5th Combat Training Squadron Conducts SPARTAN WARRIOR 23-1 Exercise

By Captain Jered Trujillo / Published March 3, 2023

The United States Air Forces in Europe Air Forces Africa Warfare Center hosted the SPARTAN WARRIOR 23-1 exercise from February 27 to March 2, 2023 at Einsiedlerhof Air Station in Germany.

The 5th Combat Training Squadron hosted 116 personnel on campus--a record number of participants--from NATO partners for USAFE-AFAFRICA’s premier synthetic/simulated multilateral exercise.

Twelve NATO nations and 250 participants took part in advanced integration of rehearsals for large-scale combat operations on the Eastern flank; where they received local and distributed training, and an additional 50 observers oversaw execution.

NATO operators and decision makers practiced kill-chain mechanics through planning, briefing, and executing tactical command and control, integrated air and missile defense, unmanned aerial vehicle, and intelligence surveillance reconnaissance mission sets during the four-day event.

For the last two years, SPARTAN WARRIOR has been a testament to USAFE’s commitment to coalition interoperability and a resounding response to recent Russian aggression in operations.

SPARTAN WARRIOR 23-1 included first time participants from Greece and Belgium, as both countries provided F-16 expertise during execution.

The exercise also included F-35 audiences from Belgium, Italy, and Norway utilizing the UAWC’s F-35 Effects Based Simulator (EBS) locally to coordinate air-land-sea interoperability tactics, techniques, and procedure development specific to the theater and emerging threats.

Furthermore, Norwegian maritime vessels also took part in missile defense interoperability posturing exercises through various roles. The diversity and success in coalition partner participation and blend of integration marks a key milestone for grey-zone competition and a decisive advantage for USAFE-AFAFRICA and NATO.

“The 5 CTS offers a unique, warfighter-focused, multi-domain, venue to practice competing against dense and diverse threat environments we will likely see in the opening phases of modern conflict,” said Lt Col Lee Stanford, commander, 5th Combat Training Squadron. “Our objective is to create as many opportunities as we can for our US forces in theater and European coalition partners to train together, which are usually hard to come by, while still maintaining tactically relevant and realistic environments.”