31st Fighter Wing Wraps up Astral Knight 24

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Zachary Jakel
  • 31st Fighter Wing Public Affairs

ŠIAULIAI AIR BASE, Lithuania -- The 31st Fighter Wing, along with other personnel from the U.S, Estonian, Latvian, Lithuanian, Polish and Royal Air Forces, implemented agile combat employment during Exercise Astral Knight 24 at Šiauliai Air Base, Lithuania; Campia Turzii, Romania; and Gdynia, Poland, May 6 - 18, 2024.


AK 24 is the U.S. European Command’s capstone integrated air and missile defense (IAMD) exercise focused on demonstrating joint and Allied IAMD for regional defense and showcases the ability to effectively command and control a US-led coalition in a pre-Article V IAMD fight in a multi-region conflict.
“At its core, exercise Astral Knight embodies our unwavering dedication to enhance movement, maneuverability and integration among our allies and partners - to advance these principles together,” said U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Rolf Tellefsen, 555th Fighter Squadron commander.
Using ACE concepts, combat assets demonstrated their ability to move from location to location, exploiting attack opportunities while keeping key assets out of harm’s way as much as possible.
“ACE allows us to practice distributed operations,” said U.S. Air Force Capt. Brandon Pape, 555th Fighter Squadron assistant director of operations. “In the event of a peer conflict and our air bases are attacked, we can move our assets to other airfields that are still operable and continue missions from there.”

This exercise is more than a display of our military prowess... It is a testament to the principle that we are stronger together.

Lt. Col. Rolf Tellefsen, 555th Fighter Squadron commander

The NATO Alliances and their partnerships is a key strategic advantage in providing global air power. By hosting nearly 5,000 allied personnel from six different countries and more than 50 aircraft, AK 24 demonstrated USAFE-AFAFRICA’s investment in advanced sensors, radars, and surveillance technologies, integrated with allied capabilities to develop a comprehensive and accurate common situational awareness picture. These technological and allied capabilities enable effective detection, tracking and identification of potentially hostile airborne and missile threats displayed at all levels of operations.
“This exercise is more than a display of our military prowess,” said Tellefsen. “It is a testament to the principle that we are stronger together. Our partnership, geared towards the defense of our shared values, is resilient and continually growing in its strength.”