PRINCE SULTAN AIR BASE, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia --
Airmen from the 378th Air Expeditionary Wing traveled to King Abdulaziz Air Base, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, to participate in the second iteration of the Royal Saudi Air Force led exercise, Spears of Victory.
The large force air exercise involved four nations, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Bahrain and the United States.
“Spears of Victory provided a unique opportunity to further our close cooperation, interoperability, and friendship with RSAF, Bahrain and Pakistan”, said Col. Benjamin Busch, 378th Expeditionary Operations Group commander.
The intensive and realistic combat training was conducted over the course of ten days and included live threat emitters as well as adversary aircraft.
“The benefit of large force air exercises, such as Spears of Victory, is that we validate our capability to operate side by side and further develop combined tactics”, Busch said. “These procedures enable us to be a more effective combat airpower team.”
The 378th AEW deployed a small detachment of Airmen from various Air Force specialty codes to meet the needs of a forward operating base.
“We had a small contingent of Airmen come to King Abdulaziz Air Base just as we would do if we were at a forward operating base”, said Lt. Col. Dustin Brown, SoV F-16 Detachment commander. “We took the minimum amount of people and equipment that we would need to sustain the level of flying operations here without impacting the mission back at Prince Sultan Air Base.”
Operating from an RSAF base allowed USAF members the opportunity to familiarize themselves with the area for future employment in the region.
“We’re learning to fight together, we’re improving our ability to communicate, we are looking at what’s required to operate alongside each other,” Brown said. “We’re running through things so that should we go fight together, we’ve been here before and it’s a familiar place. The leadership across the base knows us, they know our act, they know our people, they know what we need. So the simple act of exercising in this location just makes us more ready.”
Conducting large force air exercises of this nature cultivates strong partnerships to deter regional aggressors.
“To our adversaries: the USAF and RSAF have a close, strong friendship”, said Busch. “Spears of Victory proved that we are a capable, effective team, ready to deter and defeat any adversary in the region.”
The ability to work with other nations and move forces fluidly across the theater to seize, retain and exploit the initiative against an adversary is key to ensuring readiness and resiliency.