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International Anatolian Phoenix 2019 Military Exercise

Hosted by the Anatolian Eagle Training Center Command – AKEM, the International Anatolian Phoenix 2019 Military Exercise was executed on 13 – 24 May 2019 at the 3rd Main Jet Base Command/Konya with the participation of the Land, Naval and Air Forces units from Azerbaijan, United Kingdom, Qatar, the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC), Pakistan, Romania and Turkey

Issue 93 - July 2019

AKEM, as the training center of the Turkish Air Force (TurAF), enables realistic training and military exercise opportunities for both national elements and to allied countries. With such features, the center hosts national and international military exercises such as Anatolian Eagle, Turaz Hawk, Anatolian Falcon and Pençe in addition to Anatolian Phoenix.

The International Anatolian Phoenix Military Exercises have been conducted biannually since 2009 at the 3rd Main Jet Base Command, for the training of the Personnel/Search and Rescue Task Force in an real-like operational environment and aims to improve the level of cooperation and interoperability of the units toward fulfilling the joint operation requirements essential for the combat field of today and the future. The International Anatolian Phoenix Military Exercises began in 2012 in two period intervals; one national and one international.

Hosted by the Anatolian Eagle Training Center Command – AKEM, the International Anatolian Phoenix 2019 Military Exercise was executed on 13 – 24 May 2019 at the 3rd Main Jet Base Command/Konya with the participation of the Land, Naval and Air Forces units from Azerbaijan, United Kingdom, Qatar, the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC), Pakistan, Romania and Turkey

Combat Aircrafts Helicopters and Rescue Teams attend the Exercise aiming to operate the command control process effectively and Joint Personnel Rescue methods to be executed in the operational environment are experienced during training and developed. Within the scope of the Joint and/or Combined Operation, tasks such as Close Air Support (CAS), Dynamic Targeting (DT) and Time Sensitive Targeting (TST) are being conducted by involving such elements in the exercise scenarios.

The participants of this year’s International Anatolian Phoenix – 2019 Military Exercise are as follows:

Four F-16C/D aircraft of the 132nd Squadron Command of the Air Forces Command (AFC),

Three AS532AL helicopters of the AFC’s 135th Squadron Command,

Personnel Rescue Team of the AFC’s 135th Squadron Command,

ANKA-S Unmanned Air Vehicle of the AFC’s 302nd Squadron Command,

Two T129B Mk-I Attack and Reconnaissance Helicopters of the Turkish Land Forces Army Aviation Command,

Naval Forces Command (NFC) Underwater Demolition Task Force (5 personnel),

One S-70A-17D YARASA Helicopter and one Special Forces Team (7 personnel) from the Special Forces Command of the Turkish General Staff,

One AS532AL Helicopter and a Personnel Rescue Team (14 personnel) from the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, 

Two Mi-17 Helicopters from the 1st Squadron Command of the Azerbaijani Air Forces Command, 2 Mi-35M Attack Helicopters from the 3rd Squadron Command and 1 CSAR (Combat Search and Rescue) Team with a total of 57 personnel,

One JTAC (Joint Terminal Air Controller) Team from the United Kingdom (4 personnel),

One Qatari C-130J Transport Aircraft and 54 personnel,

Four F-16A/B Aircraft and one CSAR Team (6 Personnel) from the 9th Squadron Command of Pakistani Air Forces Command and a total of 90 personnel composed of helicopter pilots with observer status,

A total of 30 personnel with two IAR-330 SOCAT Helicopters (Sistem Optronic de Cercetare di Anti-Tanc) from the 952nd Assault Squadron Command of the Romanian Air Forces

The purpose of the exercise was determined to be experiencing and improving the command control process as part of the Personnel Rescue (PR) Operation. Within this frame, various scenarios were planned and executed to develop the interoperability capabilities of Air Force elements (Combat Aircrafts, Command Control Aircraft and UAVs) and Personnel Rescue Task Force elements (Helicopters, PR/CSAR Teams and JTAC/Advanced Air Controllers) operating on the battlefield and increasing their level of operability with different countries or task forces. 

According to the planned scenarios, Close Air Support (CAS), Time Sensitive Targeting, Dynamic Targeting, Ground Based Air Interdiction, High Altitude Low Opening (HALO) Training and Casualty Evacuation (CASEVAC Evacuation), Combat Search And Rescue (CSAR), Personnel Rescue and Penetration tasks were executed within the scope of the military exercise. 

The Press and Distinguished Observer Day was held on 22 May 2019. Following the arrival of press members to the 3rd Main Jet Base, initially the air vehicles attending the Anatolian Phoenix 2019 Military Exercise that were displayed statically at the Alfa Ramp were introduced to the participants and photographs of the vehicles were taken. Afterwards, the airshow was performed with 6 aircraft of the Turkish Stars for training purposes was watched with 11 Distinguished Observers from 7 countries. Then the delegation moved onto the AKEM Main Briefing Hall and a briefing was held on Personnel Rescue – CSAR, HALO and Dynamic Targeting scenarios that the military exercise would realize at the Konya Fire Sector. Information was presented to press members, distinguished observers and participants. 

Following the briefing, participants moved onto the Konya Fire Sector. According to the planned scenario of the military exercise, a border post was attacked, and a decision was made to evacuate four military staff injured in the attack from the region. For a rapid deployment to the region, a Personnel Rescue Team arrived at the border post with a HALO jump and responded to the injured staff. As a result of the ongoing attack to the border post, Close Air Support (CAS) was demanded. Within this scope, the targets identified by the ANKA-S UAV were successfully destroyed with the GPS guided GBU-38 JDAM ammunition launched from two F-16C aircraft belonging to the 132nd Squadron Command. The four injured staff at the border post were evacuated with the Special Forces Command’s S-70A-17D, TRNC Security Forces’ AS532AL and Mi-17 Helicopter of the Azerbaijani Air Forces in line with the CASEVAC training scenario. Two T129B Mk-I ATAK Attack and Reconnaissance Helicopters provided Close Air Support to the evacuation of the injured staff with 20mm artillery shooting. After the evacuation, in accordance with the scenario, PR/CSAR Operations were launched in order to rescue a falling F-16 pilot. Within the scope of the operation, initially the PR Teams were deployed in the region with an AS532AL of the TRNC Security Forces and Romanian Air Forces’ two IAR330 SOCAT Helicopters. The teams first maintained the security of the region and then successfully accomplished the evacuation of the pilot. In order to ensure the safety of the PR Teams, two Mi-35M Attack Helicopters of the Azerbaijani Air Forces conducted flights over the region. During the evacuation, the hostile targets identified by the JTAC team positioned at the border post were attacked with the Mk-82 general purpose bombs with the F-16A/B aircraft of the Pakistani Air Force and the targets were destroyed successfully. At the end of the military exercise, the paratroopers jumping out of the Qatari C-130J Transport Aircraft opened the flags of the participant countries in the air. The event ended as all the air vehicles attending the exercise saluted the distinguished observers with a low altitude flight