BERLIN, Germany -- More than 300 aircraft from about 50 nations were on display Sept. 11 during the kickoff of Berlin Air Show, commonly known as ILA 2012.
The Berlin Air Show is considered to be one of the premier air shows in the World, and the U.S. military has five types of aircraft on display this year.
Navy Cmdr. Kimberly Ernst, United States European Command trade show coordinator, worked with many agencies to make the U.S. military presence at ILA 2012 possible.
“Every trade show is different,” Ernst said. “You have to be flexible.
“We get requests from the U.S. Embassy and the aviation industry for the aircraft to be displayed at the event but it all depends on what aircraft are available,” she said.
This year the U.S. Air Force and Army have aircraft on display.
“We have a good mix of aircraft at ILA 2012,” Ernst said. “The UH-60 Black Hawk, UH-72A Lakota, F-16C Fighting Falcon, C-17 Globemaster III, and C-130J Hercules are all featured this year.”
The U.S. military “corral” was visited by numerous distinguished visitors including Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany, Philip Murphy, U.S. Ambassador to Germany and Gen. Philip M. Breedlove, U.S. Air Forces in Europe and U.S. Air Forces Africa commander.
The presence of the U.S. military aircraft at this event promotes strong ties between the U.S. and NATO as well as with Europe.
“We need to be able to keep our equipment, tactics, techniques and procedures standardized,” Breedlove said. “It’s very important that we don’t lose contact with the people who we have fought alongside for many decades.”
The air show also allows the U.S to demonstrate the types of technology it is producing.
“If we are not showing the flag, how will people know about our capabilities?” the general said. “This is an opportunity for us to showcase some incredible American aircraft and even more importantly the American Airmen who take care of these aircraft."
More than 50 U.S. military personnel from bases in Europe and the United States are here to support the aircraft on display.
"The air crew and maintenance personnel representing the U.S. are some of the most professional people I have ever worked with,” said Senior Master Sgt. Warren McCullough, ILA 2012 U.S. military ground boss, Ramstein Air Base, Germany. “Each crew has assessed what they need to do and taken care of their aircraft. They have made my job really easy.”
The first three days of the show is restricted to trade show visitors; however, the general public will have a chance to see the various aircraft displays first hand during the last three days.
“I love telling people about the aircraft,” said Lt. Col. Craig Bartosh, 315th Airlift Wing at Joint Base Charleston, S.C., C-17 Globemaster III aircraft commander. “This is a great opportunity to talk to and show our international partners what we do.”
As trade show patrons visit the U.S. military aircraft, the air crews are available to answer questions and discuss the capabilities of each aircraft.
More than 300,000 people are expected to visit ILA 2012 Sept. 11.