NAMEST, Czech Republic – For the tenth time, the Czech Armed Forces hosted the traditional exercise Ample Strike which offered training opportunities for Joint Terminal Attack Controllers (JTACs) at the multinational level.
This year’s edition of the multinational air-land exercise Ample Strike has maintained its ambitions to offer challenging, intense and realistic training for JTACs
“Called AMSE Lite 2023, this year’s edition of the multinational air-land exercise Ample Strike saw a rather limited number of participants, but it has for sure maintained its ambitions to offer challenging, intense and realistic training for JTACs,” said Ample Strike Exercise Director Colonel Aleš Cápal. “From September 11 to 15, we have once again verified interoperability of air power, JTACs and land forces,” he added.
The Czech-led exercise Ample Strike offers multinational JTAC training and has been an integral Air-Land Integration event in the Allied exercise calendar.
Photo by Inka Budikova.
Electronic devices help JTACs to accomplish their mission of controlling air support for troops on the ground.
Photo by Inka Budikova
A Czech AH-1Z Viper attack helicopter firing in support of JTAC training during exercise Ample Strike 2023.
Photo by Inka Budikova.
During so-called Hot-Pit refueling, U.S. Air Force F-16 fighter jets received gas on the flight line at Náměšť Air Base with engines running practising the Agile Combat Employment concept. Photo by Inka Budikova.
The scenario seeks to achieve the same objective: to integrate JTAC activities with aircrews and tactical commanders on the ground in a multinational environment. Around 300 Czech service members and more than 60 colleagues from NATO Allies Germany, Poland and the United States were grouped into four JTAC teams controlling over 190 successful runs onto targets with air support involving five rotary wing aircraft, six fixed wing aircraft and three tankers. Allied pilots logged over 110 flight hours.
Scenarios were executed at the Boletice Military Training Area, and supporting aircraft took off from 22nd Helicopter Air Force Base Náměšť, 21st Tactical Air Force Base Čáslav and from Pardubice airfield.
Live-fly air support including air-to-air refueling for AMSE Lite 2023 was performed by Czech Air Force L-159 ALCA light fighters, German Air Force Eurofighter jets and an A-400 tanker aircraft, and United States F-16 fighters, AH-64 helicopters and a KC-135 tanker. The Multinational Multi-Role Tanker Transport Unit (MMU) contributed an A-330 MRTT tanker offering an additional in-flight refueling capability.
“As a premiere during this year’s edition that we practiced dropping GBU12 laser guided bombs from an L-159 aircraft onto targets that were laser designated by a U.S. AH-64 helicopter. For the first time in the history of the Czech Air Force we exploited this multiplying effect of using advanced assets in the battlefield,” underlined Exercise Air Operations Director, Captain Pavel Staněk.
“I am proud to say that Czech JTACs were able to control the use of two GBU-12 bombs on two different targets at the same time, which is also a remarkable achievement. This is not something you train every day,” admitted a Czech JTAC.
“During so-called Hot-Pit refuelling, U.S. Air Force F-16 fighter jets received gas on the flight line with engines running was rehearsed at Náměšť. This was an excellent opportunity for our Czech ground crews to see these expeditionary procedures also with a view of support Agile Combat Deployments of our Alllies down the road,” said the Exercise Director Colonel Aleš Cápal.