Personnel from 7th Air Defence Group (7 AD Gp) have joined with their NATO counterparts in Poland to take part in Exercise Ramstein Legacy.
Ramstein Legacy is the principal Allied Air Command (AIRCOM) Integrated Air and Missile Defence (IAMD) focused live-fly exercise for 2022. The exercise provides opportunities for testing and validation of technical, tactical, and operational interoperability in the IAMD domain by using the existing NATO network environment.
The primary objective is to train tactical level Command and Control, practising procedures with live forces in Poland and Baltic Sea Region.
In Poland for the exercise are 12th Regiment Royal Artillery (12 RA), one of 7 AD Gp subordinate units who specialise in delivering vital Close Support Air Defence to the UK’s manoeuvre forces, providing protection to critical assets from a variety of airborne threats.
Lieutenant Colonel David Butt, Commanding Officer, 12th Regiment Royal Artillery: "This is a perfect opportunity for the British Army to integrate with its NATO partners using technical Air Defence procedures which otherwise would not get used in the UK.”
This is a perfect opportunity for the British Army to integrate with its NATO partners" Lieutenant Colonel David Butt, Commanding Officer, 12th Regiment Royal Artillery
7 AD Gp, part of 3rd (United Kingdom) Division based at Thorney Island in Hampshire commands the Army’s Air Defence capability. It is also responsible for detecting, identifying, and tracking aircraft in support of UK Operations.
Adds Lieutenant Colonel Butt: “An exercise of this scale is really important it proves unequivocally that the partnership we have within NATO works seamlessly and that within hours we can be interoperating together on a large scale with air and aviation involved as well.”
With nearly 100 soldiers from 7 ADG deployed to Poland, the UK contribution to Exercise Ramstein Legacy includes Stormer, crewed by troops from 12 RA, the platform for the Starstreak High Velocity Missile system, developed to counter the threat of attack helicopters and low flying aircraft.
Lieutenant Callum candy, T Battery, 12 RA says working closely with NATO partners on this exercise has proved invaluable: “The deployment has benefited us all. Over the past two weeks’ we have worked closely with personnel from Slovakia, Czech Republic, France, Turkey, and Poland. It has provided a great opportunity for us to integrate and operate with our allies to create the most reliable Air Defence bubble.”
And he adds: “We are not used to working as a collective but as a result of this exercise we have been able to identify each other’s strengths which in turn means we can develop mutual Tactics, Techniques and Procedures which then enable us to deliver multiple Air Defence efforts at the same time.”
This is one of Europe’s largest integrated air and missile defence initiatives involving a large concentration of NATO countries.
Lieutenant Colonel David Butt says there is a clear message being sent out through Exercise Ramstein Legacy 2022: “An operation of this scale is hugely important, especially at the moment. It exhibits the professionalism and ability of NATO to bond rapidly together on any given task that we may be presented with.”
It exhibits the professionalism and ability of NATO to bond rapidly together on any given task that we may be presented with.” Lieutenant Colonel David Butt, Commanding Officer, 12th Regiment Royal Artillery
Exercise Ramstein Legacy is part of a series of exercises known as Project Unified Stance that has seen troops taking part in many exercises throughout Europe including Ex Defender in Poland, Ex Swift Response in North Macedonia, Ex Iron Wolf in Lithuania and Ex Hedgehog in Estonia.
These exercises showcase the scale and significance of the British Army’s contribution to the defence of Europe and highlight the continued importance of the leadership role which UK plays as a member of NATO and the JEF (Joint Expeditionary Force).
In addition to the Army’s programme, the UK deployed a major headquarters to the Baltic region, in support of the JEF. The Standing Joint Force HQ (SJFHQ) established three linked nodes - in Latvia, Lithuania and the third at their home base at Northwood HQ in London, the first operational deployment for the headquarters.