Ample Strike 2017 exercise concluded after 600 flight hours and hundreds of air missions

Autor: Nuala Casey and Oldrich Holecek

The Ample Strike international air force and forward air controllers‘ exercise have brought joint coordination of air and ground forces to a higher level. The three-week exercise was conducted at over six Czech locations, and 39 participating aircraft almost daily also set out from Germany, Great Britain, Hungary and Poland.

U.S. B-52 bomber over Namest 22nd Helicopter Base
U.S. B-52 bomber over Namest 22nd Helicopter Base

"We began these types of exercises 15 years ago. In 2002, we had eight aircraft and only one Czech team of forward air controllers cooperating with British teams. Now, we have 39 aircraft from 18 countries comprising more than 1,200 soldiers taking part," said the Director of the exercise, Colonel Zdenek Bauer, when addressing the media before the exercise.

This year, for the first time, Active Reserve units from both the Regional Military Headquarters and the Air Force participated in Ample Strike. Their support and protection duties enabled the professional soldiers to fully pursue their own designated exercise scenarios.

The exercise specifically focused on advanced training techniques. One hundred and twenty forward air controllers were divided into 20 teams. The close air support scenarios for ground forces concentrated on accomplishing air-ground mutual coordination in urban areas; this being the most challenging task.

"We must know exactly how and when to make the right decision and put forward the best recommendations while under time pressure during a combat situation," explained forward air controller, Captain David Broum.

Other missions included ground air defence training and achieving and ensuring air superiority and supremacy.

  • Time: 23rd August - 12th September 2017

    Personnel: Up to 1,300 soldiers including 200 Czech reservists from Regional Military Commands and Air Force units. About 300 foreign soldiers participated

    Participation: 18 countries (Canada, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finalnd, France, Germany, Great Britain, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia and the United States of America).

- - -

By Nuala Casey and Oldrich Holecek

September 15, 2017