British F-35B jets have been exercising with French, Greek and Swiss jets in the Bay of Biscay during Exercise ‘Ocean Hit’.
The RAF say here that four Royal Air Force Lightning F-35B aircraft from 617 Squadron have been conducting air combat training with NATO and European partners in the Bay of Biscay. A Voyager tanker also supported the exercise.
“The exercise, known as OCEAN HIT, was conducted with Greek F-16s; Swiss F-18s; French Rafale and Mirage 2000s. In total, there were 20 combat aircraft participating, demonstrating the RAF’s ability to integrate with a wide variety of partner nations.
In the scenario, the aircraft were assigned various combat roles. The UK Lightning F-35B’s conducted simulated air attacks, whilst partner aircraft suppressed the ‘enemy’ air defence systems. Within the scenario, these simulated attacks were opposed by aircraft who defended the airspace and airfields.”
Executive Officer 617 Squadron was quoted as saying:
“This has been a demanding but extremely productive exercise, where the Lightning F-35B’s have again demonstrated their potency. Working with NATO and European partners in a realistic combat scenario provides an opportunity to integrate complimentary capabilities and learn from each other. In particular, we have learnt some valuable lessons regarding fast jet air to air integration with partner nations.”
The RAF added:
“Following the exercise, all participants exchanged feedback on their respective missions to further develop a shared understanding. These regular exercises are designed to ensure that NATO and partner nations are fully prepared to respond collectively to any threats.”