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​US, German, and Royal Air Force rescue forces exit a German air force CH-53GS at the Playas Training and Research Center, N.M., for an Angel Thunder 2015 on June 9, 2015. US Air Force photo by SSgt. Angela Ruiz.

​The Air Force is revamping its main search and rescue exercise, by holding the event two times per year instead of once and reducing the size of the individual events. Angel Thunder, last held in 2015, began in 2006 as Air Combat Command identified a need for an exercise focused on combat search and rescue. Air Force officials told the Associated Press that the exercise is now planned to take place in May and November this year, with about 30 aircraft and up to 1,000 airmen expected to take part. In 2013, the exercise included almost 3,000 participants including partner nation forces. The exercise is headquartered at Davis-Monthan AFB, Ariz., and will use established airfields along with unimproved areas for helicopter landings and drop zones throughout the southwest. About 800 flights are expected to take off from Davis-Monthan, the AP reported. Angel Thunder is the Air Force’s “largest and most realistic joint service, multinational, interagency combat search and rescue exercise” focused on simulating deployment conditions, according to the Air Force.


See also: Angel Thunder from the June 2013 issue of Air Force Magazine.