The 435th Air Ground Operations Wing led a U.S. Air Forces in Europe command and control advisory mission March 3 to 5 at Rinas Air Base, Albania.
The goal of this partnership event was to strengthen the Albanian air force’s Control and Reporting Center operations, create a greater connection with the NATO integrated air defense system and improve the relationships from both nations that foster trust and cooperation.
A team of three Airmen, each having significant expertise in air-battle management, communications and data links, led the three-day air advising mission.
“Every air advising mission presents its own challenges and dynamics; these can be technical, organizational or a need for internal training,” said Maj. John Sherinian, 435th Air Ground Operations Wing’s Contingency Response Group, Detachment-1, chief air advisor, air battle manager and regional affairs strategist. “Our work with Albania’s C2 professionals provided both our countries with a more complete picture of our combined NATO interoperability and the challenges we face together as they develop their CRC operations.”
The C2 experts familiarized attendees with the CRC, which broke down organization and operations, explaining how a CRC serves and coordinates with the NATO Air Operations Center. They also discussed the importance of providing data links to officers responsible for incorporating air pictures with NATO surveillance and fighter controllers.
“Working with our Albanian partners is critical to what we do in USAFE and NATO,” said Maj. Christopher Potter, 603rd Air and Space Operations Center senior air defense officer. “We’ve been able to share tactics, techniques and procedures in air-defense execution, which will continue to strengthen the defensive partnerships between USAFE, Albania and all the NATO partners.”
During the visit, the air advisor team also had the opportunity to assess the Albanian air force’s current capabilities and advise on possible courses of action on data link requirements, potential training opportunities and assist with developing their own command structures.
“A new bridge of communication has been established — a new bridge of sharing opinions and gathering valuable expertise,” said Albanian air force Capt. Olgert Koroveshi, C2 operations chief. “The advice provided on air C2 and NATO integrated air defense system will be used to better organize and structure our CRC and to develop appropriate training programs tailored to our needs in accordance with U.S. Air Force and NATO standards.”
To conclude the event and share their nation’s history and culture, the Albanian air force hosted a tour to a local museum and castle in the hillside village of Kruje, Albania.