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Oct 7 2021

NATO JTACs work with Allied F-16s and Eurofighters in the Baltics

RAMSTEIN, Germany – Specialists from NATO's enhanced Forward Presence (eFP) Battle Group drilled with Portuguese F-16s flying from Siauliai Air Base, Lithuania and Italian Eurofighters from Amari Air Base, Estonia from 4 to 6 October.

Joint Terminal Attack Controllers (JTAC) from the UK and France trained with Allied air assets in Estonia this week. Having JTACs within the NATO eFP Battle Group is a key enabler for joint missions. JTACs are specially trained in Air-Land Integration (ALI) who communicate directly with fighter pilots via radio to coordinate close air support during operations.

Routine training involving soldiers and aviators builds critical relationships that ensure joint operations can be executed rapidly wherever and whenever needed

"Utilizing NATO air assets to integrate with Allied JTACs demonstrates our interoperability and underlines our constant readiness to protect the Baltic Sea Region," said Brigadier General Joel Carey, Allied Air Command Deputy Chief of Staff Operations. "Routine training involving soldiers and aviators builds critical relationships that ensure joint operations can be executed rapidly wherever and whenever needed."

NATO Allies regularly train in the Baltic Sea Region to hone military capabilities and enhance familiarisation between troops and aircraft operating in the same area. The integration between air and land forces bolsters Alliance defensive operations by making sure each domain can work seamlessly together.

"Working across the air and land domains is crucial to our interoperability within the alliance," said Colonel Antonio Vergallo, 36th Fighter Wing Commander. "Each time we practice together we maximize our mutual training to the benefit of the overall skills of NATO."
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An Italian Eurofighter 2000 from the 36th Fighter Wing participates in JTAC drilling in Estonia October 2021. JTACs communicate with pilots for close air support during operations. Photo courtesy of the Italian Air Force. 
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An Italian Eurofighter from the 36th Fighter Wing returns to base after practicing in drills with enhanced Forward Presence JTACs in Estonia. Photo courtesy of the Italian Air Force
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Portuguese F-16s fly in formation while drilling with Italian Eurofighters in Estonia. The F-16s are currently deployed to Šiauliai Air Base, Lithuania for Baltic Air Policing. Photo courtesy of Portuguese Air Force. 

Story by Allied Air Command Public Affairs Office

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