African Lion, U.S. Africa Command’s premier joint annual exercise, kicks off in Morocco, Tunisia and Senegal for its 17th iteration June 7. With more than 7,000 participants from nine nations and NATO, African Lion is U.S. Africa Command’s largest exercise. The training is focused on enhancing readiness for U.S. and partner nation forces .African Lion 21 is a multi-domain, multi-component, and multi-national exercise, which will employ a full array of mission capabilities with the goal to strengthen interoperability among partner nations and enhance the ability to operate in the African theater of operations.
“African Lion 2021 is U.S. Africa Command’s premier, joint and multi-national annual exercise. African Lion is an excellent example of the United States’ long-term commitment to Africa and recognition of Africa’s strategic importance to the United States. This exercise is all about readiness. Readiness of our partners, and readiness of our forces. It brings together various ideas, experiences, and capabilities–ultimately making us stronger partners and a more capable multi-national force” said U.S. Africa Command commander, U.S. Army Gen. Stephen Townsend.
African Lion activities are spread across Morocco, from Kenitra Air Base in the north to Tan Tan and the Grier Labouihi training complex further south. Activities are also occurring in Senegal and Tunisia. An air training exercise, coordinated by the U.S. Air Forces Europe and Africa, will feature U.S. and Moroccan air maneuvers including bombers, fighters and aerial refueling. Naval maneuvers include a naval gunfire exercise and multiple sea-based maneuvers involving U.S. and Moroccan navies and crisis response capabilities. The importance of training and ability to learn how to operate in a COVID-19 environment made African Lion 21 a priority.
U.S. Air Force Airmen from the Utah Air National Guard will conduct a humanitarian civic assistance event in Morocco. Utah is partnered with Morocco as part of U.S. Africa Command’s State Partnership Program. There are 15 African nations in the State Partnership Program. In Senegal, U.S. and Senegalese militaries will demonstrate their combined capability to rapidly deploy and integrate in response to a crisis. In Tunisia, U.S. and Tunisian Armed Forces will conduct command post exercises and small unit tactical training. The U.S. Army Southern European Task Force, Africa, assumed lead responsibility of exercise African Lion in 2019 from the U.S. Marine Corps.