2015 Event Review

Start 28th of September - End 06th of November 2015, 2015
Location: Italy; Spain, Portugal
Admission: Closed to the general public, accrediated media only.
Parking: N/A
Value: Excellent
 
Locations of the Trident Juncture

Trident Juncture was the largest NATO exercise since 2002, and included land, air,naval and special forces units from 33 countries (28 NATO plus five allies). More than 36,000 personnel participating in Exercise Trident Juncture 2015. The exercise was split in two parts. The kick off was on September 28 and the live military training element of the exercise opened on October 19, wraping up on November 6. The exercise included more than 230 units, more than 200 aircraft and more than 60 ships. Also included were the military industries from 15 countries to assess what other weapons could NATO need.

"The NATO is a very transparency organization" said Lt.Col Luc Gaudet from the Canadian Forces, spokesman of the exercise, "and thus under the Vienna Document 2011 rules, observers from Germany, Russia, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United States were invited. In the interest of promoting transparency, NATO has also decided to invite observers from other nations to Trident Juncture 15, including: Afghanistan, Algeria, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Brazil, Colombia, El Salvador, Japan, Kyrgyz Republic, Libya, Mauritania, Mexico, Montenegro, Morocco, Republic of Korea, Serbia, Tunisia and the United Arab Emirates."

The exercise was based on a fictitious scenario. It portrays a conflict in fictitious "East Cerasia" where one nation invades a smaller neighbour and threatens to invade yet another country. The resulting fictitious crisis is caused by competition for resources and has ethnic and religious dimensions. The scenario's implications are global, with impact on maritime navigation and energy security and risks such as terrorism and cyber attacks. In response, to the fictitious scenario the UN Security Council authorized a NATO International Support Assistance Mission to help protect the threatened states and safeguard freedom of navigation. This Mission will was simulated by the Trident Juncture 2015 exercise. 

The Aviation Magazine was there to cover the exercise at Zaragoza Air Force Base, Spain. All aircraft and helicopters were supported by the air base's ground crews. In the training area of San Gregorio, which is on the biggest military training area in Europe, for this exercise a large village was built resembling an Taliban village. To make the scenario even more realistic Spanish and US soldiers role played the part of "native" residents.

Zaragoza was very busy, one of the busiest section was the area where the US Army stationed their Apaches and Blackhawks. The US Army was supported by Belgium Agusta A-109 and Czech Mil Mi-171Sh. In additional ground attack role were the Czech Air Force with their Areo L-159 Alca's. The airspace was secured by the Spanish Air Force EF-18's. Apart from battlefield airspace security by the Spanish Air Force's EF-18's their main role was supporting the attacking friendly paratroopers in San Gregoria. Several transport aircraft were used for these missions among them five USAF C-17's used only during the media day. One of the aircraft which we found most interesting used during these missions was the Ukrainian Air Force's IL-76MD. This aircraft has the capability to fly 225 fully equipped paratroopers into the combat zone. The aircraft has two levels, which is absolutely unique. SAR and CSAR Missions were flown by Spanish Eurocopters AS332. For special missions the US Air Force brought in three brand new CV-22B's Ospreys to Zaragoza from the SOC in Mildenhall.

The Aviation Magazine would like to thank to the Spokesman of the exercise Lt. Col. Luc Gaudet (Canadian Army), Lt. Col. Marco Schmidl (German Air Force), Lt.Col Thomas Dillschneider (German Air Force), Capt Ieva Gulbiniene (Lithuanian Air Force), Maj Uwe Welter (German Army), Maj Felix Barquero for their cooperation and hospitality.

See you in Zaragoza for the NATO Tiger Meet 2016!
Performers included and staic on display:

4 x AW-109

BEL

8 x AH­-64D

USA

various AS332

ESP

2 x C130J
1 x CC-130J
1 x C-130J

USA
CAN
IT

5 x C-17

USA  (only on Media Day 04.11.2015)

4 x CH-47F

USA

various EF-18M/BM

ESP

8 x HH/UH-60

USA

1 x IL76MD

UKR

various C+ KC130H

ESP

4 x L-159 Alca

CZE

4 x Mi-171Sh

CZE

3 x CV-22B      USA
1 x C-12   USA
Report and photography byWolgang Jarisch for The Aviation Magazine

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