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Exercise Astral Knight 2021

Release Number: 010321

U.S. and Italian Air Forces aircraft consisting of F-35 Lightning IIs, F-16 Fighting Falcons, and a B-52 Stratofortress, fly in formation over the Adriatic Sea during Astral Knight 19, June 4, 2019. Astral Knight is an exercise taking place throughout various locations in Europe, involving over 900 Airmen and supports the collective defense and security of NATO allies and U.S. forces in Europe. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Joshua R. M. Dewberry)

U.S. and Italian Air Forces aircraft consisting of F-35 Lightning IIs, F-16 Fighting Falcons, and a B-52 Stratofortress, fly in formation over the Adriatic Sea during Astral Knight 19, June 4, 2019. Astral Knight is an exercise taking place throughout various locations in Europe, involving over 900 Airmen and supports the collective defense and security of NATO allies and U.S. forces in Europe. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Joshua R. M. Dewberry)

U.S. and Italian Air Forces aircraft consisting of F-35 Lightning IIs, F-16 Fighting Falcons, and a B-52 Stratofortress, fly in formation over the Adriatic Sea during Astral Knight 19, June 4, 2019. Astral Knight is an exercise taking place throughout various locations in Europe, involving over 900 Airmen and supports the collective defense and security of NATO allies and U.S. forces in Europe. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Joshua R. M. Dewberry)

U.S. and Italian Air Forces aircraft consisting of F-35 Lightning IIs, F-16 Fighting Falcons, and a B-52 Stratofortress, fly in formation over the Adriatic Sea during Astral Knight 19, June 4, 2019. Astral Knight is an exercise taking place throughout various locations in Europe, involving over 900 Airmen and supports the collective defense and security of NATO allies and U.S. forces in Europe. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Joshua R. M. Dewberry)


Astral Knight 2021, a U.S. Air Forces in Europe-Air Forces Africa-led exercise, will take place mid-May, at Aviano Air Base, Italy, as well as other locations in Croatia, Greece and Slovenia. 

Astral Knight 2021 is a joint, multinational exercise involving Airmen, Soldiers and Sailors from the United States working with service members from Albania, Croatia, Greece, Italy and Slovenia.

The integrated air and missile defense exercise will focus on defending key terrain. Scheduled training will involve a combination of flight operations and computer-assisted scenarios. 

Participating aircraft include the U.S. Air Force F-15E Strike Eagle, F-16 Fighting Falcon, HH-60 Pave Hawk and C-130J Super Hercules aircraft; Italian Air Force F-35 Lightning II aircraft; Hellenic Air Force F-16 Fighting Falcon and Emb-145 Erieye aircraft; and Croatian MiG-21 BisD/UMD aircraft. 

U.S. Army Europe and Africa plans to provide soldiers and equipment to operate the Patriot surface-to-air missile system. 

This exercise aims to enhance the command and control integration, coordination and interoperability of air, land and sea capabilities, and overlapping operations into the integrated air and missile defense enterprise. 

The information included in this release is subject to change with short notice due to the dynamic global COVID-19 situation. 

Media interested in covering the exercise must provide their intent to cover by April 9, 2021 to USAFE-AFAFRICA Public Affairs or Capt Patrick Gargan, by email at usafe.pax@ramstein.af.mil or patrick.gargan@us.af.mil in order to provide ample time for media accreditation. 

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For more specific information, contact U.S. Air Forces in Europe-Air Forces Africa Public Affairs at +49 06371-47-6558 or e-mail usafepao.pao@us.af.mil.