By Capt. Jaymon Bell (12th Combat Aviation Brigade)September 16, 2016
LIBAVA, Czech Republic -- Five AH-64 Apache attack helicopters and 60 support personnel from the 12th Combat Aviation Brigade participated in Ample Strike 16, here, Sept. 5-16.
Ample Strike 16 is the third iteration of a Czech Republic-led Joint Terminal Attack Controller (JTAC) air-to-ground live fire exercise with over 1,500 participants from 18 countries. The goal of Ample Strike is to provide pilots and JTACs with direct live fire feedback through the execution of a realistic combat scenario.
JTAC control of rotary wing attack and fixed wing fighter and bomber fires assets is a critical combat capability in NATO which enables ground force commander direction of available air forces to generate lethal effects.
Helicopters from Bravo Company, 1st Battalion, 3rd Aviation Regiment, 12th CAB, flew multiple, two-hour iterations per day, in support of both dry fire and live fire JTAC certifications.
The battlefield scenarios included a Czech T-72 main battle tank, four BMP-1 infantry fighting vehicles, and numerous Czech Soldiers as the opposing force. This increases the training value for the JTAC's and for the Apache pilots.
The JTACs maneuvered on the enemy during each iteration with support from fixed wing or rotary wing air support. They were engaged by the BMP-1 at close distance and later had to deal with the T-72 that was over two kilometers away.
This live scenario provides JTAC's and pilots instant feedback that is not gained during computer based training. It also provides an accurate representation of armored vehicle heat signatures.
The Czech Republic, Germany, Hungary, Poland, Slovenia and Lithuania also contributed aircraft to the exercise.
Echo Company, 1st Bn., 3rd Avn. Regt., also conducted valuable training through a 400 mile convoy with 15 vehicles and establishing Forward Arming and Refueling Points in an austere environment.
The 1st Battalion, 3rd Aviation Regiment, "Attack Reconnaissance," 12th CAB provides essential close air support to NATO ground forces, but also represents a lethal maneuver formation capable of defeating enemy armor on the battlefield.
The 12th Combat Aviation Brigade trains and conducts aviation support across the full spectrum of unified land operations for United States Army Europe, European Command, NATO, and in support of CENTCOM, AFRICOM and other contingency locations around the globe.