More than 130 RAF part-time reserves have travelled to Albania to train alongside the country's army and military police.

Exercise Ushtar Eagle is a joint training initiative with Albanian soldiers from the Third Infantry Battalion and is a chance for the troops to tactically work alongside one another.

Exercise Director Wing Commander Phil Hateley said:

“Ushtar Eagle has provided the RAF Reserves with a unique opportunity to work with a NATO ally in a challenging overseas environment. 

"Personnel from both the UK and Albania have been exchanging skills, ideas and tactics in airfield defence, ready to put them into practice on operations anywhere in the world they may be needed.”

Albanian President Ilir Meta and the UK’s Chief of Defence Staff Air Chief Marshal Sir Stuart Peach - who has just been elected as the new NATO Chairman of the Military Committee - also visited the exercise and were shown a tactical demonstration. 

Air Chief Marshal Sir Stuart Peach said: "We have come a long way together, both in our shared military history and our recent history in the alliance and I know we'll go a long way together in the future as partners.

"Who knows where this will go in the future, but I am confident as the Chief of Defence Staff that our future is much more secure as a result of our collective alliance in NATO and that will always remain the case."

Coinciding with the NATO Military Committee Conference in Tirana, the exercise is now in its sixth year.

The RAF reservists are drawn from 18 individual RAF stations from across Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

Albania officially became a NATO member on 1st April 2009.

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