UK Air Chief Marshal Andy Pulford, seated next to USAF Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Welsh and French Air Force Chief of Staff Andre Lanata, speaks to reporters Dec. 15 at JB Langley-Eustis, Va. The officials are at Langley for a trilateral exercise. Photo by Brian Everstine.
JB Langley-Eustis, Va.—Pilots from the US, UK, and France have seen some of their high-level skills atrophy as allied aircraft have been operating in a counterinsurgency environment in the past 10 years, rather than being focused on anti-access, area-denial threats, the leaders of the three countries’ air forces told reporters during a trilateral exercise. The event, which has US F-22s, Eurofighter Typhoons, and Dassault Rafales flying missions together, is a “fantastic opportunity to get back into high-end” training, said Royal Air Force Chief of Staff Air Chief Marshal Sir Andrew Pulford. The countries need to prepare for future threats, USAF Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Welsh said. Currently, there are 10 countries with integrated air defenses that pose a threat to possible air operations. In 10 years, that number will be about 25. Allied forces need to be able to “dismantle and suppress” defenses before “we can operate fully,” Welsh said.
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