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By Bob den Engelsman (DMAPS) and Erich Seitz (JBG-32)

 
From Monday the 3rd until Thursday the 13th of Mai 2004 exercise ELITE 2004 took place in the Southern Region of Germany. The Live Flying Exercise took place in the Region of Bayern and Baden-Würtenberg and for the ground troops/weapon systems were situated in the Region of Heuberg and Münsingen. (Germany’s highest exercise area for ground troops/weapon systems).

What is exercise ELITE 2004?

ELITE is a complex high profile Electronic Warfare Live Training Exercise.

It represents a special high point of used education and continued education of the flying units, the commanding personnel and operational personnel of the anti-aircraft ground-air missile groups. With -near to- real and complex scenarios, the co-operation of all the different Nations Weapons systems is being practiced. Goal of this complex exercise is to determine if the participating units are capable to perform under these -near to- real circumstance, as all counter measure Weapons systems are being used to make the exercise as real as possible for the flying units and the ground troops. Due to the the growing number of participants for this exercise, it has become the leading exercise of its kind within NATO. During the exercise new elements in Electronic Warfare are being practiced and new Tactics are being developed. The efficiency and affectedness of the individual units are being upgraded just because of the fact that they are present at this exercise and all the elements needed for such a complex exercise are present too.

Flight business began at Lechfeld AB on Friday the 30th of April. During that day all the participating pilots had a special briefing in regard of the specifics in German Air Space in and around the area of this exercise. Flying personal NOT present at this briefing was not allowed to fly during the exercise. The announced aircraft from Sweden, Greece, Turkey, Great Britain, Italy as well as of the Aufklärungsgeschwader 51 "I" out of Jagel/Germany had all arrived with their pilots and technical personnel safe in Lechfeld previous to this briefing. After the briefing, Familiarization Flights began for the participating flight crews. Next to NATO countries also Austria, Slovak Republic and Switzerland with different airplanes and ground troops/weapons systems participated powers in this unique exercise organized by  the German Air Force. Poland and Hungary have send observers for the exercise.

On Monday 3rd of  May, the actual exercise began with a first mass launch, described by Lt. General Walter Jertz, responsible as a commander of the Air Forces leadership commander for the exercise;  "this looks like how it goes on an aircraft carrier". This was because of the additional 28 aircraft present at the Air Base for this exercise, operating from all possible places.

Two Air Space corridors were especially reserved for the exercise. Depending on the visibility and weather during each exercise day, one of these corridors was used in order to get to the exercise area. In these corridors the pilots were allowed to fly as low as 500 feet (150 meters), at the actual exercise area, under strict conditions they were allowed to go as low as 250 feet (75 meters). 

The following units were present at Lechfeld AB during exercise ELITE 2004:

Greece / Hellenic Air Force:

The Greek were represented through 341 Squadron / 111 Combat Wing of the Neon Anchialos Air base. The unit was present with three (2/1) F-16C/D and 38 men personnel (7 pilots and 31 technicians). In June 2004 the 50th anniversary of 341 Squadron is celebrated.

Italy / Italian Air Force:

The Italians are represent through 155 Squadron / 50o Stormo based at Piacenza. They are with 6 aircraft of the Type TORNADO ECR and 53 men personnel (20 pilot/navigators and 33 technicians). This is their 7th  participation with an ELITE exercise. 

Great Britain / Royal Air Force:


The British are represented through IX (B) Squadron out of Marham Norfolk. They are present with 6  TORNADO GR 4 and 90 men personnel (13 pilot/navigators and 77 technicians). It is their 5th participation with the exercise. This year, in 2004, IX (B) celebrates the 90th anniversary of the Squadron.

 

Turkey / Turkish Air Force:

The Turkish are represented through 151 Filo of 5th Merzifon Main base. They are with 6 aircraft (4/2) F-16C/D and 49 men personnel (19 pilots and/or ground support personnel and 30 technicians). 

 

Sweden / Swedish Air Force:

The Sweden are represent through F 21 Wing 211 Squadron / Norrbotton Flygflottilj out of Lulea, Lappland. They are present with 4 Saab 37 Viggens (Tk-37E) and 42 men personnel (21 flight crew and/or ground crew as well as 21 technicians). This is their second participation in a ELITE exercise.

Germany / German Air Force:

The German Air Force is represented through 2 TORNADOS RECCE of the Aufklärungsgeschwader 51 (AG-51) out of Jagel, through 4 helicopters Bo-105P of the battle helicopter regiment 36 (HFR-36) out of Fritzlar as well as through TORNADO ECR from Jagdbombergeschwader 32 (JBG-32) out of Lagerlechfeld.

Country Weapon system Unit Operating from
Austria Saab-105ÖE
SKYGUARD/RAC-3D
Fl.reg.3
Linz AB
Heuberg area
Czech Republic VERA S/M    
France 1x  C-160R Transall
Mirage-2000D
CROTALE
ASPIC
ET-64
EdC.003

Landsberg AB
Nancy AB
Heuberg
Heuberg
Germany CRC
CRC
ECR Tornado
RECCE Tornado
IDS Tornado
CH-53G
Bo-105P
F-4F
SA-6 (Poloygone)
SA-8 (Polygone)
PATRIOT
HAWK
ROLAND
OZELOT/LÜR
STINGER
JAMCAR
JBG-32
AG-51
JBG-33/JBG-31
HFR-25
HFR-36
JG-71





Meßstetten
Schönewalde
Lechfeld AB
Lechfeld AB
Büchel,Nörvenich AB
Laupheim Heli Base
Lechfeld AB
Neuberg AB
Heuberg
Heuberg
Heuberg
Leipheim
Heuberg
Heuberg
Heuberg
Greece 2/1   F-16CG/DG 341MPAK111/Pte Lechfeld AB
Hungary Obeserver    
Italy 6x  ECR Tornado 155Gr/50St Lechfeld AB
The Netherlands 1x  C-130H
1x  Fokker F-60
Cougar
Patriot
Stinger
334Sqn
334Sqn
300Sqn

Eindhoven AB
Eindhoven AB
Laupheim Heli Base
Heuberg
Münsingen
Norway 1x  Da-20
NASAMS
717Skv
Neuberg AB
Heuberg
Poland Observer    
Portugal EC-212   Neuberg AB
Slovak Republic ROLAND
IGLA
  Heuberg
Heuberg
Spain 1x CN-295 Ala-35 Landsberg AB
Sweden 4x Tk-37E Viggen
Giraffe
RBS-90
JAMCAR
F-21


Lechfeld AB

Heuberg
Switserland F/A-18C/D
Cougar
FlSt-11
LTSt-6
Dübendorf AB
Dübendorf/Laupheim
Turkey 4/2  F-16C/D 151Filo/5Aju Lechfeld AB
Great Britain 6x Tornado GR-4
Rapier
9Sqn
Lechfeld AB
Heuberg
United States of America F-16CJ   Spangdahlem AB
NATO E-3A/E-3D
TRACSVAN
NAEWF
Geilenkirchen AB
Civil 2x  Da-20 (FRA)
3x  LR-35/LR-36(GFD)
2x  LR-35/LR-36
(Phoenix Air)
  Neuburg AB
 

We would like to thank Oberstleutnant Bokelman for his assistance and especially thank Chief Master Sergant Erich Seitz, Public Relations Officer from Fighter Bomber Wing 32 ECR at Lecfeld AB.
Without the GREAT photographs he took on the days the sun DID shine this article would not have been put together as weather circumstances were again very poor at the media day/photo day!!!!

MOST PHOTOGRAPHS ARE TAKEN BY CHIEF MASTER SERGANT ERICH SEITS