German Air Force Hosted Multinational Air Group Training Integrated with BALTOPS50

More than 40 Allied aircraft including fighter, transport and air-to-air refueling aircraft fly their drills integrated with the multinational maritime-led exercise BALTOPS50. Integrated with BALTOPS50 for the first time, more than 15 German fighter aircraft and an Airbus A330 air-to-air refueler participated in the Multinational Air Group Days from June 14 to 17, 2021. They provided the framework for fighter jets from MAG nations Denmark and Poland and Allies Italy, Spain, Turkey and the United States.

“The experience from this first integration of the MAGDAYs into multi-domain operations provides a solid basis for achieving our next milestones for the development of the MAG concept,” said Lieutenant Colonel Rüdiger Gerhart, German MAGDAY Project Officer at the German Air Operations Command in Kalkar, Germany. The way ahead is to achieve an initial operational capability in 2023 allowing Germany to lead an air task force and to further expand and solidify that capability to declare full operational capability in 2026.”

German Air Force Hosted Multinational Air Group Training Integrated with BALTOPS50
A German Air Force controller in a Multinational MRTT Unit (MMU) A-33 0tanker aircraft from Eindhoven Air Base executes and monitors air-to-air refueling of fighter aircraft during the MAGDAYs. Photo by MMU.

The combination of the two training events offered synergies weaving multinational air operations into the maritime play facilitating modern warfighting operations. NATO’s Combined Air Operations Centre at Uedem, Germany – an expert for Allied air operations in the region, controlled the aerial training activities and harmonised them with real-world air traffic. The German Joint Force Air Component or JFAC was responsible for planning the MAGDAY air missions

Germany will offer the international MAG nations several occasions to develop technical and logistic cooperation, practice combined tactics, techniques and procedures and benefit from enduring exchange of information. The German Air Force has repeatedly hosted the MAGDAYs with members and international observers. During these training events, participants deepen their interoperability and air command and control relationships. The MAGDAYs provide a flexible expeditionary arrangement as participating aircraft usually operate out of their home bases – which saves resources and allows to be more effective thank flying out of a combined main operating base.

German Air Force Hosted Multinational Air Group Training Integrated with BALTOPS50
The German Air Chief, Lieutenant General Ingo Gerhartz (4th from left) with the Commander of NATO’s Combined Air Operations Centre Uedem, Lieutenant General Klaus Habersetzer (3rd from left) during a MAGDAY briefing at the CAOC. “We have a lot of positive synergies, we really have an added value between our exercises,” said General Gerhartz. Photo by Michael Schiller.

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