Air Command and Control: the strategic backbone of military training

Story by Allied Air Command Public Affairs Office

NATO’s Deployable Air Command & Control Centre (DACCC) will conduct exercise Poggio Dart 23 from December 4 to 15, 2023. The objective is to demonstrate the DACCC's Air Command and Control (AirC2) capabilities as an autonomous node in this field.


The participants in Poggio Dart 23 will be planning, executing and controlling missions of assigned air, land and naval assets providing a distinctive training opportunity for warfighters by exploiting the uniqueness of the DACCC’s structure, which combines both the operational and tactical levels, thus allowing interaction with flying units within the AirC2 cycle.

The DACCC will deploy its Mobile Radar (DADR) from Poggio Renatico to Cervia Air Base. During the live fly part of the exercise, six US F-16 jets from Aviano and three Turkish F-4s deployed to Istrana Air Base, will operate with Italian joint assets – six F-35s, six Eurofighters, four Tornados, one tanker, one MQ-9 RPA from the Air Force, two F3-5Bs and two A-V8 jets from the Navy , as well as two Italian Army Joint Terminal Attack Controller (JTAC) teams. This complex set-up marks a milestone in the history of this exercise.



“The assurance measures implemented by NATO in the Adriatic Sea with exercise Poggio Dart 23 are multifaceted, encompassing both military and diplomatic efforts. Enhanced Forward Presence (eFP) initiatives have been a cornerstone of NATO’s strategy, involving the deployment of allied forces in the region to deter potential aggressors and bolster the defence capabilities of member nations,” said Major General Denny Traas, DACCC Commander. “Interoperability is another key focus in our AirC2 training. Military forces often operate in multinational coalitions, necessitating seamless communication and coordination between different nations. Training programmes emphasize the importance of standardizing procedures and protocols to ensure interoperability, fostering collaboration between diverse air assets,” Major General Traas added.

The first week of the exercise will be conducted as a Command Post Exercise/Computer-Assisted Exercise, testing the real-world capacity of the DACCC’s operational level, while the second week will see live fly activities in the airspace of Northern Italy training tactical-level tactics, techniques and procedures.



“Simulations play a key role in AirC2 training, providing a realistic and risk-free environment for personnel to practice coordinating complex air operations. These simulations replicate various scenarios, including both routine missions and high-stake combat situations,” said Colonel Duarte Freitas, Chief of DACCC Combat Operations. “Exposing military professionals to different training challenges improves their ability to adapt and respond effectively under pressure in real-world operations,” he added.

Exercise Poggio Dart23 contributes to the Alliance’s commitment to ensuring the security of its member nations and promoting stability in strategic regions. The combination of military presence and diplomatic initiatives under the assurance measures reflects NATO’s holistic approach to addressing the dynamic security environment in the Adriatic and ensuring a resilient Alliance in the face of evolving challenges.



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