Allied Air Command | NATO trains Belgian aircraft to deal with electronic warfare environment

RAMSTEIN, Germany – NATO conducted its regular electronic warfare (EW) training exercise Ramstein Guard in Belgium from July 11-15, 2022, allowing participating Belgian crews and screening personnel to operate if their systems are jammed by an adversary .

This training effort is designed primarily to strengthen NATO’s shield, integrated air and missile defense system

The Belgian Air Force has developed a robust and integrated training scenario for the “Ramstein Guard 07” exercise in order to maximize training with the means and personnel available. Led by NATO’s Combined Air Operations Center (CAOC) in Uedem, the exercise aims to force participants to overcome the impacts of jamming while operating effectively.

JEWCS Technician prepares the jamming pod under the wing of a DRAKEN Europe DA-20 Falcon jet during exercise Ramstein Guard 2022 in Belgium. Photo courtesy JEWCS.
The civilian contractor DRAKEN Europe supports NATO's EW training exercises enabling meaningful training for all Allies on how to survive and operate under an EW impact. 
Photo by DRAKEN Europe.
A Belgian A400M transport aircraft was exposed to a simulated EW threat during exercise Ramstein Guard 2022 allowing the crew to test their radar warning receiver. Archive photon by Kristof Moens.
Belgian F-16 fighter jets flew training manoeuvres such as a slow mover escort mission with the A400M and had to shield their communications against a simulated EW threat. Archive photo by Michael Moors.

“We are conducting realistic scenarios simulating joint multinational fighter transport operations against a robust EW threat from ground and air threats,” said Captain Nick Droogers, Belgian EW and Mission Support Officer. “This requires our aircrews and controllers to use on-board warning devices and to develop and validate specific enhanced tactics, techniques and procedures (TTPs) to deal with the challenges posed by jamming activities. We basically train pilots to discover and avoid these threats.” he added.

Two main facilitators help implement this NATO training. Civilian contractor Draken Europe operates one FA-20 Falcon jet aircraft, which NATO commits to support each training iteration. “Our Falcon carries jamming pods that can jam other aircraft’s radars in flight, or they can jam different radars on the ground,” said Nigel Cunningham of Draken Europe. “They also provide communication scrambling forcing participants to adapt their TTPs,” he added.

The second enabler is the Joint EW Core Staff (JEWCS), an international military headquarters based in the UK. “JEWCS supports all NATO EW exercises, usually conducted by CAOCs or Nations and we have been providing EW training since 1983,” said US Navy Lieutenant Commander Jason Maier, who works at JEWCS. . “This training effort is designed primarily to reinforce the NATO Shield, Integrated Air and Missile Defense System (NATINAMDS), by providing introductory combat advice training or maintaining the recognized air image in a contested electromagnetic environment,” he concluded.

“Under the overall umbrella of Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe, CAOCs Uedem and Torrejón conduct the exercise approximately 12 times a year to provide tailored training in an electronic warfare environment to Allied forces throughout Europe,” said Lt. Col. Fredrik Thomter, Allied Air Command project officer responsible for scheduling the series of exercises. “It’s actually more of an ongoing training program that the Alliance provides for forces assigned to NATINAMDS, particularly those involved in NATO Response Force operations,” he said. added.

“All of the Ramstein Guard exercise series facilitators are working closely together to assure NATO and its member nations that NATINAMDS training will be at the forefront of technology and tactical prowess,” said Lt. -Colonel Thomter in conclusion. “Feedback from nations is generally very positive, as Ramstein Guard provides a unique and valuable training opportunity for nations that do not have advanced jammers in their own inventory to self-train,” a- he summarized.

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