The sky of the Canary Islands will become, from Saturday, a scene of fighting, attacks and simulated confrontations.
US, Turkish and Spanish troops will train under the supervision of the Air Combat Command (Macon) of the Air Force in a campaign that will allow both the Spanish Armed Forces and invited foreign detachments to increase their level of preparedness.
The Ocean Sky 2019 exercise of the Air Force will be held until the 30th of this month in the Archipelago, where the Gando Air Base and the Lanzarote military airfield will act as the base camp for the F-15 fighters; F-16; F-18 and mobilized eurofighters.
The units that will participate in these maneuvers have already begun to reach the Archipelago.
These types of exercises have been carried out every year in the Islands since 2004, but they had always done so under the name Dissimilar Air Combat Training (DACT). Only last year they were suspended, despite being planned, due to a financing problem.
This month they will resume with a new name, but with the same philosophy as always. The participating forces will be formed in two phases for thirteen days.
The first consists of a series of integration conferences that seek to enhance knowledge about the aircraft participating in the exercises and instruct flight safety and combat tactics for squadrons.
The choice of the Archipelago to carry out this exercise is not accidental. Air Force sources state that such a decision responds to the wide range of free airspace of trade routes located south of the Islands – and that in the military jargon is called Delta – and the good weather conditions in the region.
This edition will feature the 493 U.S. Air Force Squadron, which arrives equipped with F-15C fighters, and the 151st Turkish Air Force Squadron, with F-16.
Spain will act on Wing 11 and 14, which will contribute Eurofighters, and Wing 12, 15 and 46, with F-18 fighters. Group 47 will be present with Falcon 20 and Wing 31 with Hercules C-130, focused on transport and resupply tasks.
This aircraft has been gradually replaced in recent years by the Airbus A400M.
All hunting units will be supported in the exercises by the Command and Control system and by an Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS) of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), known as eyes in the sky – eyes in the heaven-.
This aircraft incorporates a radar system capable of detecting aircraft at high altitude. Thanks to it, the operators of the device can distinguish between friendly or hostile forces hundreds of kilometers away.
The Ministry of Defense defines the EATC, for its acronym in English, as the only organization in Europe for military air transport, air-air refueling and aeromedical evacuation.
The military practices in the Islands coincide with the escalation of tension in northern Syria.
“Spanish,” American and “Turkish air forces will share exercises in the framework of the Ocean Sky 2019, just a week after it came to light that the US President Donald Trump ordered the withdrawal of almost all troops in northern Syria following the resurgence of the conflict between Kurdish militias, who have been their allies, and the Turkish army.
Turkey began an offensive against those Kurdish militias earlier this month, a decision that has raised controversy in Europe and the rest of the world.
Trump, involved in criticism for withdrawing displaced US military in the area, announced this week that he will impose tariffs on steel from the country chaired by Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
The EU Council of Foreign Ministers agreed two days ago to condemn Turkey’s military action, but failed to agree on a collective embargo on arms sales. In any case, Spain, like Germany, France, Holland and Finland, has joined the blockade and “will deny new military export licenses that can be used in the operation in Syria.”