BOLETICE TRAINING AREA, Czech Republic -- Four AH-64 Apache attack helicopters and 60 support personnel from 2nd Battalion, 159th Aviation Regiment participated in a nine day, Joint Terminal Attack Controller (JTAC) air-to-ground live fire exercise, here, Sept. 7-18.
The goal of Ample Strike is to provide pilots and JTACs with direct live fire feedback through a realistic combat scenario. The exercise included JTACs from over 20 nations, and also Airmen from the Texas Air National Guard. Texas has worked with the Czech Republic for over 10 years as part of the U.S. European Command's state sponsorship program. This training prepares 12th CAB pilots and JTACs from our NATO allies for future multi-national deployments.
Aircrews flew five, two-hour iterations per day, in support of both dry fire and live fire JTAC certifications. The scenarios included engagements with the Apache's 30mm chain gun and a portion involving laser target designation with the Hellfire missile. The certifications are important to the JTAC operators because it gives them realistic feedback that a simulator cannot provide.
The 147th Air Support Operations Squadron from Ellington Field Joint Reserve base, Texas, has a long standing relationship with the Czech JTAC's from the 22nd Air Force base. Together, they were the lead JTAC trainers for the exercise, which led to successful executions of the Apache's attack scenario.
"Each rotation brought a new NATO ally, a new accent and new phrases which were challenging to understand," said Chief Warrant Officer 2 Matthew Black, an Apache pilot from Charlie company, 2nd Bn., 159th Avn. Regt. "Once we got the hang of it, things went smoothly."
In addition, pilots, aircrews and support personnel participated in several other training events with the Czech military which included; drivers training with the SA-6 Gainful mobile surface-to-air missile system, air-defense training with the 1S91 Radar and a formation flight with MI-24 Hinds.
Ample Strike was focused on strengthening the NATO alliance and our junior leaders through decentralized operations. The 12th CAB's ongoing participation in Operation Atlantic Resolve strengthens the partnership with our NATO allies.