The 48th Fighter Wing Public Affairs has announced on Friday that Royal Netherland Air Force F-16s and F-35As partnered with 4th and 5th generation aircraft from the Royal Air Force and F-15s from the 48th Fighter Wing during exercise Point Blank, for the first time.
More than 60 aircraft took off from home stations and met in the skies over the North Sea for a realistic, high-fidelity training environment that included KC-135 Stratotankers and a RC-135 Rivet Joint from RAF Mildenhall, along with NATO Airborne Warning and Control Systems.
“We value the excellent opportunity Point Blank provides us to maintain and improve interoperability with our NATO allies,” said RNLAF Maj. Marleen Molema, Leeuwarden Airbase press officer.
The exercise fully integrates fifth-generation technology and capabilities, and leads the development and execution of live, virtual and constructive training to support full-spectrum readiness.
“Point Blank fits perfectly in the training program and the road to Initial Operating Capability of our first F-35 squadron,” said Molema.
Point Blank is a recurring low-cost exercise designed by the 48th Fighter Wing and Royal Air Force with a mission to prepare warfighters for a highly contested fight against near-peer adversaries.
“Exercise Point Blank provides UK Combat Air the opportunity to operate alongside our USAFE colleagues in demanding, large scale air wars,” said RAF Air Vice Marshal Marshall, Air Officer Commanding 1 Group. “During this iteration of the exercise we were joined by F-16s and F-35s from the Dutch Air Force as well as a NATO E-3A; thus testing our ability to plan and co-ordinate across a number of dispersed units in multiple countries.”
Multi-lateral exercises like Point Blank increase interoperability and collective readiness, deter potential adversaries and ensure the skies within the European theater remain sovereign.
“These exercises are valuable for ensuring our Airmen sharpen their combat readiness and increase tactical proficiency,” said Col. Jason Camilletti, 48th Fighter Wing commander. “We will continue to safeguard U.S. national interests and those of our allies and partners throughout this COVID-19 crisis, and these types of exercises ensure we can meet that priority.”