To operate with the Qatar Emiri Air Force’s Dassault Rafales and Mirage 2000s, Boeing AH-64E Apaches, and an AW-139 helicopter are Fighting Falcons from the 121st Expeditionary Fighter Squadron (part of the 378th Air Expeditionary Wing at Prince Sultan Air Base, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia).
An air patrol and combat search and rescue exercise, known as Sky Shield III, has been conducted on a bi-annual basis since 2009. It was designed to enhance interoperability, validate USAF and QEAF tactics, and strengthen security cooperation efforts between US AFCENT (Air Forces Central) and the QEAF, as well as to practice and improve their ability to defend regional airspace. Sky Shield was developed to accomplish all of these goals.
They were able to achieve an aerial advantage in combat against a fictitious threat by commanding massive formations of US and QEAF planes throughout the exercise. By providing technical assistance and using Link-16 capabilities, the USAF assisted the QEAF in developing Joint Tactical Air Control TTPs (Tactical Techniques and Procedures). Qatari pilots were also able to train combat search and rescue techniques during the drill.
The 378th AEW was able to show its combat employment agility by relocating forces to a new location and promptly generating combat airpower for the USAF throughout the exercise. Lieutenant Colonel Christopher Wilson, the 121st Expeditionary Fighter Squadron’s commander, noted that taking part in activities like Sky Shield helps them to test their abilities to relocate fast and operate out of diverse areas. Our ability to quickly move forces, integrate with Qatari fighter operations