Baltic operations exercise integrates USAFE with Arctic fighters

A U.S. Navy F/A-18 Superhornet aircraft soars above the Baltic Sea Region while participating in BALTOPS-22, June 9, 2022. BALTOPS-22 strengthens the capabilities of NATO and partner nation maritime forces to ensure the stability and prosperity around the world. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Nicholas Swift)

U.S. Air Forces in Europe – Air Forces Africa Public Affairs


U.S. Air Force KC-135 Stratotanker aircraft integrated with Swedish, Finnish, German, and U.S. Navy fighters, June 9, during U.S. Naval Forces Europe’s exercise Baltic Operations 2022 over the Baltic Sea region. 

Exercise Baltic Operations 2022, referred to as BALTOPS, is U.S. European Command’s premier maritime-focused annual exercise in the Baltic Region taking place from June 5-17. The exercise provides a unique training opportunity to strengthen the combined response capability critical to preserving the freedom of navigation and security in the Baltic Sea. This is the 51st iteration of the exercise series that began in 1972.

U.S. Air Forces in Europe – Air Forces Africa provides aerial support in various capacities throughout the exercise, which included aerial refueling capabilities during Thursday’s mission. 

U.S. Air Force KC-135 aerial refueling platforms from Royal Air Force Mildenhall’s 100th Air Refueling Wing provided tanker support to Finnish F-18 Hornets, Swedish JAS-39 Gripens, German Eurofighter Typhoons, and U.S. Navy F/A-18 Hornets. 

The KC-135’s unique capability to refuel both probe and drogue aircraft allows the U.S. to integrate with a variety of coalition partners. The aerial refueling function extends the range and reach of aircraft, giving them the opportunity to fly longer, faster and further to meet mission and training objectives. 

USAFE-AFAFRICA aircraft routinely operate in the Baltic Sea region to assure NATO Allies and partners of our shared commitment to regional peace and security. 

A German Air Force Eurofighter Typhoon attaches to the Multi-Point Refueling System of a KC-135 Stratotanker aircraft, assigned to Royal Air Force Mildenhall, England, over the Baltic Sea Region during BALTOPS-22, June 9, 2022. BALTOPS is an annual NATO exercise that ensures interoperability with allies and partners to conduct full spectrum military maritime operations to respond to threats anywhere in the world. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Nicholas Swift)