Lightning II, Typhoons, Raptors and Talons Fight It Out at Atlantic Trident
F-35A to Face Eurofighter, Rafale in Combat Exercise for First Time
U.S. Air Force Airmen will partner with the Royal Air Force and the French Air Force for a second trilateral exercise beginning April 12 through April 28, 2017, at Joint Base Langley-Eustis.
Atlantic Trident 2017, hosted by the 1st Fighter Wing, focuses on operations in a highly contested operational environment through a variety of complex, simulated adversary scenarios. The goal of the exercise is to enhance interoperability through combined coalition aerial campaigns.
“This exercise was designed to encourage the sharing and development of air combat TTPs [tactics, techniques and procedures] with our French and U.K. partners, against a range of potential threats leveraging U.S. Air Force fifth-generation capabilities,” said U.S. Air Force Col. Peter Fesler, 1st Fighter Wing commander. “This is not only an opportunity to share the capabilities of the aircraft, pilots and maintainers between our nations, but to build friendship, trust and confidence that will improve our interoperability as we go forward.”
While various exercises are held with allied and partner nations throughout the world, this exercise is one of the first to focus on greater integration of U.S. Air Force fifth-generation capabilities.
Joint Base Langley-Eustis hosted a similar exercise in December 2015, but the upcoming exercise will be uniquely valuable with the addition of the F-35 Lightning II to the training.
Atlantic Trident 2017 will feature the U.S. Air Force F-22 Raptor and F-35 Lightning II; the RAF Eurofighter Typhoon; and the FAF Dassault Rafale. U.S. Air Force F-15E Strike Eagles and T-38 Talons will play the roles of adversary aircraft.
U.S. Air Force E-3 Sentry and KC-10 Extender aircraft will also provide support during the exercise.
Approximately 225 U.S. Air Force, 175 RAF and 150 FAF service members will participate in the exercise. While there will be more aircraft operating from Langley Air Force Base, operations will occur during daylight hours and the level of noise should be no different than normal.
US Air Force Aircraft Taking Part in Atlantic Trident 2017
F-35A/B/C Lightning II
Crew: 1; Length: 50.5 ft (15.67 m); Wingspan: 35 ft (10.7 m); Height: 14.2 ft (4.33 m); Wing area: 460 ft² (42.7 m²); Maximum speed: Mach 1.6+ (1,200 mph, 1,930 km/h) (tested to Mach 1.61); Range: >1,200 nmi (2,220 km) on internal fuel; Combat radius: 625 nmi (1,158 km) interdiction mission on internal fuel, 760 nmi (1,407 km) for internal air to air configuration.
Armament. Guns: 1 × General Dynamics 25 mm (0.984 in) GAU-22/A 4-barrel rotary cannon, internally mounted with 180 rounds; Hardpoints: 6 × external pylons on wings with a capacity of 15,000 lb (6,800 kg) and two internal bays with two pylons with a capacity of 3,000 (1,360 kg) for a total weapons payload of 18,000 lb (8,100 kg) and provisions to carry combinations of Missiles.
Primary function: Multi-role fighter. Speed: Above Mach 2; higher on supercruise. Dimensions: Wing- span 32 ft. 8 in.; length 62 ft. 1 in.; height 16 ft. 8 in. Range: 1,850 miles; without external tanks, more than 1,250 miles unrefueled. Armament: M-61A1 20 mm cannon, AIM-120C AMRAAM, AIM-9, GBU-32 JDAMS. Crew: One.
F-15A/B/C/D/E Eagle and F-15E Strike Eagle
Primary function: F-15A/B/C/D/E — single-seat air superiority fighter. F-15E — air-to-ground attack aircraft. Dimensions: Wingspan 42 ft. 8 in.; length 63 ft. 8 in.; height 18 ft. 5 in. Speed: 1,875 mph. Strike Eagle Mach 2.5-plus. Range: 3,450 miles unrefueled. Strike Eagle 2,400 miles unrefueled. Armament: (All models) one internally mounted M-61A1 20 mm cannon with 940 rounds of ammunition and any combination of AIM-9L/M/X Sidewinder and four AIM- 7F/M Sparrow air-to-air missiles, or eight AIM-120 AMRAAMs air-to-air missiles, carried externally. Strike Eagle — Mk-82/82, M129, CBU-87/89/97, GBU- 10/12/15/24/27/31/38/39, AGM-65, AGM-130/154, nuclear weapons. Crew: F-15A/C, one; F-15B/D/E, two; Strike Eagle, two.
T-38A/C and AT-38B Talon
Primary function: Advanced jet pilot training. Speed: 812 mph. Dimensions: Wingspan 25 ft. 3 in.; length 46 ft. 4 in.; height 12 ft. 10 in. Range: 1,093 miles. Crew: Two.