Royal Air Force aggressor pilots based at RAF Leeming have been training NATO partners in UK air combat techniques as part of a two week exercise in Slovakia.
The exercise, Ex SLOVAK HAWK III, involved air combat instructors from Number 100 Squadron providing training to an experienced instructor pilot from the Slovak Air Force.
Operating out of Sliac Air Base, central Slovakia, instructors conducted air combat training scenarios using three Hawk TMK1 aircraft of 100 Squadron, which usually provide support as simulated adversaries for the Typhoon Squadrons and Joint Helicopter Command in the UK. The scenarios involved two pilots fighting against a single enemy pilot using UK tactics and techniques. RAF pilots were in all three Hawk aircraft and the Slovakian pilot, Maj Ján ‘Conan’ Kurtík, was primarily instructed from the number two aircraft position by a 100 Squadron air combat instructor. He was eventually given exposure in all three fighting positions, again with an air combat instructor.
Air Combat Instructor, Squadron Leader Phil Stewart, 100 Squadron, said: “The Hawk is a basic aircraft, but it is manoeuvrable just like a frontline fast jet. The two seats that it has enables us to train other pilots, give them the experience in the back of the aircraft and take away some new tactics and procedures for their own air force.”
It is the third time the exercise has taken place since 2007 and builds on training from previous years. MIG-29 pilot, Maj Kurtík, was taking part in the exercise for the second time. He said: “Our friends from 100 Squadron came here to teach us about air combat manoeuvres. We started last year with one on one and this is the next level with two against one air combat training.
“They have given me great knowledge about air combat training and we are definitely going to use it in our procedures to teach our guys to do it in the same way.”
On the final day of Ex Slovak Hawk, one of the hawk jet pilots had the opportunity to carry out a one on one air combat scenario against the MIG-29 flown by Maj Jan Kurtik.
Wing Commander Andy Wright, Officer Commanding 100 Squadron said: “The idea of the exercise is that we train the trainers. We teach their top level instructors, who will hopefully then take on their experiences here and develop their own air combat training.
“They have done an excellent job of preparing themselves for the exercise so we have got as much as we can out of each sortie. It’s been very rewarding and challenging for us all and overall has been a great experience. We are always made to feel very welcome and that was no exception this time.”
One of the three hawks remained in Slovakia as a static display at the Slovak International Air Fest 2016.