Defense

June 9, 2017
 

BALTOPS 2017 Kicks Off

Staff Sgt. Jonathan Snyder
Powidz Air Base, Poland

Airman 1st Class Andrew Winkler, left, 100th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, and Staff Sgt. Eric Stevenson, right, 100th AMXS, inspect a KC-135R Stratotanker during BALTOPS exercise at Powidz Air Base, Poland, June 6, 2017. The U.S. Air Force is supporting the exercise with approximately 900 Airmen, eight F-16s from the 52nd Fighter Wing, Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany, four KC-135 Stratotankers from the 100th Air Refueling Wing, RAF Mildenhall, U.S. and U.S. Air Force Reserve 459th Air Refueling Wing, Joint Base Andres, Maryland, one Air Force Reserve E-3 Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS) from the 513th Aerial Control Group, Tinker Air Force Base, Oklahoma and Airmen from the 1st Combat Communication Squadron, Ramstein Air Base, Germany will be supporting this multinational exercise.

Exercise BALTIC OPERATIONS (BALTOPS) is underway in the Baltic Sea region until 16 June. Air, maritime, and ground assets from several NATO Allies and Partner Nations are involved in the live training event that started from Szczecin, Poland and finishes in Kiel, Germany.

“What we want to do is practice and demonstrate the ability to deliver sea control and power projection at and from the sea,” said U.S. Navy Vice Adm. Christopher Grady, Joint Force Maritime Component Commander Europe.

BALTOPS is an annual recurring multinational, maritime-focused exercise designed to provide high end training for the participants. This year, approximately 6,000 servicemembers from 14 countries (Belgium, Denmark, Estonia, France, Germany, Latvia, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, the United Kingdom, the United States and NATO’s Enhanced Opportunities Partners: Finland and Sweden) will participate.

Capt. Chris Carr, 351st Air Refueling Squadron pilot, taxis in a KC-135R Stratotanker during BALTOPS exercise at Powidz Air Base, Poland, June 6, 2017. BALTOPS is an annually recurring multinational exercise designed to enhance flexibility and interoperability, as well as demonstrate resolve of allied and partner forces to defend the Baltic region. Participating nations include Belgium, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Latvia, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Sweden, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

The U.S. Air Force is supporting the exercise with approximately 900 Airmen and 19 aircraft to include: eight F-16s from the 31st Fighter Wing, Aviano Air Base, Italy,  four KC-135 Stratotankers from the 100th Air Refueling Wing, RAF Mildenhall, U.S. and U.S. Air Force Reserve 459th Air Refueling Wing, Joint Base Andrews, Maryland, one Air Force Reserve E-3 Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS) from the 513th Aerial Control Group, Tinker Air Force Base, Oklahoma, B-52 Stratofortresses from the 2nd Bomb Wing, Barksdale Air Force Base, Louisiana, B-1 Lancers from the 28th Bomb Wing, Ellsworth Air Force Base, South Dakota, and Airmen from the 1st Combat Communication Squadron, Ramstein Air Base, Germany.

“This exercise is a great opportunity for the United States, NATO allies and partners to practice air and maritime integration,” said U.S. Navy Cmdr. Edward Chandler, BALTOPS Air Syndicate Lead.

The exercise, is designed to enhance flexibility and interoperability, to strengthen combined response capabilities, as well as demonstrate resolve among Allied and Partner Nations’ forces to ensure stability within the Baltic Sea region.

“We’ve maintained a consistent level of participation over the last couple of years,” said Grady. “It’s a very large exercise with a lot of moving parts and the participants will provide that realistic and challenging training we’re looking for.”

BALTOPS, which began in 1972, provides an opportunity for NATO and regional partners to strengthen interoperability through a series of combined tactical maneuvers and scenarios.
 

Airmen from the 100th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron inspect a KC-135R Stratotanker during BALTOPS exercise at Powidz Air Base, Poland, June 6, 2017.

 

Capt. Nicholas McClendon, 351st Air Refueling Squadron pilot, conducts a pre-flight check on a KC-135R Stratotanker prior to takeoff during BALTOPS exercise at Powidz Air Base, Poland, June 5, 2017.

 

Staff Sgt. Sam Cobb, 100th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron hydraulics technician, communicates with the pilots during a pre-flight check of a KC-135R Stratotanker at Powidz Air Base, Poland, June 5, 2017.

 

Staff Sgt. Joshua Kearney, 100th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron crew chief, marshalls a KC-135R Stratotanker participating in BALTOPS exercise at Powidz Air Base, Poland, June 5, 2017.

 

A KC-135R Stratotanker prepares to takeoff during BALTOPS exercise at Powidz Air Base, Poland, June 5, 2017.

 

Master Sgt. Jacob Wavrin, right, 459th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron crew chief, along with Staff Sgt. James Sidler, center, 459th AMXS aircraft mechanic, talk with Polish air force Staff Sgt. Radoslaw Tyc, left, during BALTOPS exercise at Powidz Air Base, Poland, June 5, 2017.




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