100th ARW supports Bosnia, Herzegovina air-to-ground integration ‘Bilateral Exercise’

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  • 100th Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs

A KC-135 Stratotanker assigned to the 100th Air Refueling Wing, together with other U.S. Air Force assets from Europe, provided critical support to the Bosnia air-to-ground integration “Bilateral Exercise” Nov. 18 to 19, 2020.

The Bilateral Exercise, held at the Glamoč Range training grounds of the Armed Forces of Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH), enabled the BiH Armed Forces to improve partnership cooperation with the United States and NATO partners. The goal was to develop interoperability and readiness, and create preconditions to introduce new capabilities of the BiH Armed Forces.

Training and interoperability efforts focused on air space management, airfield operations and close air support operations. Air advisors focused on building partner capacity while also evaluating what the U.S. Air Force can do to help partners and allies become a stronger military presence capable of supporting U.S. and NATO exercises, operations and humanitarian assistance missions.

The deployment of U.S. Air Force Airmen, air refueling support from RAF Mildenhall’s KC-135, along with two F-16 Fighting Falcons from the 555th Fighter Squadron, Aviano Air Base, Italy, demonstrated U.S. commitment to enhancing interoperability with the BiH Armed Forces and a commitment to security and stability in the Balkans.

The aim of the exercise was for the Armed Forces of BiH to improve the operational capabilities of the declared battalion group while working in conjunction with U.S. Air Force joint terminal attack controller Airmen. This in turn gave them the ability to conduct conventional operations in real time and in the international environment to realize the assignment of tasks with the use of close fire and air support.

Four U.S. Air Forces in Europe-Air Forces Africa air advisors, assigned to the 435th Contingency Response Support Squadron at Ramstein Air Base, Germany, along with a U.S. Navy joint terminal attack controller, from the combined Joint Task Force-Bosnia and Herzegovina also participated in the exercise.

“It was truly an honor working with our AFBiH partners training on interoperability and air-to-ground interdiction,” said U.S. Air Force Maj. Dante Earle, 100th ARW commander’s action group chief. “It’s a pleasure to support and we’re looking forward to more exercises like this in the future.”

The AFBiH exercise is just one of countless ways in which the U.S. Air Force continuously demonstrates how it is engaged, postured and ready with credible force to assure, deter and defend in an increasingly complex security environment.

“The 100th ARW takes pride in building Partnership Capacity, a key priority in the U.S. National Defense Strategy,” said Col. Van Thai, 100th Operations Group commander. “It’s important to enable the training with key European partners such as the AFBiH. This is something our Airmen do each and every day in the AOR, and it’s the reason the 100th ARW is a force multiplier for the joint force air component commander.”