DOBEX / VOLCANEX 16 ran from 17 to 25 October 16 at Lechfeld Air Base, Bavaria and saw a 640-strong, eight-nation coalition take part in training for the build up and protection of a Deployed Operating Base in a simulated, semi-permissive environment.
The seven European Air Group Member Nations and Norway worked together to test and improve their tactical interoperability in the Air Force Force Protection domain and also their readiness to deploy as a multi-national force if required.
The Exercise was coordinated from a Combined Joint Operation Centre (CJOC) which was based on NATO’s Air Tactical Publication 3.3.6. “NATO FORCE PROTECTION DOCTRINE FOR AIR OPERATIONS”. The CJOC coordinated all C2 aspects and Force Protection elements, directed communications, conducted patrols, and responded to exercise scenarios that included opposing forces, improvised explosive devices, surface-to-air (MANPAD) threats and indirect fire threats from outside the wire.
As the host for DOBEX/ VOLCANEX, the Luftwaffe provided excellent support and the Lechfeld Air Base and the adjacent military training areas were extremely effective environments for Force Protection training. Force elements had freedom of manoeuvre within the air base perimeter fence line and off base, enabling them to practise techniques for dominating the Ground Defence Area and ensuring the safe arrival and departure of aircraft.
The German Objektschutzregiment der Luftwaffe Friesland, one of the key enablers, provided an all-embracing logistical and operational footprint for the DOB. Additionally, the RAF’s Number 90 Signals Unit, based at RAF Leeming, proved its capability to deploy and operate communications, navigation aids, a mobile air traffic control tower and mobile radar facilities. Medical elements from
Germany and Spain took also part in the exercise and added significant value to the overall training.
Although the formal Exercise de-brief has yet to take place, the initial indications are that the Exercise was a success. More information concerning DOBEX/ VOLCANEX 16 will be published on the EAG Website once it becomes available. A link to the relevant Luftwaffe article concerning the Exercise can be found here and the latest article can be found here.