Between 23 May and 5 June, the Republic of Slovenia hosted the multinational exercise Adriatic Strike for the tenth consecutive time.
In the exercise, the Slovenian Armed Forces (SAF) collaborated with 26 other NATO Allied and partner Nations to provide Joint Terminal Attack Controller (JTAC) training with the support of air force capabilities.
This year’s exercise, organized and conducted by the SAF’s 15th Wing Command, trained certified JTACs, shooting platform teams, commanders up to the division level, Forward Air Controllers (FACs) and special unit members.
The exercises included 650 participants, 400 of them from Albania, Austria, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Canada, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Montenegro, the Netherlands, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Spain, Switzerland, Turkey, United Kingdom and United States of America.
JTAC training was supported by the following air force capabilities:
- Bell 206, Slovenia
- Bell 412, Slovenia and Montenegro
- Bell 505, Montenegro
- Cougar AS AL 532, Slovenia
- Eurocopter Tiger, Spain
- IAR-330 Puma, Romania
- Aero L-159, Czech Republic
- Albatros L-39, the Netherlands
- Eurofighter 2000, Italy and Germany
- F-16, United States of America
- F-18, United States of America
- Harrier, Spain
- Lear Jet 35, the Netherlands
- Pilatus PC-7, Austria
- Pilatus PC-9, Croatia, Germany and Slovenia
- Tornado, Italy
- Puma, Czech Republic
- Belin, Slovenia
- Penguin, Latvia
- Raven, Lithuania
The aircraft supporting JTAC training were based at the Cerklje ob Krki and Brnik Air Base, while the allied Pilatus PC-9 (Croatia), Eurofighter (Italy and Germany), Tornado (Italy) and F-16 (USA) supported the exercise from their parent bases. Harrier (Spain) and F-18 (USA) operated directly from aircraft carriers in the Adriatic sea, respectively from “Juan Carlos” (L-61) and “USS Truman” (CVN-75).
The basic mission of JTACs is to provide the commander in the field with an advice on the use of air and other types of fire support (sea, mortar, artillery). JTACs advise the commander on the proper use of fire support and control the operations once conducted. In the field, they provide support in the form of reconnaissance, convoy escorting and control of the surroundings so as to provide comprehensive protection of friendly forces.
Air-Land integration is vital for NATO’s defensive and deterrent posture.
For a decade, the international live-fly exercise Adriatic Strike has supported JTAC currency training ensuring they perform the mandatory live aircraft controls each year.
Live training at the multinational level with different operators and platforms is essential for both aircrew and JTACs to maintain their currency which enhances air-land cooperation.
Adriatic Strike 2022 training
The main JTAC training took place at four locations around Slovenia. At the main SAF training area in Postojna, aircraft, tanks and mortars provided fire support, while in the broad territory of the municipalities of Bohinj, Idrija and Ribnica, aircraft simulated air support.
This year’s exercise also included an uninterrupted 72-hour training of a platoon-level unit. The training took place at Cerklje ob Krki, Trbovlje, Crngrob training area, Rakov Škocjan, main SAF training area in Postojna, and ended on Thursday, 2 June at the Bloška Polica training area.
The first week of the exercise was intended for the arrival of the exercise participants, the establishment of the command and control structure and the conditions for the execution of the exercise, which took place in the wider area and airspace of the Republic of Slovenia.
At training point (TP) Bohinj, participants trained in mountaineering skills with air support. Up to 100 soldiers a day were involved at this TP. They moved around the area of the Triglav National Park, namely the Valentin Stanič mountain lodge and the surrounding area, using the established mountain trails.
At TP Idrija, joint warfare tactics training was conducted, with a focus on joint terminal attack controllers. The activities was carried out in the Zadlog area, where two forward command posts was established to train smaller units in different tactical procedures.
At TP Ribnica, the main activities were conducted in the Dobrepolje – Struška dolina area, in the municipality of Videm Dobrepolje. The exercise included some 120 soldiers with ten different military vehicles.
The main activities at TP Poček took place around Bač, Pivka, Prestranek and Postojna. Activities were conducted with a smaller number of vehicles (up to 3 at a time) and disembarked troops (up to 10 at a time). The aircraft, helicopters and drones of both Slovenian and allied forces operated over these areas within the agreed airspace. The main activities took place around the BAČ barracks and the main SAF training area in Postojna, where pre-announced ball-ammunition firing also took place.
A-TEAM (72hrs) training of military and police special forces with the support of JATCs. Mobile training was carried out in the direction of Cerklje ob Krki, Trbovlje, Crngrob, Rakov Škocjan, main SAF training area in Postojna and the Bloška Polica training area. Continuous mobile training includes some 60 soldiers using ten different military vehicles.
Photo reportage from Cerklje Ob Krki – Adriatic Strike 2022
An Open Day and a media day for exercise AS2022 were organized on Sunday 29th May and Monday 30th May at the Cerklje Ob Krki Air Base, home of the 15th Wing of Slovenian Armed Forces.
On Sunday, Cerklje Air Base saw almost all the aircraft in use by the Slovenian Air Force in operation during a static display and in-flight displays. Unfortunately the day (like the following one) was characterized by bad weather and the photographic results were not the best.
The 15th wing of Slovenska Vojska, which brings together all the Slovenian air capabilities, contributes to the surveillance of the national airspace (guaranteed by the Italian Air Force in the framework of NATO agreements for Air Policing) and guarantees the transport and tactical support capabilities of the Armed Force.
The 16th Control and Reporting Centre, the 107th Air Base, the 151st Helicopter Squadron, the 152nd Aircraft Squadron, the 153rd Maintenance Squadron and the Flight School of the Slovenian Air Force are part of the 15th Wing.
Cougar helicopter of the 151st ROTARY WING SQUADRON, a department that equipped with 4 AS532 Cougar and 8 Bell 412 deals with tactical transport, combat support, MEDEVAC and firefighting.
Pilatus PC-9 of the 152nd FIXED WING SQUADRON, a department that equipped with 9 PC-9M, 2 PC-6, 1 L410 and 1 Falcon 2000 EX deals with Combat Support, Close Air Support (CAS), Air Policing (Slow Mover Intercept), Tactical & VIP Air Transport, Combat Training and Advanced Training.
IAR-330 helicopter from Romania, engaged in the Adriatic Strike exercise. The Iar 330 SOCAT is a helicopter built by the IAR of Brașov under license, issued by the French Aérospatiale, based on the SA-330 Puma.
Slovenian Bell 206 helicopter, one of the participants in the Adriatic Strike exercise
Slovenian Bell 412, involved in the Adriatic Strike exercise
Aero L-159 ALCA of the Czech Air Force, during pre-flight operations in preparation for a CAS mission included within the activities for the Adriatic Strike 2022
Spanish Tigers and Cougar, involved in the Adriatic Strike 2022 exercise, on the apron of the Cerklje Ob Krki base
Bell 412 and Bell 505 helicopters of Montenegro Air Force, involved in the Adriatic Strike exercise
Dutch L39 Albatros and Slovenian PC9, among the participants in the Adriatic Strike exercise. The L39 is managed by the Dutch company AEC Skyline. As explained in an interesting article on The Aviationist, which I invite you to read to learn more about this company and activities by clicking here, Aec Skyline provide high end, cost effective training support, for example, by delivering Digitally Aided Close Air Support (DACAS) training
Despite the weather, which was certainly not perfect for photos, the two days in Cerklje were an excellent opportunity to get a close look at the aircraft of the Slovenian Armed Forces and and to those of the various states involved in the Adriatic Strike 2022.
In conclusion, I would like to thank all the staff for their support during the media day
Photo Luca Ocretti and Slovenian Armed Forces (Where specified)