Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Jet arrival marks start of Golden Lance

CAMPIA TURZII AIR BASE, Romania (AFNS) -- A fleet of 10 F-15 Eagles from the 493rd Fighter Squadron at Royal Air Force Lakenheath, England, arrived here Oct. 21 for the start of Operation Golden Lance.

The objective of the exercise is to build partnership capabilities by conducting joint air-to-air combat training operations with members of the Romanian air force.

"We're excited to bring our F-15C capability to demonstrate our air superiority skills, train with a formidable NATO ally and integrate our services on offensive counter-aircraft training missions," said Lt. Col. Skip Pribyl, the 493rd FS commander.

The exercise also provides the opportunity for pilots of the two air forces to compare each other's aircraft, said Golden Lance project officer Capt. Scott Snider.

"They gave us a very thorough briefing (on the MiG-21), allowing us to get a feel for their aircraft and what sort of endurance it has, which is important for us when planning training operations," Captain Snider said.

While this is the first time Airman with the 493rd FS have conducted training with Romanian pilots, Colonel Pribyl said they already share a common link. In the past, Romanian air force units from this base have performed the Baltic Air Police mission the 493rd FS is currently performing elsewhere in the world.

"We already have a close partnership because we share similar mission sets," Colonel Pribyl said.

Romanian air force Captain Commander Laurentiu Chirita, the director of flying operations for the 71st Air Base at Campia Turzii, was detachment commander of the Romanian unit during their execution of the Baltic Air Police mission and welcomes the chance to continue the close working relationship between the Romanian and U.S. air forces.

"By working with the USAFE units, we can improve our procedures as NATO members for pilots and maintenance personnel," he said.