“We had several countries – Albania, Croatia, Greece, Italy, Slovenia, and obviously the United States involved in this year's Astral Knight 21", Semmel said during press briefing. "Each country brought quite a bit of capability to the exercise, whether it be the military ground units with their surface-to-air defensive units or their aircraft".
Semmel avoided discussing Russia when asked about the possibility of a "hot engagement" with its military units in the Black Sea.
"Ultimately, the objective of the message of the exercise is to train together side by side to learn from each other, to have a collective security, to send the message of deterrence to any threat or aggression throughout European theatre, specifically South-East European theatre", he said.
Participating aircraft included the US F-15E Strike Eagle, F-16 Fighting Falcon, HH-60 Pave Hawk, C-130J Super Hercules aircraft, Italian Air Force F-35 Lightning II aircraft, Hellenic Air Force F-16 Fighting Falcon and Emb-145 Erieye aircraft, and Croatian MiG-21 BisD/UMD aircraft, the Pentagon said earlier.