Largest NATO Exercise since 2002 has kicked off in Italy

Exercise Trident Juncture 2015 kicked off at Trapani airbase, Italy.

On Oct. 19, Trapani airbase, Sicily, Italy, home of the 37° Stormo (Wing) of the Italian Air Force, hosted the opening ceremony of Exercise Trident Juncture 2015, the largest NATO exercise in more than 10 years.

Preziosa and DV

Speech

Running from Oct. 3 to Nov. 6 (with the live exercise taking place from Oct. 19 onwards) at 16 different locations, Trident Juncture 2015 is an advanced and much realistic exercise involving around 36,000 troops from more than 30 nations (27 NATO Allies plus partners), more than 230 units, more than 140 aircraft and more than 60 ships.

F-16s apron

The aim of TJ 2015 is to train the troops of the NATO Response Force (NRF) and other Allied forces, to increase their readiness to respond to a wide range of challenges. In other words, with the Russian military build-up at the eastern and southern flank of the alliance, its goal is to send a clear message to any potential aggressor: “The exercise will show that we can protect all our allies from any kind of threat,” said Gen. Philip Breedlove, NATO’s top commander in Europe.

Polish F-16s

The opening ceremony included an air power demo featuring Italian Air Force KC-767 tanker and Typhoon, Tornado and AMX combat planes, Spanish F-18s, Polish, Greek, American and Portuguese F-16s.

Media day

Many other assets, including a T-346A advanced jet trainer and a Predator drone were on static display.

AMX and T-346

The Italian Air Force has deployed several assets to Trapani (MOB – Main Operating Base) of the exercise and will take part in the drills, with 6 Eurofighter Typhoon, 7 Tornado (IDS and ECR) and 4 Amx ACOL jets; 4 more Typhoons will operate from their homebase at Grosseto while a Predator drone will perform ISR (Intelligence Surveillance Reconnaissance) missions from Amendola.

Tornado ECR

Also supporting TJ45 are a C130J and a C27J from Pisa, along with a KC-767 tanker from Pratica di Mare.

Image credit: NATO, The Aviationist’s photographers Alessandro Borsetti and Giovanni Maduli

 

About David Cenciotti 3665 Articles
David Cenciotti is a freelance journalist based in Rome, Italy. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviationist”, one of the world’s most famous and read military aviation blogs. Since 1996, he has written for major worldwide magazines, including Air Forces Monthly, Combat Aircraft, and many others, covering aviation, defense, war, industry, intelligence, crime and cyberwar. He has reported from the U.S., Europe, Australia and Syria, and flown several combat planes with different air forces. He is a former 2nd Lt. of the Italian Air Force, a private pilot and a graduate in Computer Engineering. He has written four books.