Angel Thunder 2017

Just like any other area of warfare, operational search and rescue must be rigorously simulated and practised.

That's why the annual 'Angel Thunder' recovery exercise has been running a multinational force through its paces.

This year's edition ran for two weeks, from the 4th to the 17th May, and took place in Florence, Arizona.

Sponsored by the US Air Combat Command, it was designed to provide training using a variety of scenarios to simulate deployment conditions and contingencies.

Ground recovery, air, special forces personnel and federal agents have all been utilised during Angel Thunder.

The exercise, which started in 2006, was last held in 2015 and has just been revamped by making it biannual and reducing the size of the individual events.

According to the US Air Force, it is their “largest and most realistic joint service, multinational, interagency combat search and rescue exercise” focused on simulating deployment conditions.