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.”