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Czech Republic successfully completes third edition of JTAC exercise

With the landing of two Polish Su-22 fighter jets at 22nd Helicopter Base Namest and a United States Army Apache attack helicopter at Libava in the early afternoon on September 15 another successful edition of the international exercise Ample Strike came to a close. Since the start on September 5, more than 30 Allied aircraft and helicopters were launched for almost 750 flying hours during approximately 500 missions in the airspace of the Czech Republic. They supported well over 1500 control runs executed by some 150 Allied and Partner Joint Terminal Attack Controllers or JTACs.

The Czech Republic hosted exercise Ample Strike 2016 for the third consecutive year allowing international JTACs from fifteen Allies and Partner Nation Finland to operate together and certify  their skills that play an important role in Allied operations. During the ten exercise days, JTAC teams went through six different training scenarios with alternating tactical situations to further increase the challenges for the participants.

"This year the added training value consisted in more complex scenarios. The setup of JTAC training posts with aircrew and ground troop commanders is still the main theme of Ample Strike,” said exercise director Colonel Zdenek Bauer. ”However, we closely observed the training during the exercise so we can adjust scenarios to even better suit the needs of individual armies as they prepare their JTACs for combat operations.”

The training used to be organised by NATO’s Allied Air Command and is also a venue for Allied pilots to gather experience in the integration of Air and Land capabilities at an international live-fly event. Flying operations took place not only at five military air base across the Czech Republic but also involved take-offs and landings of Gripen jets at Kecskemét, Hungary, Eurofighter jets at Neuburg, Germany and US Air Force strategic bombers at Fairford, United Kingdom.

While JTAC teams departed on Friday, the last flight activities of this year’s Ample Strike will be the redeployment of Allied aircraft to their home bases over the weekend. Once the 1300 Czech organisers and facilitators have dismantled all exercise support facilities, another successful Ample Strike will have come to an end.

"Already now, we are beginning to prepare for Ample Strike 2017," said General Josef Becvar. "I have no doubt at all that it is going to be another very relevant experience for Allied and Partner JTACs.”

Story by HQ AIRCOM PAO based on input provided by Captain Tomas Maruscak, Czech Air Force

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