Exercise Ample Strike 2020 wraps up successfully

A Joint Terminal Attack Controller lnstructor (back) works with a U.S. Tactical Air Control Party during one of the many realistic sceanrios used in the multinational Allied JTAC exercise Ample Strike in the Czech Republic.

The international Joint Terminal Attack Controller exercise Ample Strike 2020 wrapped up successfully at Namest Air Base in the Czech Republic. Participants had on two weeks of intense training that included JTAC drills and procedures integrating the air support for troops on the ground.

“Despite effective COVID-19-related preventative measures and the reduced number of JTAC trainees — fifty percent less than usually — we conducted the exercise successfully, providing much needed currency training and practical experience for Allied JTACs,” said Ample Strike 2020 Exercise Director Colonel Ales Capal. “Due to the favourable weather, but mainly due to the excellent team cooperation and the perfect approach of the soldiers of all security units, the goals of the Ample Strike 2020 exercise were fully achieved, ” he added.

During the exercise, Boletice training area saw constant activities day and night involving Allied aircraft flying close air support mission against targets and in support of commanders of ground units. Ample Strike 2020 was focused on the conduct of combined air operations in accordance with NATO standards. This placed greater demands on the joint planning of ground and air elements to ensure effective coordination of manoeuvre and fire and achieve the desired outcome.

Twelve JTAC teams from six NATO members conducted more than 800 successful control missions during nine exercise days. Allied aircraft crews performed 265 flights totalling more than 370 flight hours. Ample Strike 2020 took place enabled by 23 helicopters and aircraft and 130 pieces of ground equipment.

Mi-24 attack helicopters and Mi-171 transport helicopters from 22nd Helicopter Air Base at Namest nad Oslavou were most involved transporting personnel and materiel to the various training sites.

Coordinating ground forces’ engagement with close air support is a key task for a Joint Terminal Attack Controller. Ample Strike 2020 offered ample opportunities to practice Allied Air-Land-Integration during challenging scenarios.

Czech JAS-39 and L-159 fighter jets, tactical German Eurofighter and Tornado aircraft as well as Slovak Mi-17 helicopters integrated their firepower with ground mortars. Significant support was also drawn from German PC-9 Pilatus and LJ-35 Learjet training aircraft based at Namest, and the U.S. Army MQ-9 Reaper drone, which flew in from a military base in Poland. Multinational air-to-air refuelling of JAS-39 fighters and a U.S. Air Force KC-135 tanker aircraft rounded off the training activities.