Airmen and more than 140 aircraft from 19 allied and partner nations are training together in Europe this month as part of Trident Juncture, the largest NATO military exercise in a decade. Air assets based in Italy, Portugal, and Spain will train together daily, collecting intelligence, doing surveillance, performing reconnaissance, and practicing air-to-air refueling, according to a NATO fact sheet. The exercise includes 37 nations and more than 36,000 troops on the ground, in the air, and at sea, and tests NATO’s ability to deal with any emerging crisis. These types of exercises are crucial, said 2nd Lt. Cody Nelson, the Trident Juncture maintenance operations center officer in charge for the United States, in a release. “Our reason for being here can’t be understated, because of the variability of who we’ll have to work with in terms of allied partners,” he said. “This gives us the opportunity to learn faces, learn names, and talk cross-organization about how to improve and work better together.” The exercise ends Nov. 6. (See also Testing Readiness at Trident Juncture and NATO’s “High Intensity” Test.)
Boeing’s receipt of the 10th lot contract award for the KC-46 Pegasus this week leaves just three lots left to complete the Air Force’s buy of the tanker, although a further buy of 75 additional aircraft as a “bridge” to the Next-Generation Aerial-refueling System (NGAS) seems increasingly likely.