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US B-52s, German Eurofighters to join annual exercise in Czechia

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Prague, July 13 (CTK) – U.S. B-52 bomber planes and German Eurofighters will join the Ample Strike international military exercise in Czechia on September 3-14, in which a total of 1,300 troops will take part, including 350 from abroad, Ample Strike spokeswoman Zuzana Spackova has told CTK.

The annual exercise’s goal is to train coordination of forward air controllers’ operation with aircraft crews and ground units’ command.

Forward air controllers rank among elite troops with the task to inform pilots about the bombing targets and navigate them accordingly. They often operate in the combat zone or an enemy-occupied area.

“This year, we are copying our well-proved experience from the previous years, we plan no novelties. To maintain the present quality of the exercise, we would not raise the number of the states involved, although more and more of them have shown interest in the participation every year,” the exercise’s director Zdenek Gabriel said.

The training will take place in the military areas of Boletice, south Bohemia, and Libava, north Moravia, at the 21st tactical air force base in Caslav, at the Pardubice airport, both east of Prague, and at the 15th engineering battalion base in Bechyne, south Bohemia.

Apart from career soldiers, it will be joined by members of active reserves.

A total of 18 countries have confirmed their participation, including the USA, Britain, Canada and Germany.

“Support for the ground units will be also newly provided by the German EF 2000 Eurofighter planes. Of course, crucial will be the participation of the U.S. military forces, which have envisaged to send in the F-16 planes,” Gabriel said, adding that U.S. long-range bombers B-52 will also join the exercise.

Aircraft support to the exercising troops will also be provided by the Czech L-159s, Gripen fighters and Mi-24/35 combat helicopters. Poland will send in Su-22s, Slovenia PC-9s. Britain will contribute with the Hawk planes and a simulator for forward air controllers’ training.

The aircraft will be mainly flying on working days from 09:00 to 23:00.

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