Air Force exercise Lion Effort gets underway
Air Force exercise Lion Effort has gotten underway in the Czech Republic. Over the next fortnight, some 500 personnel including pilots, ground crews and air defence from four different countries, will cooperate on numerous training missions.
“The ultimate purpose of the exercise is not just operations in the air, because at the end of the day we know how to conduct those, but to focus on logistics on the ground.”
“We have two different squadrons from two different airbases so it is also about interaction within the Swedish Air Force itself.”
Taking part in the military exercise in the role of “aggressors” from abroad will be German Typhoon Eurofighters and Polish F-16s, taking off from their respective airbases. Thailand, which like the Czech Republic and Hungary flies Gripens, is also taking part but in an observer role only.
Slovakia, meanwhile, will also be paying attention, as it is considering leasing up to eight Gripen fighter jets to replace its aging Russian MiGs. A decision in the affirmative would be welcomed by the Czechs for logistical reasons and greater cooperation. If Slovakia signs on, three of the four Visegrad countries will be using the same planes. Czech Defence Minister Martin Stropnický:
Slovakia’s defence minister confirmed that there are obvious benefits to leasing the Gripens involving logistics and training centres but a decision is expected only by the end of the year. In the Czech Republic, meanwhile, Lion Effort will wrap on May 23 with an Open Doors day at Čáslav and an airshow, likely to draw a high number of visitors.