Exercise Saber Strike is stretching the limits of Spangdahlem AB

In March 2007 the 52nd Fighter Wing at Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany, took part in Combat Search And Rescue exercise Saber Strike 2007. Recce Reporter Henk de Ridder joined in on 15 March and saw each squadron flying from 11:00 untill 17:00 hours with 12 aircraft. First the 22nd and 23rd Fighter Squadrons lauched their F-16C/D’s and short time later the 81st FS took it’s A-10’s into the sky.

Combat search and rescue operations are carried out during a war near or within the actual combat zone. These missions are often carried out by a combined force of different types of aircraft. Helicopters to pull the soldiers out, ground-attack aircraft to protect them, aerial refueling tankers to keep the fighters constantly in the air and an airborne command post to direct the mission.

During Saber Strike 2007 hot refuelling was also a major training goal. To get airborne again after a mission as soon as possible aircraft are refuelled, with their engines still running. During the exercise two UH-60’s choppers were present from RAF Lakenheath, U.K., one still in the markings of it’s assignment to the US forces at Iceland.