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NATO allies train together in Portuguese exercise Real Thaw 18

Captain Matt Hancock,  the NATO E-3 Airborne Warning And Control System liaison officer,  discusses an upcoming mission with Spanish Air Force Captain Pablo Caballero,  an F-18 pilot assigned to the Spanish 462nd Squadron,  during Real Thaw 18 at Air Base Number 5 in Monte Real,  Portugal,  Feb. 5,  2018. Real Thaw 18 is a Portuguese exercise featuring aircraft and personnel from six NATO allies,  providing a unique opportunity to train and enhance interoperability. (NATO Photo by Sgt. 1st Class Alexander Burnett)
MONTE REAL, Portugal – NATO personnel and equipment participated in Portuguese Air Force led exercise Real Thaw 18 at Air Base No. 5 in Monte Real from Jan. 29 to Feb. 9, 2018.

The exercise was an opportunity for Allied troops to practice interoperability while evaluating and certifying the Portuguese Air Force in their operational capability in a joint multinational environment. This was the 10 iteration of Real Thaw and featured more than 1,500 personnel and 35 aircraft from Denmark, France, The Netherlands, Spain, the United States of America and the NATO E-3 Air Warning and Control System.

"This exercise is a perfect opportunity for us," said Royal Netherlands Land Forces Major Ger Snelders, a ground liaison officer. "We can practice our English, other languages and integrate into an international military team."

The scenario and training replicated a realistic environment in order to include air, sea and land operations. The mission sets exercise included air defence, convoy protection in humanitarian missions, close air support to ground forces and special operations, extraction operations of military and civilian elements, simulated cargo and paratroopers drop operations, combat Search and Rescue, aeromedical evacuations, civil - military cooperation, conventional guided and high accuracy ordinance attacks and conventional attacks on maritime forces.

"Exercising with our NATO allies is crucial to the alliance," said U.S. Air Force Captain Matt Hancock, the NATO AWACS liaison to Real Thaw 18. "These are the men and women we will be fighting beside if a future conflict arises. We need to be postured and capable to meet any threat."

Story by SHAPE Public Affairs Office

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