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What? ELITE Exercise
Where? Southern Germany
When? June 2005
Electronic Live Warfare Training Exercise
Ten years after ist first edition in 1995 ELITE (Electronic Warfare Live Training Exercise) is still going strong. Organized by the German Luftwaffe this years exercise involved participants from 19 countries that are mainly based in southern Germany around the Heuberg training range south of Stuttgart. The main base for the involved aircraft is Lagerlechfeld, home of the German ECR Tornados, which hosted this year as well Greek and Turkish F-16s, Italian ECR Tornados and, for the very last time, Swedish Sk37E Viggens and a Saab 340 ERIEYE AEW aircraft.
From the nearby Neuburg base several Phantoms of all the different German squadrons were based as well as Spanish Mirage F.1, Belgian F-16s and the GFD and FRA Learjets and Falcons. More foreign aircraft participation involved also Swiss and Finish Hornets in Dübendorf. Besides the more than 70 jets helicopters and transport aircraft like C-160s from Germany and a Polish Casa 295 were involved as well.
The aim of the ELITE exercise is to develop and test new tactics under realistic threats. To reach this goal numerous ground-air missiles were placed on the Heuberg range. These constisted not only of western types like the Patriot, Roalnd or Rapier missiles, but also of SA-6 and SA-7 that were used by the participating Czech and Polish forces.
After a detailed daily planning and coordination several COMAO hit the aerial defence at the Heuberg range that prepared demanding scenarios and took the chance to reevaluate its tactics. The operations consisted for example of Viggens that circeled the area providing ECM support for low flying HARM-equipped ECR Tornados , all being protected by the F-18s against the 'enemy' Phantoms. Other scenarios were trained by the helicopter crews when two Bo 105 escorted a Dutch Cougar or low flying CH-53 that penetrated the range under threats resulting and huge amounts ao flares and chaff being ejected.
Their last call: Swedish Viggens
Saab 340 AEW
Due to its realistic scenarios the ELITE exercise attracts more and more participants every year who have the possibility to train exhaustively for future, even more realistic, missions.
During the exercise I have had the possibility during a spotterday and basevisits to get a look behind the scenes and take the photos that are presented here.
The spotterday at Lagerlechfeld, home of the JaboG32, was of special interest because this year was the last one with the presence of the very interesting Viggens. 4 of them were based during ELITE there and fortunately the photographers and fans were given the possibility to take photos of them on the runway and on the ramp!
My sincere thanks go to all the involved GAF personal for their support during my visits!!
Tornados fast & low
F-16s & F-4F & FRA Falcon 20c
Transall releasing chaff & flares
Please note that these photos were taken inside the training area which is not open to the public!
Published: 23 May 2007