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380AEW Article

UAE and U.S. Force’s join in semi-annual HAWKEX

  • Published
  • 380 AEW
The United Arab Emirates Air Warfare Center and the U.S. Air Forces Central Air Warfare Center partnered together to conduct the Hawk Exercise or HAWKEX, May 16 - 20 at Al Dhafra Air Base, United Arab Emirates. HAWKEX is a semi-annual combined-joint simulation exercise conducted to increase interoperability, to validate bilateral command and control, and to bolster the well-established Emirati air and ground defense capability.
Involved in the exercise were the UAE Air Force and Air Defense Force, as well as the U.S. Army, Navy and Air Force.
“It has been a great exercise and we learned a lot from the Emirati, combat hardened warriors, said Lt. Col. Thomas Stockton, the director of the Integrated Air and Missile Defense Division of AFCENT’s Air Warfare Center. “We worked side by side and worked great with them. Together, we took a hard look at lessons learned from the Houthi attacks back in January.”
During the exercise, participants completed six challenging simulations in order to remain vigilant in the future defense of the UAE. These simulations emphasized defensive counter air operations and air missile defense command and control – the exercise of authority and direction by a properly designated commander – to accomplish combined-joint mission operations.
One way the U.S. Air Force ensures it is coordinating effectively with their Emirati partners is by utilizing U.S. Airmen like Staff Sgt. Cassaundra Winfrey, a communications specialist with AFCENT’s Air Warfare Center.
“We are the link which ensures U.S. Forces are on the same page as our Emirati partners for Air Defense,” said Winfrey. “It’s my job to communicate with 9th Air Force (AFCENT) so we can fill in the gaps and make sure that we aren’t over-engaging.”
U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Kari Frazier, the non-commissioned officer in charge of HAWKEX’s fire direction center, adds another layer of allied partner communication.
“I control and manage U.S. Patriot Missile defense fire,” said Frazier. “I verify there is deconfliction with Emirati and U.S. assets, confirming there are no overlapping efforts.” We want to engage only when requested.
The U.S. Naval Forces Central Command also participated in HAWKEX.
Senior Chief Petty Officer Charles Spears, a Ballistic Missiles Defense Specialist with NAVCENT, said, “NAVCENT’s goal is to identify areas that can be improved in our coalition cooperation with our Emirati partners in command and control. We want to test our current command and control capabilities and develop more lethal means of defense.”
Having completed its 15th iteration, HAWKEX is scheduled to resume later this year and continue to foster UAE and U.S. partnerships through integration and team building.