Brilliant Arrow is the final preparation exercise for the NATO Response Force 2012 (NRF 2012), which will start in 2012 under German command.
In the days when the Brilliant Arrow 2011 exercise was scheduled for September 2011, the world looked a bit different than today. The NATO deployments towards Libya (Operation UNIFIED PROTECTOR), decreased the number of participants dramatically. From a multinational, multi-airbase exercise, the size was decreased to a single-country deployment of 5 Turkish F-16s to Wittmund (Germany). 6 Eurofighters form FighterWing 74 at Neuburg (Germany) moved for 2 weeks to the Nörvenich airbase (Germany), to join up with 2 Eurofighters of that airbase. And the other participating jet-fighters would fly from their homebases (German Typhoons, German Tornados, German F-4s and Belgian F-16s). The support aircraft like the E-3A AWACS, German C-160, German Airbus MRTT and USAFE KC-135's flew from their homebases as well.
Initially , the exercise was organized by the Command Center at Ramstein AB (Headquarters Allied Air Command Ramstein, CC AIR Ramstein), but due to Operation UNIFIED PROTECTOR , the planning was transferred to the German Joint Forces Air Component Headquarters in June (location near Kalkar, Germany). This caused some serious problems due to the limited availability of the staff. But fortunately this didn't result in a cancellation of the exercise; it did however result in a smaller sized exercise.
The aims of the Brilliant Arrow 2011 exercise are:
- To integrate and to confirm unit's interoperability and to validate readiness and capabilities of the NRF 2012 nominated forces under NRF 2012 JFAC by exercising NRF missions and tasks.
- To support NRF 2012 certification plan.
More than 1300 military personnel work at various locations, to bring 29 assigned fighters to the air for 2 missions per day.
A "special" feature which sets BAW 11 apart from previous NRF Live Flying Exercises is the provision of a detailed tactical Debriefing capability which is close to ACMI/Red Flag capabilities.
This is achieved by collecting all mission datas from participating aircraft via Flight Profile Recorders. These data are combined with each other to give a detailed view of the execution of the missions. Via VTC all units have access to this information and the mission commander can utilize this to debrief the mission.
A Media Day was held on Wittmund airbase (Germany, ICAO: ETNT), home of the 71th FighterWIng "Richthofen", whereby the Turkish F-16s could be photographed. The weather deteriorated, the little morning sun disappeared soon, turning the day into a dull grey day.
Thanks to the German Air Force Press Agency, Wittmund Air Base and LtKol Feja of the German Air Force Air Operations Command.
G.J.A. van Boven
© Sentry Aviation News