Monday, August 15, 2011

Safe Skies 2011

An Alabama F-16C taxis in front of Ukrainian SU-27s and MIG-29s, on the ramp at Mirgorod Air Base, Ukraine. This aircraft is the first Air National Guard fighter to ever land on Ukrainian soil in preparation for SAFE SKIES 2011, a joint Ukraine, Poland, U.S. aerial exchange event in Ukraine

More than 140 members of the Air National Guard landed aircraft in Ukraine, preparing for a U.S. European Command sponsored aerial military-to-military exchange event titled SAFE SKIES 2011.

A rainbow unit of Air National Guard airmen comprised of members from Alabama, California, Washington and Massachusetts flew into a base that until the July 15 had only seen use by Mig-29s and Su-27s. Following the advance teams of maintenance and support personnel, seven F-16Cs from Alabama and Iowa cut through the calm, blue Ukrainian sky. The F-16Cs were among the first American Fighter Jets to ever touchdown in this former soviet-bloc country.

These National Guard airmen are part of the State Partnership program which will play a major role in SAFE SKIES 2011, a joint U.S., Ukraine and Polish event where by the Air National Guard pilots will fly engagements with Ukrainian Su-27, Mig-29s and Polish F-16s on Air Sovereignty operations in preparation for the 2012 Olympics and 2012 EUROCup and 2014 Winter Games in Europe. This event is co-sponsored by U.S. European Command, with an overall goal of promoting and enhancing multinational cooperation in an effort to promote airspace security

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