Service members from the 10th Army Air and Missile Defense Command, U.S. Air Forces in Europe and U.S Air Forces Africa, along with five other NATO countries, conducted Astral Knight 20, a joint multinational air defense exercise, on Sept. 12-24, near Szymany, Poland. Astral Knight 20 is designed to enhance interoperability among NATO allies and partners to increase readiness through the integration of land component air and missile defense capabilities.
Astral Knight 20 took place in various locations across Europe: Air defense forces and the Air Operations Center were located in Poland, while aerial and mission command elements simultaneously operated from Italy and Germany. Service members from Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Sweden, and the United States were involved with Astral Knight 20.
“The purpose of this exercise is establishing datalink architecture and utilizing different systems to understand our capacity and capability,” said Brig. Gen. Gregory Brady, Commander of the 10th AAMDC, during a Brussels Media Hub engagement. “When you build these different systems together, you can have four or five different physical languages, different mission command elements, different interceptors, but your goal is to establish one single integrated air picture to understand early warning, and building upon that situational awareness from a command and control perspective.”
The exercise combined both aerial and ground assets to form a combined air picture. Aerial assets incorporated a variety of U.S. Air Force and Polish Air Force aircraft, including elements of a theatre bomber task force. Ground assets included air defense assets such as the 10th AAMDC’s Patriot missile systems and Poland’s 3rd Air Defense Brigade’s SA-3D ground-based missile system…
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