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JTAC exercise Ample Strike 2016 underway


RAMSTEIN, Germany – Exercise AMPLE STRIKE kicked off yesterday, which is the third Czech-led international Joint Terminal Attack Controller (JTAC) exercise, and is planned to extend through Sept. 20. 

The exercise features 17 Allied and Partnership for Peace nations coming together to train their JTACs, aircrew and commanders of units in realistic, complex and demanding scenarios. The total number of exercise participants is nearly 1,500 including almost 300 Allied and Partner soldiers, and two rotations of 180 Czech active reserve soldiers and approximately 1,000 regular Czech soldiers. The primary training audience of the exercise is the 27 JTAC teams totalling 150 soldiers.

The Ally and Partner Nations who have confirmed their participation include:  Belgium, the Czech Republic, Canada, Croatia, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Netherlands, Poland, Slovenia, the United Kingdom and the United States.

"The Army of the Czech Republic is actively involved in developing capabilities of both our own, Allied and Partner troops," said the Commander of the Czech Air Force, Brigadier General Jaromir Sebesta. "AMPLE STRIKE 2016 offers the perfect venue to further effective collaboration of air and ground forces preparing them to respond to joint missions whenever needed."

"As a well-established Ally we have continued the tradition of the Ramstein Rover JTAC exercise series organised by NATO's Allied Air Command at Ramstein, Germany.  With AMPLE STRIKE 2016, the Czech Armed forces are now hosting this major event for the JTAC community for the third time, providing a training organisation and comprehensive logistic support for Allied and Partner troops," said Sebesta.

Last year AMPLE STRIKEachieved a record  1600 control runs, which provided an opportunity for JTACS to maintain their skills of controlling aircraft in support forces on the ground. This year, AMPLE STRIKE aims to provide even more complex and challenging Air Land Integration scenarios. One of the elements added this year to increase the exercise's complexity and novelty will be air-to-air refuelling missions executed during tactical aircraft and bomber missions. 

"US Air Force KC-135R tankers will refuel not only the German Tornado jets, Czech and Hungarian Gripen aircraft, but also US Air Force strategic bombers," said Colonel Bauer. "These strategic assets together will operate out of Royal Air Force Fairford in the United Kingdom."

Aircraft belonging to Germany, Lithuania, Poland and Slovenia will all operate out of the Náměšť Helicopter Base in the Czech Republic, demonstrating unity among Allies and Partner Nations.

Air operations will be conducted mainly from 9 am to 11 pm on weekdays from Sept. 5 to 16. Some flying will occur outside this time frame as international assets arrive and deploy to the operational areas.

Story by NATO's Allied Air Command

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