Namest nad Oslavou, South Moravia, Aug 21 (CTK) – Up to 1300 soldiers from 18 allied and partner countries are to participate in the three-week Ample Strike 2017 exercise that starts on Wednesday, August 23, its spokeswoman Denisa Vernerova told CTK on Monday.

The exercise will focus on the cooperation of forward air controllers, aircraft crews and commanders of ground forces. It will be held for the fourth time now.

Ample Strike follows the series of Ramstein Rover and Flying Rhino exercises that were organised on the NATO level from 2002, Vernerova said.

The pilots will train in-flight refuelling and getting over enemy’s air defence. The Czech military will test its capability to provide logistic support to foreign troops within the exercise.

The main part of the training will be held from August 28 to September 8. Czech troops and reserve troops and nearly 300 foreign soldiers will take part in it.

The exercise will take place in the military grounds of Boletice and Libava, at the Namest and Caslav air bases, the Sedlec helicopter base, the Pardubice military airport and the sapper base in Bechyne.

Czech L-159 ALCA planes, Mi- helicopters and Gripen fighter jets as well as Lithuanian L-39 aircraft, German Pilatus PC-9s, LearJets and Tornados, Polish Sukhoi Su-22s, Hungarian Gripens and Slovenian PC-9s will be part of the exercise.

The U.S. military confirmed that a AH-64 Apache helicopter and B-1B and B-52 strategic bombers would join the exercise, Vernerova said. Two Boeing KC-135 Stratotankers will make aerial refueling possible.