NEWS | April 6, 2021

Fueling NORAD exercises and partnerships: 305AMW supports Amalgam Dart 21-2

By 1st Lt Victoria Wright

A KC-10 Extender from the 305th Air Mobility Wing, New Jersey participated in the North American Aerospace Defense Command exercise Amalgam Dart 21-2, March 20-26.

During the exercise, the tanker provided mid-air refueling over the Artic region to Royal Canadian Air Force and the United States Air Force aircraft.

“We were able to bring four Air National Guard F-16s up from Minnesota and support them throughout the exercise,” said Tech. Sgt. Ethan Bowen, a boom operator from the 32d Air Refueling Squadron. “It was a great opportunity to fly in a unique airspace and participate in this example of our allied airpower.  As a crew, all of us learned a lot and were really able to see the impact of our mission."

The air defense exercise demonstrated NORAD and NATO alliance integrity while simultaneously showcasing NORAD’s ability and intent to defend forward in the artic.

The integration of KC-10s and other tanker aircraft into the exercise is key as it allows the participants to extend their reach and expand the range of the exercise.

This year, the exercise spanned from a forward operating locations in Canada's Northwest Territories and U.S. Air Force bases in Alaska and Greenland, to a mobile radar site in Iqaluit, Nunavut, as well as the sky over much of NORAD's area of responsibility.

“Radar and radio coverage is limited to non-existent up there, but through the use of Canadian ground-based assets and our own air-based assets, all of us operating in the far-north, Arctic region were able to paint a vivid picture of where our flying partners were and when they would be on station to begin mission execution,” said 1st Lt Connor Campbell, 32d ARS first pilot. “Even going through some visibility reducing weather in the area of operation didn't stop us from being able to coordinate and deconflict from one another in the air.”

Additionally, exercises like AD allow various allies and partners to work alongside each other as they strengthen global stability and security by executing various real-life scenarios.

“I believe that the United States Air Force is indeed still the most powerful Air Force on the planet, but it was certainly a boost to our crew's confidence to see that the Canadians were highly trained, and upheld exemplary standards for themselves and those they work with,” Campbell added. “They were hospitable, always available, and operated in a way that served to strengthen themselves as well as the USAF to form a formidable coalition of Air Power.”