The Air Force trains in Alaska, Australia and India

The Air Force trains in Alaska, Australia and India

The exercise, in coordination with Germany and France, is not a message to Russia, but the Air Force believes it will take note

June 16 () –

The Air and Space Army begins a deployment on June 26 that will take it, in collaboration with Germany and France, to Alaska, Australia and India and with which they intend to project the capabilities of their air forces and train in the event of an operation. real. Those responsible describe the exercise as a “challenge”, logistical and maintenance, but believe that it will be a “milestone” for an Air Force that, they say, has already entered the 21st century.

The idea came from the German Luftwaffe and the Air Force emphasizes that the exercise, baptized ‘Pacific Skies’, has been proposed as a collaboration between allies, but it is not carried out under the umbrella of the European Union (EU). and not from NATO. In total, 28 combat aircraft and 16 tanker and transport aircraft, all developed by the European defense industry, will demonstrate the partners’ logistical capabilities for almost two months in three different scenarios: polar (Alaska), desert (Australia ) and tropical (India).

Spain participates with four Eurofighters, one A330 and two A440M and deploys 240 of the most expert aviators of the Air Force in two rotations of 120, who will be supported from Spain. Colonel of the Air and Space Army Rafael Hernández Maurín, head of the project, highlights that it has been a “challenge” to agree on so many logistical aspects with Germany and France, especially in the areas of maintenance and refueling of aircraft, but the agreements achieved and collaboration will improve efficiency and interoperability between allied air forces.

The deployment begins with a flight to Alaska via Canada, where an exercise called ‘Artic Defender’ will be carried out, in which “very cutting-edge” aircraft from the United States will participate and there will be live air-to-ground fire, according to Colonel Maurín. The planes will then head to Australia, stopping in Japan, to participate in exercise ‘Pitch Black’. Along with 16 countries, it will be the first time that the Spaniards interact with crews from Japan and South Korea.

Afterwards, an A330 from the 45th Group will relieve part of the contingent with personnel from Spain, which for the Air Force constitutes a demonstration of its strategic deployment capacity. The planes will then fly to India with a stopover in Malaysia for the ‘Tarang Shakti’ exercise, which will involve Russian and Indian fighters. Finally, the deployment will conclude at the end of August at the Morón Air Base (Seville), after flying over the Middle East and the Mediterranean Sea, thus completing a trip around the world.

In fact, the head of the Air Command, Lieutenant General Francisco González-Espresati, who emphasizes the “demand” that the ‘Pacific Skies’ will require, compares the exercise with the great pioneering flights of the 20th century, especially with the feat of the Plus Ultra , the seaplane of the Spanish Military Aeronautics that made a flight between Spain and Argentina for the first time in 1926. Precisely, the Air Force has had a wink and has baptized the air group that will participate in the exercise as Plus Ultra.


All to project the air power of the three nations in the Indo-Pacific area, where Spain has shared geopolitical interests with Germany and France, train the crews and demonstrate that our country is capable of planning a deployment of these characteristics in case of real operation. Another objective, González-Espresati details, is to promote the national and European defense industry.

According to the lieutenant general, military strategy has changed a lot in recent years. Before, he explains, the Armed Forces were dedicated to the mere defense of the territory, but now they are an instrument of the State’s foreign action. For this reason, he focuses on the importance of the projection capacity of the air force, which will result in the Air Force being able to “get quickly and efficiently” anywhere. “This is what ‘Pacific Skies’ is all about,” he summarizes in the media presentation of the exercise, at the Torrejón Base.

The war in Ukraine forces us to look towards Russia, but Lieutenant General González-Espresati denies that the recipient of the message about the projection capacity of the air forces is Moscow “specifically” and they have a broader view.

“(What we want to show is that) The foreign action of the State by the military instrument can be projected wherever we are needed, it could have been in any other area of ​​the globe, but when a force of this entity deploys to any area , anyone can see a message about the capacity they have,” he says. He equates it to deployment in the Baltics, which operate to foster deterrence.


But the most critical section that the deployed aircraft will fly over is between Alaska and Japan. They will use commercial civil aviation routes, but they will approach Russian airspace, although they will not enter its sovereignty. For this reason, and although they are not trying to send any message to Russia, the Air and Space Army believes that it will take good note.

“We are almost sure that the Russians can take out a plane to see what happens and it is contemplated that they will approach and take photos, but the message is that we are going to do an exercise with allied countries in the Indo-Pacific area,” says González. -Espresati.

The Air and Space Army is already looking to the future and hopes to continue participating in these activities. They recognize that such a “large” effort does not allow it to be done every year, but they set a date and are committed to making a display of these characteristics “every two or three years.”

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