U.S. and Polish airmen started training together at Lask Air Base, Poland, June 2, during the largest theater security cooperation event ever hosted by the U.S. Air Force Aviation Detachment in Poland, according to Av-Det officials.
This is the third planned aviation rotation this year, involving 18 U.S. F-16 Fighting Falcon fighter aircraft from the 480th Fighter Squadron and nearly 400 personnel from the 52nd Fighter Wing, Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany.
Close to 300 of those airmen will support the F-16 fighter aircraft at Lask Air Base, and nearly 100 Airmen from 606th Air Control Squadron will assist in controlling the skies above Poland from Powidz Air Base.
“The NATO alliance draws its strength from the ability of its partner nations to seamlessly integrate forces during contingencies. That interoperability stems from a dedication to training during peacetime, and the Av-Det offers the U.S. and Polish air forces the unique opportunity to train together on a regular basis,” U.S. Air Force Maj. Matthew Spears, the Av-Det commander, said of the partnership with NATO allies.
In addition to the 480th FS, the 606th Air Control Squadron from the 52nd FW will provide tactical control to aircraft flying in Poland from Powidz Air Base for two exercises, Av-Det Rotation 14-3 and Poland’s EAGLE TALON exercise. The 606 ACS is a control and reporting center unit that provides air control to various aircraft flying in the same air space.
For the first time, the fighter aircraft will also simultaneously participate in Poland’s national air exercise Eagle Talon.
U.S. personnel from the 480th FS, 606th ACS, and 351st ARS will participate in Eagle Talon, which is a Polish national air exercise. Its mission is to increase interoperability with air-to-air and air-to-surface training, involving U.S., French, British and NATO aircraft from June 9 to 13.
The Av-Det in Poland has a continuous U.S. presence, with ten U.S. Air Force members stationed at ?ask Air Base, Poland. The detachment is supported by the 52nd Fighter Wing, Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany.
“The U.S. Aviation Detachment serves as an enduring forward persistent presence in Poland, and enables invaluable training between our allies,” said Col. Lars Hubert, acting 52nd Fighter Wing commander. “The 52nd Fighter Wing is proud to support the mission of the Av-Det, as it continuously allows us to engage with our NATO partners.”
On June 13, 2011, the U.S. Ambassador to Poland, Lee Feinstein, and the Polish Defense Minister signed a Memorandum of Understanding, establishing a U.S. Air Force Aviation Detachment in Poland.
The agreement was based on a commitment made by U.S. President Barack Obama and Polish President Komorowski, and fulfills the two countries’ commitments under the 2008 Declaration on Strategic Cooperation to the defense of Poland and NATO partners.