“NATO Air Command and Control is a continuous process for Allied operations especially for the 24/7 Air Policing mission; the continuity of the mission is paramount,” said Lieutenant Colonel Ron Triegel, point of contact for the training at Allied Air Command. “We conduct the Ramstein Alternate exercise series to ensure personnel from both CAOCs are familiar with the pertinent tactics, techniques and procedures,” he added explaining that due to COVID-19 restrictions special arrangements and preparations had been required to comply with existing pertinent NATO and Host Nation requirements.
NATO Air Command and Control is a continuous process for Allied operations especially - for the 24/7 Air Policing mission; the continuity of the mission is paramount
“The main objective of the exercise is the handover-takeover of ongoing real-world Air Policing command and control functions from a simulated non-operational Static Air Defence Centre (SADC) to the back-up facility in AIRCOM,” said Lieutenant Colonel Triegel. “For this purpose, AIRCOM provides the technical and infrastructural
Lieutenant Colonel Ron Triegel, Allied Air Command Projete Officer for exercise Ramstein Alternate (right) welcoming the air surveillance and control specialists from Combined Air Operations Centre Torrejón in their temporary Static Air Defence Centre. Photo by Sébastien Raffin.
environment similar to the equipment of a standard CAOC SADC; once activated, deployed personnel from the CAOC will operate the alternate SADC and control ongoing missions,” he added.
The CAOC Torrejón team deployed to AIRCOM and adapted to the new workstations with the well-known functionality; once they were fully set up they took over the SADC functions from the facilities at Torrejón and operations for the Air Policing area south of the Alps were controlled out of Ramstein.
Allied Air Command's Deputy Chief of Staff Operations, Brigadier General Andrew Hansen (centre) underscoring the importance of robust and resilient back-up solutions for NATO Air Policing to the team from Combined Air Operations Centre Torrejón. Photo Sébastien Raffin.
“At the end of the exercise the overall assessment is that once again the personnel from AIRCOM and CAOC Torrejón accomplished the mission successfully through their dedication and professionalism,” said Lieutenant Colonel Triegel wrapping up the training event.
Since 2013, AIRCOM has conducted the Ramstein Alternate series building a trained pool of air surveillance and control specialists at the two CAOCs. This ensures existing and operational back-up plans for Air Command and Control and the availability of expert staff to help stand up the NATO Command Structure Joint Force Air Component. Among others it is personnel from the CAOCs that is needed to augment this component to execute command and control of Allied joint and air operations.