By Christopher Buscombe
Palma
These are some of the F-18 fighter planes which have been doing exercises over the Balearics over the past few days. They are currently based at the Son Sant Joan air base, Majorca, and will return to their original home in Zaragoza this weekend.

The six aircraft have been doing manoeuvres which the Spanish military have dubbed DAPEX-07, involving defense tactics and situational response exercises. The Ministry of Defence issued a statement saying that the planes would be using the Balearic skies as a suitable training and testing area for perhaps the most famous fighter plane in the world.

The presence of the aircraft at Son Sant Joan also has the added intention of assessing the Majorcan airbase's capabilities in case of an emergency or a conflict in which aerial assistance is urgently required. A total of seventy nine people have been taking part in the operations being carried out, involving the transporting, unloading and setting up of equipment which has also come over from Zaragoza in Hercules and Casa 235 aircraft.

As well as defense manoeuvres, attacking and accompanying exercises- which are vital in the F-18's arsenal- have also been an important focus over the last few days.

The F-18 is an immensly powerful plane which is capable of achieving speeds of more than 2000 km/h, and has a reaction time of just fifteen minutes. They were originally designed in the US during the 1970's, and its creators founded the aircraft on the basis of reliability and versatility. They are twin engine, all weather, night, combined fighter and attack aircraft that can be refueled in flight and are always popular with pilots. The Spanish airforce was radically modernised upon the arrival of the F-18 into its ranks in the early 1980's.

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