U.S. Air Force F-16C Fighting Falcon aircraft from the 31st Fighter Wing and KC-135 Stratotanker aircraft from the 100th Air Refueling Wing flew alongside Moroccan F-16s during African Lion 2021, demonstrating partnership and capability to execute combined operations.
“The arrival of fighters and tankers adds another level to this already dynamic exercise,” said Gen. Jeff Harrigian, U.S. Air Forces in Europe-Air Forces Africa commander. “Every flight brings another opportunity to work closely with our partners and exchange best practices so we can better pursue our shared goals.”
Following the refueling missions F-16Cs conducted an Agile Combat Employment (ACE) event in Guelmim, Morocco. Pilots, enabled by Moroccan logistics and sustainment teams, flew the aircraft through a close air support training range before flying to Guelmim Airfield to practice the delivery of weapons and air support, delivering seven 500lb laser-guided weapons.
“The teams down at African Lion are taking ACE to the next level by executing it in Africa for the first time,” said Harrigian. “Demonstrating these capabilities in new austere locations solidifies our unmatched ability to rapidly deploy combat-credible forces to any location.”
African Lion 2021 is U.S. Africa Command's largest, premier, joint, annual exercise hosted by Morocco, Tunisia and Senegal, June 7-18. More than 7,000 participants from nine nations and NATO train together with a focus on enhancing readiness for U.S. and partner nation forces. AL21 is a multi-domain, multi-component, and multi-national exercise, which employs a full array of mission capabilities with the goal of strengthening interoperability among participants.