NATO Exercise Ramstein Rover Begins Soon in Czech Republic

aco 8 19 13 Ramstein RoverFrom 2 to 20 September 2013 a new edition of NATO’s Ramstein Rover (RARO) exercise series for Forward Air Controllers (FACs) will take place in the Czech Republic, where it had already been conducted last year. RARO13 is organised by NATO’s Single Allied Air Command (AIRCOM) at Ramstein Air Base, Germany, in coordination with the Czech Air Force. During RARO13 some 30 fighter and support aircraft as well as FACs on the ground from 20 NATO nations involving about 500 men and women plus Host Nation support personnel will encounter challenging scenarios to improve their skills in the cooperation of air and land forces. “NATO is very pleased with the invitation by the Czech Republic to again conduct this indispensable major exercise at 22nd Air Base Namest nad Oslavou,” explains the RARO13 Exercise Director from HQ AIRCOM, the German Air Force Colonel (GS) MSc Harry H. Schnell. “Last year we made extraordinary experiences here, so we are more than happy to return to 22nd Air Base and operate at the excellent and most suitable training areas at Libava, Boletice, Prerov and Bechyne. We can draw on last year’s exercise ensuring an improved standard for the preparation and conduct of challenging three-week training. The conditions are still ideal to ensure state-of-the-art training for FAC.”

The Czech Republic as Host Nation is very glad and honoured that this exercise takes place again in the Bohemian region. “Ramstein Rover13 brings a great opportunity for the Czech Air Force to repeat the professional work from last year’s event and continue to further develop our vital capabilities,” says Colonel Libor Stefanik, Czech Air Force Commander. “In addition, we can examine in this multinational exercise our national ability to host and support such a complex training activity.”

NATO intends to maintain and even expand this capability, which is aimed at minimising damages in an operation and which can save lives. A capability not only needed for its current mission in Afghanistan, which is winding down at the end of 2014, but also for any possible future deployment.

The Exercise Director and several from his 20-strong team from AIRCOM are identical to last year’s staff. This ensures a well-proven command and control setup allowing an even more intensive and efficient training. “Conducting RARO in the Czech Republic for the second time shows that the younger NATO nations are successfully up to the major challenge of staging such a demanding exercise,” says Col Schnell.

Ramstein Rover 13 is an advanced training opportunity to exercise Close Air Support (CAS) and FAC capabilities. It provides realistic pre-deployment training for FACs to be soon deployed to NATO’s ISAF operation in Afghanistan. The aim of RARO13 is to provide a measurable increase in proficiency, standardization and interoperability for FACs from NATO, Partnership for Peace (PfP) and ISAF troop contributing nations. RARO13 is a live-fly exercise during which NATO jet aircraft and helicopters will pro-vide the full-spectrum of day and night training for air and ground crews in real-world and complex scenarios.