An international air force exercise, dubbed Ample Strike 2016 (AMSE16), involving 1,500 troops from 17 NATO member and partner states started on Tuesday in the Czech Republic.
The aim of AMSE16 is to hone the interactions between ground-based forward air controllers and the crews on board planes and helicopters, which are tasked with striking ground targets of hypothetical opponents.
The aircraft involved in the exercises will depart from airfields in the United Kingdom, Germany and Hungary as well as from the Czech Republic. “The aircraft coming for drills from abroad will not use artillery. Those participants deployed on the Czech territory will have guns on board,” Col. Zdenek Bauer, from the Czech Air Force, who is coordinating drills, told local media ahead of the drills.
The Czech troops will send 10 helicopters and planes to participate in the exercises, including L-159 ALCA, L-39 Albatros, SAAB-39 Gripen, Mil Mi-24/35 a Mi-171. Foreign troops will be represented by 24 jets and helicopters, including Lithuanian L-39, German PC-9, LearJet and Tornado, Polish Su-22, Hungarian SAAB-39 Gripen, Slovenian PC-9, US AH-64 helicopters and a KC-135R tanker, B-1 and B-52 planes.
The AMSE16 will wrap up on September 20.
In 2003-2015, NATO has led a series international air force exercises in the Czech Republic, including Flying Rhino, Ramstein Rover and Ample Strike.