Spangdahlem F-16s Arrive in Portugal for Real Thaw

  • Published
  • By HQ USAFE-AFAFRICA Public Affairs

United States Air Forces in Europe-Air Forces Africa will participate in exercise Real Thaw 22 in Beja, Portugal, with 18 F-16 Fighting Falcon aircraft and personnel from the 480th Fighter Squadron, 52nd Fighter Wing, Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany. The F-16 aircraft will participate in the Portuguese-led multinational exercise from 27 June to 8 July, heightening allied interoperability and collaboration.

Real Thaw is a Portuguese-led large force, flying exercise with multiple NATO Allies participating. Multinational training engagements such as this strengthen military-to-military relationships, increase interoperability, and demonstrate our commitment to the safety and security of the Alliance.

U.S. F-16s will operate from Beja Air Base, Portugal, exercising a range of capabilities to include air-to-air and air-to-ground training, tactical air transport operations, and close air support.

"We're proud to have been invited to and be able to participate in this exercise," Lt Gen. Steven L. Basham, USAFE-AFAFRICA Deputy Commander. "These exercises reaffirm our desire and the desire of our partners to strengthen our interoperability and to continue collaborating on a multinational level."

Approximately 18 aircraft and nearly 300 U.S. Airmen will participate in the exercise, integrating with Allies from Belgium, France, Lithuania, Netherlands, Portugal, and Spain.

Real Thaw is designed to develop and integrate realistic interoperability tasks both in the air and on the ground between multinational units. Participating forces will execute training missions aimed to merge and employ different platforms toward a major objective.

Imagery will be available on the Defense Visual Information Distribution Service at

For questions regarding U.S. Air Force participation in Real Thaw, please contact USAFE-AFAFRICA Public Affairs as +49 06371-47-6558 or email or