Skies filled with military aircraft training flights

northern lightning

An F-16 Fighting Falcon, E-3 Sentry, F-35A Lightning II, F/A-18 Super Hornet and an EA-18 Growler are set up in a static display Aug. 29, 2016, during Exercise Northern Lightning at Volk Field, WI. Northern Lightning allowed all five of these aircraft the opportunity integrate and operate in a joint environment while performing counter air, suppression and destruction of enemy air defense and close air support in a contested environment. U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Stormy Archer

Volk Field Combat Readiness Training Center is hosting aircraft and nearly 1,000 personnel from approximately 20 active duty Air Force, National Guard, Navy and Marine Corps units as part of the annual Northern Lightning Counterland training exercise, which runs August 12-23.

Those living in the following counties can anticipate increased military flight operations in the airspace: Adams, Brown, Calumet, Clark, Columbia, Dane, Dodge, Fond du Lac, Green Lake, Jackson, Marathon, Marquette, Monroe, Outagamie, Portage, Sauk, Sheboygan, Trempealeau, Waupaca, Winnebago, and Wood. There will be increased flying activity daily with the majority of flights occurring between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.

August’s edition of the exercise is the second iteration of Northern Lightning this year, the first of which occurred in May.

Northern Lightning is a tactical level, joint training exercise replicating today’s air battle space with current and future weapons platforms. A variety of the world’s most advanced aircraft including the F-35, F-22, F-16, EA-18, and C-130 will participate in the exercise.

Volk Field CRTC is one of the premier training installations and airspaces in the country, thanks to its expansive airspace and the quality of the training the installation can simulate.

Northern Lightning is one of seven Air National Guard joint accredited exercises held at a Combat Readiness Training Center, and the installation’s reputation as one of the country’s finest training areas continues to grow.

Likewise, Northern Lightning has grown into a world-class exercise.

Col David May, the commander of Volk Field CRTC, said Northern Lightning offers an unmatched training experience as well as first-class facilities and training areas.

“We look forward to another successful Northern Lightning exercise,” May said. “Our Airmen have been working hard in anticipation of this event so that we can continue the tradition of making this one of the best military exercises in the country. Our reputation as the premiere counterland training site, due to relevant training and our ability to blend the live and synthetic domain, has set us up to host an Air Force and Marine F-35 squadron along with dedicated adversary aircraft. They will integrate with the F-22, fourth generation aircraft and ground forces to prepare our military for the next generation of warfare. I am proud of every Solider, Airman, Marine, and Sailor who have made Northern Lightning what it is today.”

Pilots and air crews participating in Northern Lightning can expect to operate in a contested environment with adversary aircraft, electronic jamming and simulated surface-to-air threats, and such training is critical to building readiness for the threats and missions the nation faces.

Units from around the country and across all branches of the military will participate in the exercise including: the 115th Fighter Wing from Madison, the 123rd Air Control Squadron from Blue Ash, Ohio, the 58th Fighter Squadron from Eglin Air Force Base, 182nd Airlift Wing from Peoria, Illinois, the 179th Fighter Squadron from Duluth, Minnesota, the 27th Fighter Squadron from Langley, Virginia, Marine Aviation Logistics Squadron 13 and Marine Air Control Squadron 1 from Yuma, Arizona, 147 Air Support Operations Squadron from Ellington Field, Texas, 269th Combat Communications Squadron from Springfield Air National Guard Base, Ohio, and more.

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