Eagles return to Konya

One of Europe’s largest air exercises took place in June after a two-year hiatus. Anatolian Eagle 2019 involved participation from Italy, Jordan, Pakistan, Qatar, the US and NATO with Azerbaijan joining the manoeuvres as an observer country. Onur Kurç and Tayfun Yaşar report from Konya.

Among a strong Turkish Phantom contingent was this specially marked F-4E-2020, clutching a Pave Spike electro-optical laser designator pod under the forward fuselage. Serial 77-0296 was adorned with special tail art to mark 60 years of the F-4 last year.
The fl agship of the 494th Fighter Squadron ‘Panthers’, F-15E 91-0314 ‘LN/494 FS’ taxies at Konya with an ACMI pod under the starboard wing. This was one of six Lakenheath Strike Eagles involved in the manoeuvres.
JF-17 Block I serial 13-144 wearing the phoenix markings of the Pakistan Air Force’s 28 Squadron. This unit serves at PAF Base Quetta, where it’s part of Southern Air Command’s 31 (Fighter) Wing. All photos Cem Doğut and Özkan Üner unless stated

International participation in Anatolian Eagle was suspended after the dramatic reorganisation of the Türk Hava Kuvvetleri (THK, Turkish Air Force) following a coup attempt in the country on July 15, 2016. Since then it has only been a national exercise, featuring THK squadrons. However, a multinational Anatolian Eagle was run again from June 17-28 this year, hosted as previously by the 3’ncü Ana Jet Üs Komutanlığı (3rd Main Jet Base Command) at Konya air base. More than 600 Turkish (air force and navy) plus 450 international personnel took part.

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