Two Way Interoperability Lessons

Airmen deployed to Europe are getting a great deal of exposure to the equipment, tactics, and infrastructure of some of NATO’s newest allies in the East. “They train a bit differently, and that’s why it’s important for us to go there,” said Lt. Col. Bradley Brandt, the chief of USAFE-AFAFRICA’s operations and training branch, in a recent interview with Air Force Magazine at Ramstein AB, Germany. In Bulgaria, for example, the Bulgarian air force still flies MiG-29 Fulcrums with Warsaw Pact-era navigation aids, and USAF airmen get to learn how these systems work. On the other hand, Bulgarian airmen recently got to see how USAF fighter crews debrief exercises with P5 pods, which record mission data and positioning information during air combat training and support ?simulated weapons employment and “kill” notifications. Some allies are modernizing with newer equipment, and USAF deployments are helping familiarize partners with new systems. Romania, which is buying older F-16s from Portugal, will host the Alabama Air Guard this fall at Campia Turzii, Brandt said, to help showcase the features of the jet. Alabama is the state partner of Romania in the Guard’s State Partnership Program.