Gando, Gran Canaria, 10 February 2015
From 1 till 13 February 2015, Base Aereo Gando, the military part of the airport of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria and part of the Canary Islands, played host to the Spanish Air Force's DACT 2015 exercise. DACT stands for Dissimilar Air Combat Training and aimes to train fighter pilots in the art of air combat with aircraft types different than their own. The Spanish Air Force today operates two types of aircraft, the Boeing F-18 Hornet and the Eurofighter EF.2000. Both types took part in this year's exercise.
Hornets were supplied by both mainland Spain based units, Ala 12 from Torrejon and Ala 15 from Zaragoza. EF.2000's came from both Ala 11 at Moron de la Frontera as well as from newly formed Ala 14 from Albacete. Of course, Gando's own Hornets from Escuadron 462 from Ala 46 also took part. This year's exercise played from both Gando as well as form Arrecife Airport at the island of Lanzarote. With Gando housing all the Hornets and EF.2000's, Arrecife played host to Grupo 74's CASA C.101 Aviojet trainers which acted as aggressors, six of the deploying from their home base of Matacan. Seen at both islands was a pair of Lockheed KC-130H Hercules tankers which enabled Hornet and EF.2000 missions lasting up to two hours in duration.
Other important support types were a pair of CASA C.295-100MPA Persuader search abd rescue patrol aircraft as well as a Boeing E-3A Sentry from NATO's Geilenkirchen, Germany based AWACS unit.
Missing this year were the Spanish Navy's Boeing AV-8B Harrier fighter bombers.
The exercise, which has been organised on an almost annual basis since 2004, has become one of the most important in the Spanish Air Force. The choice of Gando on the remote Canary Islands is a logical one, given the remoteness of the islands in the Atlantic Ocean.
Below a selection can be seen of the aircraft taking part in DACT 2015.
Thanks go to the Spanish Air Force as well as to Alejandro Afonso.
All pictures (c) Hans Rolink