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USAF A-10s participate in Gulf coalition exercises

An A-10 Thunderbolt is parked underneath a sunshade, March 2, 2015, at Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar. A contingent of six A-10 Thunderbolts and more than 120 personnel assigned to the 190th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron recently arrived here to participate in three major coalition exercises in the region. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Kia Atkins)

An A-10 Thunderbolt is parked underneath a sunshade, March 2, 2015, at Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar. A contingent of six A-10 Thunderbolts and more than 120 personnel assigned to the 190th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron recently arrived here to participate in three major coalition exercises in the region. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Kia Atkins)

AL UDEID AIR BASE, Qatar -- A contingent of six A-10 Thunderbolts and more than 120 personnel assigned to the 190th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron recently arrived here to participate in three major coalition exercises in the region.

The exercises allow U.S. Air Force units to sharpen combat air skills, enhance procedures for sustained operations at non-U.S. bases and improve interoperability between coalition air forces.

"We look forward to the opportunity to train with our joint and coalition partners in the region," said Lt. Col. Anthony Brown, the 190th EFS Detachment Commander. "It's a great opportunity and we expect to learn a lot about how they conduct operations and I personally look forward to sharing our expertise with them as it relates to the A-10."

Since their arrival to the region the unit has participated in one exercise and is scheduled to participate in two more. Exact locations for most exercises in the region are not released due to host-nation sensitivities.

"We want to give our young pilots the experience of flying in the Arabian Gulf and allow them to see what it's like operating with different procedures in different countries," said Brown.

The 190th EFS is comprised of Air National Guard personnel from the 190th Fighter Squadron at Gowen Field Air National Guard Base, Boise, Idaho, and operates the A-10. The 190th FS is part of the 124th Fighter Wing.

"Often the focus during these exercises is on the multi-role air frames like the F-15, F-16 or F-18; however, during these exercises, the focus will be more heavily on the A-10, allowing us to share our expertise in the area of close air support, forward air patrol, and combat search and rescue among other tactics," Brown said.

While the primary focus of the exercise is to improve interoperability between A-10 and coalition operators, maintainers are getting a great deal of training.

"For our maintenance team, which is the bulk of our people, we have about the highest number in a long time who are on their first deployment, so just getting them out to a forward location where they have to live and operate, and experience the stresses of not being at home is really where they get the most learning out of these exercises," Brown said.

Air Forces Central Command traditionally assigns aircraft already in theater to support these exercises; however, because of the increased operations tempo required to support real-world operations like Operation Inherent Resolve, the Air Force has tasked units not currently engaged in the combat operations to participate in the regional exercises.