight inspection of the KC-135 Stratotanker Oct. 13, 2016, on RAF Mildenhall, England. The 100th Air Refueling Wing participated in Exercise Noble Arrow, a NATO Response Force training event. The exercise enables NATO allies to operate in a realistic fashion, through land, air, maritime and special operation components. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Christine Halan)

U.S. Air Force Airmen conduct a pre-flight inspection of the KC-135 Stratotanker Oct. 13, 2016, on RAF Mildenhall, England. The 100th Air Refueling Wing participated in Exercise Noble Arrow, a NATO Response Force training event. The exercise enables NATO allies to operate in a realistic fashion, through land, air, maritime and special operation components. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Christine Halan)

RAF MILDENHALL, England --

The 100th Air Refueling Wing participated in the NATO-led exercise, Noble Arrow 2016, Oct. 8 to 20, 2016, throughout the U.K.

The exercise assisted in training the United Kingdom’s Joint Force Air Component while they orchestrated air operations in a realistic and high-threat environment to provide component level force integration training.

“If there were a real world response that needed to happen, the idea is that we’d already have the connections and knowledge to respond fluidly,” said U.S. Air Force Maj. Justin Hauffe, KC-135 Stratotanker instructor pilot.

Noble Arrow was designed to enhance interoperability and capability within the European theater. Airmen from the 100th Maintenance and Operation Groups prepared, launched and flew KC-135 Stratotankers ultimately enhancing training and strengthening overall NATO airpower capability.

“We supported the exercise with air refueling and a liaison to help schedule flights more effectively,” Hauffe said. “All to provide the global reach for ourselves, the 48th (Fighter Wing) and our NATO allies.”

The purpose was to provide force integration, combat readiness training for those involved and support air operations.

“For my first flight, the (receiving aircraft) had to cancel because of maintenance, but I was able to get on another flight and still get the mission done,” Hauffe said. “So it shows you that flexibility is going to be important within the alliance.”

Although the Royal and U.S. Air Forces, as well as other NATO allies, train together frequently, tailoring the training to specific geographic and combat capabilities gives the participants the knowledge and familiarity to handle those situations more effectively under the stressors of real-world responses.

“Anytime we perform these exercises, it makes our alliances stronger,” Hauffe concluded. “Everyone was learning a lot to build that capacity to be able to respond quickly to crisis, when needed.”