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F16Well known participants at ELITE were besides the ECR Tornados the IDS (Interdiction strike) version of the German Tornado coming from the Aufklärungsgeschwader AG51 (reconnaissance squadron) and the Greek and Turkish HARM-shooting capable F-16s. The Turkish Air Force did also send F-4E Phantom 2020 for the air superiority rule to Lagerlechfeld.
Royal Air Force Tornado GR.4s of IX (B) Squadron were used to carry ALARM-missiles in the SEAD role, as did the Spanish EF-18A+ with their HARMs. It was the first time for the Spanish that they participated at ELITE with their Hornets, as it was a premiere for Polish Air Force as well that deployed with a Su-22M-4 and a Su-22-UM-3K two-seater Fitter. In preparation for future participation with their recently acquired F-16Cs they wanted to gasp the ELITE breath and already flew their venerable Fitters on the daily missions to get an insight view of the exercises main aspects.
Su 22 LeiterWhereas the main part of 150 sorties per day was flown out of Lagerlechfeld, Manching airfield, which is located further to the north-east, was the home base of Swiss and Finish F/A-18 Hornets and ECM jamming Learjets of Phoenix Air and FRA Aviation Falcon 20s. Helicopters were based closer to the range at the Heeresflieger (Army Aviators) airfield Laupheim and the cargo aircraft at Penzing in the close neighbourhood to Lagerlechfeld.
After the familiarization phase the mission briefings among the dislocated participants were held using video conferences. After this the respective time slots of 20-40 minutes in the target area were allocated depending on the complexity of the desired scenario.
This could be only a small number of helicopters against mobile SAM missiles, ECR Tornados against SA-6, SA-8 or Patriot radar systems or a complex COMAO (combined air operation) involving jets, helicopters and transport aircraft…
And now enjoy the photos!

 

Of course I have to express a big "Thank you!" to everyone involved in the preparation of this article and for their excellent support on location!

ELITE Participants based at Manching (ETSL)

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