Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Turkish Air Force Surprise Mobilisation Exercise

DefenceNet reports that the Turkish Air Force conducted a large scale mobilisation of its Air Force last week in a surprise move. This mobilisation, which happened Wednesday the 18th and Thursday the 19th of November involved 80% of Turkish air bases and two thirds of the inventory’s fighter aircraft. SEAD mission exercises were carried out from Merzifon airbase.

All the above happened completely without notice. On Wednesday between 09:30 and 10:00 the Turkish Civil Aviation Authority issued two NOTAMs with regards to air displays.

The “air displays” started just two hours after the NOTAMs were issued and all air bases between Eskisehir and Dalaman were involved. The NOTAMs had durations of just two hours and one of them was for an area that on its west side coincided with the Athens FIR.

The Wednesday activity took place in the area between Thrace, Imvros (Gokceada), Limnos, Mitilini and Eskisehir, which covers the northern axis of operations. The airbases of Bandirma, Balikeshir and Eskisehir were put on a sudden state of red alert. These bases include the 1st, 6th and 9th combat wings (AJU). This was a large exercise over a large area involving the backbone of the Turkish Air Force and was presented officially as an air display.

On Thursday more NOTAMs were issued between 08:30 and 09:00 in the morning covering large areas for the purpose of air exercises and air refuelling. The first NOTAM covered the entire Turkish territory and units from Merzifon, Akinci and Erhac participated.

One point of interest was the fact that aircraft from 151 Squadron (Filo) which operates out of Merzifon headed west and were refuelled in the air by tankers while loaded with AGM-88B HARM missiles. This was a sudden SEAD exercise.

At the same time a Combat Search And Rescue exercise took place in the west of Turkey.

The types of exercises that took place included SEAD, air superiority and CSAR. In other words, exercises in the type of operations that would be needed for the Turkish Air Force to mount a surprise attack.

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