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Anatolian Eagle 16-2

The exercise Anatolian Eagle is held four times each year. Each exercise has a dedicated goal and the second one usually involves participation from other countries as well. In any case, the Turkish Air Force always participates in numbers. Aviagraphers reports on the 2016-2 edition.

Aviation enthusiasts and photographers have rumoured the demise of the F-4E-2020 Terminator many times, but the fact is that they remain in the inventory and therefore also participate in Anatolian Eagle.

Turkey is one of the largest operators of the F-16, using block 30, block 40, block 50, and block 50+ versions of the type. Local agressor unit 132 Filo provides the enemy opposition during the Anatolian Eagle training exercise; one of their F-16C-50 is seen here.

Battlefield situational awareness is greatly enhanced by using a flying radar-post like this Boeing 737 Airborne Early Warning and Control (AEW&C) aircraft operated by local 131 Filo. It can provide real time battlefield overview, relay vectors and target priority. This is considered a very priced asset, so apart from using it to good effect; training to protect it, is part of the exercise as well.

Also based at Konya, with 135 Filo, are AS532 Cougars. They are tasked with Combat Search and Rescue. During the exercise they often fly to the nearby ranges for gunnery practice at a mock airfield to train their skills in clearing an extraction point.


Used as station hacks and to support the AS532's CSAR missions are UH-1H Hueys.

Countries with friendly ties to Turkey are often participating. One of the regular attendees is the Pakistan Air Force. They use legacy F-16A/B aircraft and Turkey is an ideal location for them to conduct exercises with other air forces.

Italy sent a sizeable contingent of Panavia 200s to Konya. The Aeronautica Militare is a keen participant of many exercises, besides their own exercises at Decimomannu Air Weapons Training Installation, they also sent aircraft to Red Flag 2016-2 earlier this year.

Overview of just one row of the visitor's ramp. Visible are Pakistani F-16sbehind an impressive line-up of Saudi Tornadoes. Saudi Arabia is also a long time participant to Anatolian Eagle, bringing their prime assets like the F-15 and Tornado.

All these aircraft need support to keep them in the air. Near the visitor's ramp, a small 'village' is errected and crew chiefs and flight line maintainers are busy to achieve the required turn around times. They bring a lot of support equipment and therefore at the start and end of the exercise, transports drop in at regular intervals. The Italians use the C-27J, and the Pakis the C-130.

The Turks themselves support the exercise with a detachment of CN235s and visiting C-130s but also one of their brand new A400 made a welcome visit.

The mighty F-16D-50+ roars away from Konya's runway; its dorsal spine is in evidence here. It houses some avionics but also extra fuel to further enhance its useful range.

Not long after the exercise, some internal turmoil occurred in Turkey in which parts of the Air Force are said to have played a role. So at this point in time, Anatolian Eagle will not be held in the same manner in 2017. It is slated to return in 2018 though. All we can say is that we enjoyed both the hospitality and professionalism of the Turkish hosts over the years.