2016, a French Air Force led International Forward Air Controller (FAC)
exercise has wrapped up at the French Ventiseri-Solenzara air base on the
island of Corsica.
live-fly exercise, which took place from March 7 to 25, involved more
than 40 aircraft and approximately 1,000 soldiers from France, Belgium,
Germany, Italy, Spain, the United Kingdom and the United States including FACs from
tactics, techniques and procedures also used in recent real-world operations as
well as the exploitation of modern and novel technologies such as Digitally
Aided Close Air Support (CAS) and satellite-supported systems. A British Air
Support Operations Centre reinforced by national French liaison officers and
airspace management assets and the integration of legal operational aspects
such as rules of engagement and national caveats add to the complexity and
realism of the exercise.
This exercise was
first conducted in 2007 and prepared FAC personnel for operational deployments
in-theatre. The goal of Serpentex is to train fighter aircraft and FACs in
close air support missions to include dynamic targeting. The training is set in
a complex tactical environment and involves support from helicopters, transport
aircraft, an E-3D plane and Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR)
platforms. An infantry company, surface-to-air assets and Special Forces from
the Army ensure the training is also a joint effort.
involved in Serpentex 16 included from France Rafale, Mirage 2000-5 and Mirage
2000N fighters, a C-160 Transall and a Casa CN 235 transport aircraft, a
Harfang Remotely Piloted Aerial System, an Airborne Warning and Control System
E-3F plane, Fennec helicopters as well as United States Air Force B-52
strategic bombers, Belgian F-16, Spanish F-18, Italian AMX and British BAE Hawk
fighter jets, Italian KC-767 tanker aircraft, and a German Learjet.
Some impression from Serpentex can be found