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
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.