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ILA: German air force details success during Red Flag exercise

Germany's historic deployment of eight Eurofighter combat aircraft to Alaska earlier this year achieved its key objective of proving the Luftwaffe's ability to participate in a complex multinational air-to-air operation alongside its allies, the service says.

"We can do that job. We are NATO Response Force-ready," says Lt Col Marc Grüne, the German air force's project officer for the Red Flag Alaska deployment to Eielson AFB.

The one-month commitment - which involved about 150 Luftwaffe personnel and also included a pre-exercise opportunity to fly with US Air Force Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptors - resulted in 10 pilots from Germany's Neuburg-based Fighter Wing 74 securing combat-ready status.

German aircraft were involved in a two-week exercise which also involved fighters and other assets from Australia, Japan, Poland and the USAF, including the latter's aggressor force.

US Air Force 

US Air Force

In one German-commanded defensive counter-air mission, the friendly force delivered a record Red Flag Alaska score of 38:1, Grüne says. Four Eurofighters are believed to have accounted for 16 of these "kills" from 18 simulated missile shots, with F-22s responsible for an undisclosed number more.

The Luftwaffe's Eurofighters flew 208 of a planned 212 sorties. "That was a dream for the air force," Grüne says, describing the type as "a very powerful and capable airplane". German aircraft could return to Alaska to participate in a Red Flag exercise in 2014, he adds.

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