Is the UK in Danger? F-35A/B Jets Called for ‘Atlantic Trident 23’ Drill

French have been called upon to partake in the “Atlantic Trident 23” exercise alongside F-35A/B aircraft in the UK. This intriguing development has kicked off on October 31, 2023, under the capable supervision of the Royal Air Force (RAF) and the US Air Force.

US and UK Involvement

The States have committed to sending F-15E Strike Eagle and KC-135 Stratotankers. From the British side, F-35B aircraft will be catapulted from the commanding aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth. Other units participating include Eurofighter Typhoon and A330 MRTT “Voyager”.

French Participation

In response, the French Air and Space Force is dispatching four Rafale aircraft from Squadron 3/30 Lorraine. The French forces will also be complemented by an A330 MRTT “Phoenix” refueling aircraft, and an E-3F AWACS from the 36th Airborne Detection and Control Squadron.

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Key Focus of the Exercise

The focus of the exercise is on “operations in contested environments” under a “high-intensity ” scenario. The drill will put to the test the planning, executing, and debriefing of complex missions integrating air-to-air and surface-to-air threats, and tactical data link implementation.

NATO Standards and COMAO

The procedures employed in the exercise are grounded on standards, with an aim to boost mutual understanding and interoperability amidst participating nations. A noteworthy aspect of the exercise is the involvement of COMAO (COMposite Air Operation) exercises to measure participants' air attack and proficiencies.

‘Atlantic Trident’ Background

The “Atlantic Trident” exercises have taken place regularly since 2015. They form part of the Trilateral Strategic Initiative (TSI), initiated in 2010 between France, the UK, and the US.

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