Each year, around May/June, ELITE (ELectronic Warfare LIve Training Exercise) takes place in southern Germany. The counties of Baden-Württemberg and Bayern are the main areas of this international exercise that started in 1991 and grew to a very well-known and respected multinational one. This year the exercise consisted of both an air-part and a ground-part, which would come together at the 'Truppenübungsplatz (ground exercise area) Heuberg' between 04 May and 18 May 2006.
The air-part consisted of around seventy jet fighters, propeller aircraft and helicopters, hosted by the following airbases in Germany:
Helicopters were based at Laupheim (Dutch/Swiss Cougars, Dutch AH-64s and German CH-53/BO-105). Homebase flyers were German Tornados and F-4s, French E-3 AWACS from Avord.
Flying two missions per day, the exercise started with some familiarisation flights to get the foreign aircrews acquainted to the German airfields, traffic control and regulations.
During the exercise, the ground location 'Truppenübungsplatz Heuberg' was heavily attacked by participating ELITE aircraft. There were over a hundred different Electronic Counter Measurement (ECM) and Surface to Air Missile (SAM) sites located at the Heuberg from the ten participating ground forces, totaling 1,700 soldiers. Various systems like CROTALE (France), ROLAND (Germany), GIRAFFE (Sweden), Patriot/Stinger (NL), SA-7 (Poland), etc., were located at the large fifty-square kilometer compound. Low-level limits were reduced to 500 feet (150m) for jets and 50 feet (15m) for helicopters, so all kind of realistic scenarios could be tested by both aircrews and groundcrews.
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