ALBACETE, Spain – The Tactical Leadership Programme (TLP) conducted its fourth multinational flying course with approx. 40 fighter and transport aircraft, Combat Search and Rescue (CSAR) helicopters, a NATO AWACS plane and surface-based air defence (SBAD) systems.
TLP offers a complex programme of realistic training - a mix of live-fly and simulator training from across the entire spectrum from planning to de-briefing
“Accomplishing our 2022 training schedule, the TLP hosted fighter jets from Belgium, the Czech Republic, France, Germany, Italy and Spain, to conduct multinational Combined Air Operations (COMAOs) including simulator and live-fly sorties,” said Colonel Alberto Martinez, Spanish Air Force, Commandant of the TLP. “We added CSAR missions and realistic real and simulated threats from air defence systems on the ground enabling a complex environment for NATO pilots to prepare, plan, fly and de-brief combined missions that makes them ready for Alliance or coalition operations,” he added.
Multinational training according to NATO tactics, techniques and procedures - a Czech JAS-39 Gripen takes off as a Spanish Eurofighter taxies at Albacete Air Base, Spain. Photo by Antonio Jiménez Santana.
Multinational training according to NATO tactics, techniques and procedures -pilots and ground crews in front of French Mirages and Rafales at Albacete Air Base, Spain. Photo by Antonio Jiménez Santana.
Multinational training according to NATO tactics, techniques and procedures - a NATO AWACS E-3A plane provided airspace surveillance and early detection, control of mission, SAR coordination and airspace control out of Albacete Air Base, Spain. Photo by Antonio Jiménez Santana.
Multinational training according to NATO tactics, techniques and procedures - a German LJ-35 Jamkite Learjet complicated life for the fighter pilots during their Composite Air Operation drills. Photo by Antonio Jiménez Santana.
“The TLP flying courses are built around COMAOs that require a lot of experience and coordination,” said Colonel Martinez. “This time almost 30 “friendly” fighter jets - Eurofighters and Tornados from Germany, F-16s from Belgium, Rafales and Mirages 2000Ds from France and Eurofighters from Italy - interacted with nine “opposing force” jets - F-16s from Belgium, EF-18Ms from Spain, Rafale Ms from France and JAS-43 from the Czech Republic. Tactical Air Transport provided by Spanish C-295 and Italian C-27 planes and CSAR capability ensured by Italian HH-101 choppers supported the missions and various SBAD systems and a German LJ-35 Jamkite Learjet complicate life for the fighter pilots,” he added.
“The specialty of the TLP is to offer a complex programme of realistic training that is a mix of live-fly and simulator training from across the entire spectrum from planning to de-briefing – and all this in a truly multinational environment and in compliance with agreed NATO standards”, he concluded.
A NATO Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS) E-3A aircraft from Geilenkirchen, Germany, was also deployed at Albacete. The multinational crew of air surveillance and control specialists took off in their E-3A regularly to provide airborne support during missions. The crew supported with provision of airspace surveillance and early detection of airborne threats, control of mission, fighter control, coordination SAR operation, airspace control and coordination and control of SBAD systems.
“Flying and aiding during a TLP Flying Course is a win-win for both sides,” said Major General Thomas Kunkel, U.S. Air Force, NATO Airborne Early Warning and Control Force Commander. “Our crew has invaluable training in virtually all the roles NATO E-3A plays for the Alliance and the course participants get accustomed to what capability we can bring to the fight. Moreover, deploying to Albacete underlines our flexibility and resilience and helps the crew to come together with their fighter colleagues from the Allied air forces,” he added.