The air forces of the United States and the United Kingdom are taking part in a massive week-long exercise with the French Air Force in France geared towards improving their tactical and technical abilities to work together.
Since Monday 17th May and until 28th May, the US Air Force and the Royal Air Force are taking part in exercises with the French Armee de L’Air in operation “Atlantic Trident 21”.
The French Air Force announced on Twitter that it is the first time in France and in Europe that it is hosting such an operation. The base of operations is the military base near the town of Mont-de-Marsan, which is in the Landes department in south-western France, about 50 kilometres (31 miles) from the Atlantic coast.
The operation includes coordinated exercises involving British Typhoon fighter jets, American F-35s, and the French Rafale.
The French Ministere des Armees, which is the Department of Defence’s body in charge of almost all of the military forces in France, issued a statement saying: “With some of the most efficient fighter jets in the world, the three air forces are among the only nations able to set up, without delay, a joint air force capable of carrying out high-intensity missions behind enemy lines.”
The statement also said: “About sixty aircraft including 50 fighter planes, refuelers (French and American KC-135, A330 Phenix and Voyager) and detection and control means (British E-3D and French E-3F) will be used in complex air missions, reflecting the reality of modern air combat (digitalisation of airspace, evolution of the strategic context and opposing defenses).”
General Philippe Lavigne, 55, the French Air Force’s Chief of Staff, said: “Three years ago, in April 2018, our three air forces demonstrated their capacity for joint action by leading the Hamilton raid over Syria. This capacity is not a given. Interoperability requires constant efforts.
The Atlantic Trident exercise is an opportunity for our Airmen to use the know-how of our three nations to strive for more common efficiency and agility. My intention for Atlantic Trident 2021 is to continue on this path, namely that of better knowledge and better mutual trust. Objective: to be ready to work again as a team at the request of our decision-makers!”