Military personnel from six countries rounded up nine days of the Astral Knight 21 air and missile defense exercise which included F-35, F-16, F-15E, MiG-21 jets in several locations in Europe, US Major General Greg Semmel told reporters on Friday.
“We had several countries – Albania, Croatia, Greece, Italy, Slovenia and obviously the United States involved in this year’s Astral Knight 21,” Semmel said during a press briefing.
“Each country brought quite a bit of capability to the exercise, whether it be the military ground units with their surface-to-air defensive units or their aircraft “
The drill took place in different locations in Italy, Croatia, Greece and Slovenia.
Semmel avoided discussing Russia when asked about the possibility of a “hot engagement” with its military units in the Black Sea.
“Ultimately, the objective of the message of the exercise is to train together side by side to learn from each other, to have a collective security, to send the message of deterrence to any threat or aggression throughout European theater, specifically South-East European theater,” he said.
Participating aircraft include US F-15E Strike Eagle, F-16 Fighting Falcon, HH-60 Pave Hawk, C-130J Super Hercules aircraft, Italian Air Force F-35 Lightning II aircraft, Hellenic Air Force F-16 Fighting Falcon and Emb-145 Erieye aircraft, and Croatian MiG-21 BisD/UMD aircraft, Pentagon said earlier.