AMSE14 – NATO and Czech Senior Military Praise FAC Training

Autor: Oldrich Holecek

The international exercise Ample Strike 2014 picks up speed. 1,300 exercise participants from the twelve NATO nations are now focused on training Forward Air Controllers (FACs) and aircraft and helicopter crews to coordinate Close Air Support (CAS) procedures for troops on the ground.

The figures make the exercise’s high intensity evident: more than 30 sub-scenarios were conducted on one day; FACs executed 130 real and 40 simulated control runs guiding aircraft weapons into targets; almost 50 aircraft sorties were generated totaling over 60 hours of airtime.

"The sub-scenario exercises take place in four training locations and uses three sophisticated FAC simulators. We have a most complete and most realistic training environment with live ammunitions at Boletice and Libavá military training areas,” says Exercise Director Colonel Miroslav Svoboda, adding that training activities also take place at observation posts in Bechyne near Boletice and Vicenice close to Namest Air Base, where the so-called “dry CAS missions” involve inert ammunitions.

The relevance of exercise AMSE14 is underlined by the attendance of top national and NATO representatives at the Distinguished Visitor Day at 22nd Helicopter Base at Namest on Wednesday, 10 September. The event was attended by US General Frank Gorenc, NATO ‘s Air Commander, General Petr Pavel, the Chief of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of the Czech Republic, and Brigadier General Libor Stefanik, the Commander of the Czech Air Force.

The Distinguished Visitors were briefed about the Czech Armed Forces and their contributions to the Alliance by the head of Air Force Combat Training, Colonel Peter Tomanek, and, subsequently, received update on AMSE14 by the Exercise Director, Colonel Miroslav Svoboda. Briefingswere followed by a demonstration of sophisticated FAC simulation technology, the so-called JTAC Advanced Training System.

During a meet the press event, General Gorenc praised the ability of NATO FACs and the Czech military units which provided support to foreign forces during the exercise. “One of the main tasks of the Alliance Air Headquarters is to achieve the highest efficiency in the interaction of ground and air forces,” said General Gorenc. “This is exactly what exercise Ample Strike 2014 is about and why it places so much emphasis on training FACs in conditions that are close to a possible operational environment. Although we change from combat operations to train and assist in Afghanistan, it is important that we maintain the experience gained."

General Pavel appreciated the multiple benefits of AMSE14 for the Czech armed forces. “The main positive aspect for us is the complexity of the exercise,” he said. According to him, AMSE14 prepares the Czech armed forces extremely well for an international deployment and it offers high efficiency at very reasonable costs. “We will also have to exploit the unique capabilities of FACs,” he added. “This capability is crucial not only for combat operations, but also for other missions like humanitarian ones. These mission involve effective CAS, but also different types of evacuation and extraction from danger zones. The role of these specialists is increasingly necessary.”

While General Gorenc returned to Allied Air Command at Ramstein, Germany, after the event, General Pavel went to the Libavá training area for a demonstration of tactical FAC training in a complex “hot” scenario with live ammunitions supported by Czech infantry troops.

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Author: Pavel Lang, Communication and Promotion Department of MoD

Photos: Jan Kouba, Communication and Promotion Department of MoD

Posted: September 10, 2014

Ample Strike 2014

Autor: Jan Kouba

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