31st Fighter Wing Supports Astral Knight 24

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Synsere Howard
  • 31st Fighter Wing Public Affairs

Six U.S. Air Force F-16 Fighting Falcons assigned to the 31st Fighter Wing arrived in Câmpia Turzii, Romania in support of Exercise Astral Knight 24, May 10, 2024.

Astral Knight 24 serves as the pinnacle exercise of U.S. European Command's integrated air and missile defense, with a specific focus on gradually building a comprehensive Allied IAMD architecture across the theater. During this exercise, forces will showcase their joint and Allied IAMD capabilities for regional defense, as well as their effectiveness in commanding and controlling operations. Additionally, forces will test the deployment and sustainment of IAMD assets and capabilities, while also exercising area air defense plans.

“Talking about Aviano, this is absolutely a full team response,” said Maj. Wesley Reid, 555th Fighter Squadron, assistant director of operations. “Coming together in this expeditionary force structure is absolutely critical for us to develop the capabilities in the future so we have the combat credibility to provide effective deterrence.”

The ability of USEUCOM forces and equipment to seamlessly operate alongside Allies and partners is of utmost strategic importance, because it allows the U.S. to establish a robust network of alliances and partnerships that can effectively address the defense challenges of today and tomorrow.

“We’ve rapidly been able to generate solutions to challenges that have occurred,” said Reid. “We’re hoping to now turn those solutions into our tactics, techniques and procedures.”

AK24 enhances movement, maneuverability and integration between U.S. Allies and partners and showcases USAFE’s investment in advanced sensors, radars and surveillance technologies. This exercise serves as a testament to the commitment of the U.S. and its Allies to deter aggression, build interoperability and integrate with NATO forces.