8 African nations attend APF co-hosted by U.S., Tunisian air forces

  • Published
  • By Master Sgt. Michael Battles
  • U.S. Air Forces in Europe and Air Forces Africa Public Affairs

Eight partner African Nations came together to participate in the 2022 African Partner Flight co-hosted by the Tunisian air force and U.S Air Forces Africa, Nov. 2-4, 2022, in Tunis, Tunisia.

African partner flights serve as an opportunity to open dialogue between air force leaders across the continent, identify opportunities for the U.S. to assist African partners, and implement collective solutions.

“African Partnership Flights offer a unique opportunity to build partnerships and share knowledge,” said U.S. Air Force Maj. Gen James Kriesel, U.S. Air Forces in Europe and Air Forces Africa national guard assistant to the commander. “I’m eager to also uphold our partnerships and build new relationships as we address issues common to us all.”

This APF focused on broadening interoperability on Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance objectives and building partnership capacity towards ISR objectives that provides coalition forces the advanced capabilities to detect and defend against a spectrum of threats while promoting regional security and stability.

“As General Hecker commander of U.S. Air Forces Africa, emphasizes: our partnerships and interoperability drive our readiness and success,” said Kriesel. “We’ve chosen an Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance set of capabilities for this APF. As you know, ISR is vital to military operations in Africa and its importance has continually grown.”

Events like APF afford participants an opportunity to learn from each other and actively apply that knowledge to daily operations, as the U.S. and its African coalition partners routinely conduct ISR activities across North and West Africa in support of U.S. Africa Command and host nation regional and security objectives.

“It is quite an honor for the Tunisian Armed Forces to have all of you as guest and to work towards advancing our partnership across the continent through an open dialogue that will definitely make each of us stronger as we leverage the ‘Strength our Cooperation’ brings,” said Tunisian Maj. Gen. Mohamed Hajem, Chief of Staff of the Tunisian Air Force.

He continued by saying, “Indeed, forums like the Africa Partnership Flight offer a good opportunity for all of us here to openly discuss subjects of common interests, like the subject of ISR you will be discussing here, and provides one way to leverage our existing partnerships in order to advance each of our air force’s capacity in this field and beyond.”

Participants of this APF engaged in open dialogue conversations, received several briefs covering numerous ISR topics, engaged in final capstone project and toured the new Tunisian Military Intelligence Schoolhouse. A first of its kind in North Africa, the schoolhouse will serve as the primary educational institution on the continent focused on developing leaders for the military’s ISR community.

According to Hajem, the African coalition will be stronger working together to face common issues and a continental global security environment.

“For each of us, I believe we are all better off facing these challenges when we are cooperating with one another and exploring opportunities offered by partnership engagements like the APF.”

The last APF was held in June 2022 in Nairobi, Kenya and focused on Humanitarian Assistance/Disaster Response. In February 2023, U.S. Air Forces Africa will co-host its largest event on the African event the African Air Chiefs Symposium themed “African Air Forces in the Fight Against Transnational Threats” with the Senegalese Air Force in Dakar, Senegal.

African Partnership Flight is a biannual force development, educational, and interoperability -workshop to help strengthen U.S. strategic partnerships with key Northern and Western African nations by sharing ideas to enhance regional cooperation and interoperability.