The fourth edition of the NATO air exercise series RAMSTEIN ALLOY started over Lithuania on Tuesday, Apr. 25, 2017. Until the following day, allied Air Forces practiced drills and routines that are required to handle standard situations such as intercepting aircraft in distress, search and rescue events as well as command and control procedures. Aircraft from six different Allies, the Netherlands, Germany, Norway, Poland, Lithuania and the U.S. took part in this tri-annual training event. They were supported by a NATO E-3 AWACS aircraft and ground controllers from all three Baltic States.
RAMSTEIN ALLOY 4 is aimed to exercise Baltic Air Policing alert aircraft as well as to enhance relations and interoperability among allied Air Forces. Currently, detachments of the air forces of the Netherlands and Germany are stationed in Lithuania and Estonia, ready to launch if any aircraft is operating in an unidentified, unusual or unsafe manner. Air Policing is a NATO wide air safety and security measure. Designated jets launch in response to military or civilian aircraft that don’t properly identify themselves, have not filed proper flight plans or lost communication with Air Traffic Control.
Exercise RAMSTEIN ALLOY 4 provides the opportunity to train these procedures and drills with multiple Allies.
“I would like to pay tribute to the airmen and women of all nations who have supported this important mission” says Air Commodore Paddy Teakle, Deputy Commander of NATO Airborne Early Warning and Control Force. “Through their efforts we have and will continue to keep the skies above us secure and safe to the benefit of us all” he added in his statement to invited journalists.
On day one of the exercise fighter jets of both Baltic Air Policing detachments, of the Koninklijke Luchtmacht (Royal Netherlands Air Force), based in Lithuania and of the Luftwaffe (German Air Force), based in Estonia, participated in a COMLOSS training event with a transport aircraft of the Lithuanian Airforce. A COMLOSS event is a real world scenario in which an aircraft loses communication with ground controls and requires identification or assistance in the air. Furthermore participants trained search and rescue procedures around a simulated aircrew ejection, involving a Lithuanian Search-and-Rescue helicopter. During so-called practice diversions military aircraft conducted low approaches to different airfields to train procedures and cooperation with local air traffic control. A NATO AWACS aircraft provided airborne command and control of the training flights.
On the second day of the exercise, jets from NATO members Norway and Poland entered the exercise log with a tanker of the U.S. Air Force (USAF), providing the opportunity to train air to air refuelling.
The RAMSTEIN ALLOY exercise series began in 2016 as a sequel of the successful BALTIC REGION TRAINING EVENT (BRTE). It is held three times a year in each of the three Baltic States. As Baltic Air Policing detachments rotate on a four months term, the exercise series provides the opportunity to exercise with various Allies in each edition.
Photo credit: NATO
Artwork courtesy of AircraftProfilePrints.com
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