Two US Air Force F-16 Fighting Falcons assigned to the 31st Fighter Wing from Aviano Air Base, Italy, conducted bilateral air-to-ground training with joint terminal attack controllers from U.S. Special Operations Command Europe and Armed Forces of Bosnia and Herzegovina JTACs near Tuzla, Bosnia and Herzegovina, on Jan. 8, 2024.
This bilateral training is an example of advanced military-to-military cooperation that contributes to peace and security in the Western Balkans and throughout Europe. “Joint military events like this are a demonstration of the United States’ enduring partnership with the Armed Forces of Bosnia and Herzegovina,” said U.S. Air Force Lt. Gen. Steven L. Basham, deputy commander, U.S. European Command.
“American support for Bosnia and Herzegovina’s Armed Forces is ironclad, forged over years of close cooperation. For twenty years, the Armed Forces of our two countries have maintained an outstanding and robust military-to-military relationship,” added Basham. “The United States continues to provide assistance that will help their armed forces modernize and become a security contributor both regionally and globally.”
The US Air Force F-16 training was part of routine efforts by U.S. forces to exchange tactics, techniques and procedures with partner nation forces. The mission was supported by a KC-135 Stratotanker from the 100th Air Refueling Wing, based at RAF Mildenhall, U.K., which provided aerial refueling for the F-16s and contributed to meeting all training objectives.
The U.S. Department of Defense and the Armed Forces of Bosnia and Herzegovina share a common goal in contributing to continued stability in the region and are natural partners in their overall commitment to global security.
The 31st Fighter Wing is the only US fighter wing south of the Alps and is therefore of critical importance to NATO operations in the European theater. In recent decades it has played a key role in several operations in the Balkans, Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya. The Wing currently has two operational fighter squadrons with multirole air and ground capabilities: the 510th Fighter Squadron “Buzzards” and the 555th Fighter Squadron “Triple Nickel”, both equipped with F-16C/D Block 40s.