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Jul 15 2022

NATO trains Belgian aircraft to cope in electronic warfare environment

RAMSTEIN, Germany - NATO conducted its regular electronic warfare (EW) training exercise Ramstein Guard in Belgium from July 11 to 15, 2022 enabling participating Belgian aircrews and control staff to operate if their systems are jammed by an adversary.  

This training effort is designed essentially to harden NATO's shield, the Integrated Air and Missile Defence System

The Belgian Air Force developed a robust and integrated training scenario for exercise "Ramstein Guard 07" to maximise training with available assets and personnel. Conducted by NATO's Combined Air Operations Centre (CAOC) at Uedem the exercise's focus is on forcing the participants to work through the impacts of jamming while operating effectively.

JEWCS Technician prepares the jamming pod under the wing of a DRAKEN Europe DA-20 Falcon jet during exercise Ramstein Guard 2022 in Belgium. Photo courtesy JEWCS.
The civilian contractor DRAKEN Europe supports NATO's EW training exercises enabling meaningful training for all Allies on how to survive and operate under an EW impact. 
Photo by DRAKEN Europe.
A Belgian A400M transport aircraft was exposed to a simulated EW threat during exercise Ramstein Guard 2022 allowing the crew to test their radar warning receiver. Archive photon by Kristof Moens.
Belgian F-16 fighter jets flew training manoeuvres such as a slow mover escort mission with the A400M and had to shield their communications against a simulated EW threat. Archive photo by Michael Moors.

"We are conducting realistic scenarios simulating multinational mixed fighter-transport operations against a robust EW threat from both ground and air threats," said Captain Nick Droogers, Belgian EW and Mission Support Officer. "This coerces our aircrews and controllers to use on board warning devices and to develop and validate specific enhanced tactics, techniques and procedures (TTPs) to cope with the challenges posed by jamming activities. We're basically training pilots in discovering and avoiding these threats," he added.

Two main facilitators help implement this NATO training. The civilian contractor Draken Europe operates an FA-20 Falcon jet, which NATO hires to support each training iteration. "Our Falcon carries jamming pods which can jam radars of other aircraft in the air, or they can jam different radars on the ground," said Nigel Cunningham from Draken Europe. "They also provide jamming of communication causing the participants to adapt their TTPs," he added.

The second facilitator is the Joint EW Core Staff (JEWCS), a UK-based international military headquarters. "JEWCS supports all NATO EW exercises, usually conducted by CAOCs or the Nations and we have been providing EW training since 1983," said U.S. Navy Lieutenant Commander Jason Maier, who works at the JEWCS. "This training effort is designed essentially to harden NATO's shield, the Integrated Air and Missile Defence System (NATINAMDS), by providing introductory to advice training on fighting or maintaining the Recognized Air Picture while in a contested electromagnetic environment," he concluded.

"Under the overall aegis of the Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe, the CAOCs at Uedem and Torrejón conduct the exercise about 12 times a year to provide tailored training in an electronic warfare environment to Allied forces all over Europe," said Lieutenant Colonel Fredrik Thomter, project officer at Allied Air Command responsible for scheduling the exercise series. "This is actually more of a continuous training programme the Alliance offers to forces assigned to NATINAMDS especially to those involved in NATO Response Force operations," he added.

"All facilitators of the Ramstein Guard exercise series are closely cooperating to provide the assurance to NATO and to its member Nations that the NATINAMDS' training will be on the cutting edge of technology and tactical prowess," said Lieutenant Colonel Thomter in conclusion. "Feedback from the nations is in general very positive, as Ramstein Guard provides a unique and valuable training opportunity for those nations which do not have advanced jammers in their own inventory enabling them to self-train," he summarised.

Story by Allied Air Command Public Affairs Office

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