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Mar 16 2023

NATO Surface-based Air defence community trains interoperability in major exercise

RAMSTEIN, Germany – Two major NATO exercises are combined with the largest European Integrated Air and Missile Defence (IAMD) exercise from March 6 to April 1, 2023 providing a unique training opportunity for interoperability among Allied forces.

NATO’s exercises Steadfast Armour 23 (STAR23) and Ramstein Century (RACE23) are integrated with the Netherlands-led computer assisted exercise / command post exercise Joint Project Optic Windmill 2023 (JPOW) exploiting synergies of the IAMD community.

The scenario simulates aggressors with state-of-the-art weapon systems, high-tech ballistic, cruise & hypersonic missiles and drones to which the Alliance has to respond quickly and adequately to defend NATO territory, population and forces against threats from the air. Almost all NATO member states have their own air defence capabilities to counter a threat, but systems and operators need to train their interoperability together. This is why IAMD exercises are needed.

NATO’S IAMD is an interplay of multi-layer defensive systems, covering different altitudes and capable of creating protective layers over areas of various sizes. Applying strict procedures for deconfliction to avoid collision of simultaneous actions in the same area is key and will prevent the use of unnecessary resources.

From the outside, only containers and tents are visible, but the advance set of computers inside these shelters is the backbone of the complete simulated exercise. Photo courtesy: Royal Netherland Air Force.

Participants include personnel from AIRCOM and from headquarters and units across the Alliance. A mixture of real and simulated surface-based air and missile defence systems are all tied together in a simulation network: PATRIOT batteries from Spain, the Netherlands, Germany and Romania, NASAMS batteries from Norway, the Netherlands and Lithuania together with the US THAAD & AEGIS systems, naval forces from The Netherlands, Germany, Norway and Belgium and Command & Control units from Germany and the Netherlands. They complete the multinational mix that trains to be interconnected and handle all threats under established NATO leadership. The involved tools and systems at various locations in the Western world include all levels from the single defence unit up to the highest NATO Command levels.

From the outside, only containers and huge tents are visible, but an advanced set of computers inside these shelters and tents is the backbone of this interactive simulation exercise. Besides a realistic threat environment the JPOW set-up allows all participants to test new concepts and systems. For that purpose a complete week in the exercise is reserved for testing and experiments. The main activities will take place at the Lieutenant General Best Barracks in De Peel, home of the Dutch Ground Based Air Defence Command offering participating nations the opportunity to share knowledge, connect systems, and exercise international procedures for integrated air and missile defence, again connected with the two-yearly NATO exercise STAR23 and the RACE23 at Allied Air Command

Story by Allied Air Command Public Affairs Office

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