Anadolu Kartali 2014/2

Exercise Anatolian Eagle

Konya, Turkey, 

June 2014



During the period of 9 untill 20 June 2014, the Turkish Air Force (THK, Turk Hava Kuvvetleri) Main Jet Base of Konya again reverberated to the noise of dozens of jet fighters, battling it out over the expansive exercise areas in the heart of Anatolia. As the exercise is conducted from this region of Turkey, its name Anatolian Eagle should not be a surprise. Exercises like this are well sought after by Air Forces to participate in and this year's second Anatolian Eagle was no exception. Apart from Turkey's NATO partners UK and Spain, regional partners Jordan and Qatar also took part. This meant Anatolian Eagle can be considered a bridge of some sorts between Western Europe's Air Forces and those from the Middle East. 

Observers from several other nations were present, these including Algeria, Australia, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Bosnia Herzegovina, Chile, Finland, Georgia, Greece, Republic of Korea, Kuwait, Macedonia and Romania.


Of course, the Turkish Air Force was present with F-16's from amost all filos flying the type to a total of nearly 40 aircraft. These included the newest Block 50+ jets with their conformal fuel tanks, but also Block 40 aircraft, veterans from the late 1980's.

Still going strong, particularly in the role as heavily armed interdictors were the F-4E 2020 Terminator version of the Phantom. Now in the twilight of its career with the THK, some of the jets could be seen armed with Rafael Popeye TV guided ground attack missiles, as shown with the plane at above right.

The Royal Jordanian Air Force sent in three of its F-16's obtained second hand from both the Royal Netherlands Air Force and the Belgian Air Component. The former Dutch F-16 can be seen at center, the other two are former Belgian aircraft. Two of the three were two seaters, presumably to make the most of the training experience.

The Qatar Emiri Air Force completed the Middle East line-up for Anatolian Eagle 2014/2 with four Mirage 2000 from 7 squadron. Three of those were Mirage 2000-5EDA with a single two seater Mirage 2000-5DDA shown above left. The French built jets perating in the air-toair role. 
Unlike Anatolian Eagle 2013/2, during which no NATO partners were present, the 2014/2 edition of the exercise brought Spain's Ejercito del Aire and Britain's Royal Air Force to Konya. The six Spanish Hornets were drawn from Torrejon's Ala 12 and included an EF-18B twin seater with tail markings.
The Spanish contingent also included six Eurofighter EF.2000's, thus bringing the total Spanish participation to no fewer than 12.
FurtherEurofighters were present in the shape of RAF Typhoons. Five Typhoons, of which four Typhoon FGR.4 and a single T.3 two seater came from No.11 sq as shown above left and No.3 squadron as at above vcenter and above right. 
The Turkish Air Force was also present in force with various support aircraft. This included a Boeing 737-7ES AEW&C Airborne Warning and Control aircraft which made its exercise debut with Anatolian Eagle 2014/3. Konya's SAR Flight AS.532UL Cougar was active as well in some scenarios. 
On the last Friday of Anatolian Eagle, transport aircraft could be seen arriving in order to ferry back to their respective home bases. A Turkish C-160D Transall as well as the brand new Airbus A.400M arrived that morning, as did a Qatar Emiri Air Force C-130J-30 Hercules.

Just how busy a training base Konya has become over the past years may be judged by the arrival the same day of several Turkish Army and Jandarma S.70 Black Hawk helicopters. These were to take part in a Combat Search and Rescue exercise due to start a few days later.

Thanks go to the Turkish Air Force and in particular to Major Hasan Saffet Çelikel, Commander Anatolian Eagle Training Center, Turkish Air Force.


All pictures (c) Hans Rolink