Listing the major exercises in which the French Armed Forces will participate in the first half of 2021, the Ministry of Armed Forces announced that it would be hosting the Atlantic Trident exercise, attended by air forces from France, the United States, and the United Kingdom.
Due to take place at the Mont-de-Marsan Air Base in southwestern France, the exercise will bring together the Rafales of the French Air Force, the Eurofighter Typhoons of the Royal Air Force, and the fifth-generation F-35B and F-22A Raptor fighters of the United States Air Force. The objective of the exercise, as described by the Ministry, is to “prepare to operate in coalition with the latest generation of combat aircraft, in a contested air environment.”
It is the third time that the Atlantic Trident exercise is organized. The first two editions, in 2015 and 2017, took place in the United States. In the past, the drills focus primarily on air defense, with one-on-one combat scenarios within visual range, engagement beyond visual range, and area denial exercises. “The French Air Force and British Royal Air Force definitely bring a unique perspective on how they would tackle a problem and that is helping everyone,” commented Captain Michael, an F-22 Raptor pilot participating in the 2017 edition. “They tackle problems differently and give us that unique perspective a coalition force brings.”
As part of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), the three air forces are used to participate in the same operations. However, they rarely operate from the same bases. Thus, exercises such as Atlantic Trident allows the crews to share their experiences during mutual debriefings.