(text and pictures by Oscar Bernardi, Franco Gualdoni, Paolo Rollino)


Astral Knight 2019, is a US Air Forces in Europe led exercise that will take place over the course of four days in June, at Aviano AFB, Italy, as well as other locations in Croatia, Germany, and Slovenia.
AK 2019 is a joint, multinational exercise involving airmen and soldiers from the US working together with service members from Croatia, Italy, and Slovenia.
The exercise is an integrated air and missile defence exercise focused on conducting defence of key terrain. Training will involve a combination of flight operations and computer-assisted scenarios. This exercise aims to enhance the command and control integration, coordination and interoperability of air, land, and sea capabilities and overlapping operations into the integrated air and missile defence enterprise.
This is the first year that AK is taking place; in future years it will incorporate more NATO allies and partners.
Integrated Air and Missile Defence is the integration of capabilities and overlapping operations to defend US national interests, protect the joint force, and enable freedom of action by negating an enemy's ability to create adverse effects from their air and missile capabilities.
Integrated Air and Missile Defence incorporates offensive and defensive measures to create a comprehensive joint and combined force capable of preventing an enemy from effectively employing its offensive air and missile weapons.
The need to test and exercise integrated air and missile defence capabilities is crucial in an evolving global security environment that features increasingly capable air and missile threats among potential adversaries.
In an environment where our near peer competitors are rapidly developing emerging air and missile threat capabilities from new manned and unmanned aircraft system, stealthy cruise missiles, hypersonic glide vehicles, and advanced ballistic missiles, it is crucial the need to ensure our integrated air and missile defence enterprise.





2019©Paolo Rollino/pierrestudio