Royal Air Force (RAF) Typhoons, French Rafale, and US F-35 jets recently participated in a joint exercise aimed at responding to an attack on their main operating bases.
The drill, part of Exercise Atlantic Trident, demonstrated the agility and adaptability of these military aircraft in the face of evolving threats.
The Royal Air Force press release highlighted the dynamic nature of the exercise, wherein the fighter aircraft, operating collaboratively, received mid-air notifications that their home bases had been denied. The immediate task was to disperse and relocate to RAF Leeming, Yorkshire, with no prior preparation.
“We deployed here at very short notice, without any preparation. We hadn’t planned how we were going to get here, where we’d be stationed or where our logistical support would be. This is now the new way of doing it, in order to face the peer threats that we are having at the moment,” Lieutenant Colonel Veuille, Commanding Officer of the French Detachment said.
The rapid deployment, conducted seamlessly by the multinational force, showcased the evolving strategies employed to counter peer threats. Lieutenant Colonel Veuille emphasized the significance of adapting to current challenges in defending against emerging threats.
Air Marshal Harv Smyth, Air and Space Commander, stressed the importance of such joint exercises in preparing for all scenarios. He stated, “To ensure we are prepared for all scenarios, such as bases being denied or under threat, the RAF needs to be able to relocate our capabilities from their home bases to other locations. This joint UK/French exercise has been a huge success and has surpassed all expectations.”
The exercise demonstrated the adaptability of Typhoons and F-35Bs, with Typhoons seamlessly transitioning from air-to-air patrol to air-to-surface attack mid-air. The collaborative effort also involved the UK’s F-35s remaining on a mission for four hours through ‘hot-pitting’ on the Carrier—refueling and simulating rearming with engines running.
“This joint UK/French exercise has been a huge success and has surpassed all expectations,” Air Marshal Harv Smyth.
The air-to-air refueling was facilitated by French MRTT, US KC135, and RAF Voyager aircraft, underscoring the interoperability and shared capabilities among the participating nations.