NATO jets kick-off year with first tactical flying course in Spain

Story by Allied Air Command Public Affairs Office based on input provided by the Tactical Leadership Programme

More than 30 jets from NATO and Partner air forces are ready to conduct the first multinational Flying Course and apply NATO tactics, techniques and procedures at the Tactical Leadership Programme (TLP) in Albacete, Spain.


In total, 650 participants – including 39 pilots, intelligence officers and Ground-controlled interception (GCI) controllers who are scheduled to graduate from the course – will conduct multinational flying operations with 34 fighter jets simulating friendly and opposing air forces. The Czech Republic, France, Greece, Italy, Spain and Partner Switzerland are providing jets for the flying part, and NATO and French Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS) aircraft will control the missions. Italy, Spain and the United States are scheduled to participate with helicopters and air extraction teams.

Spanish MQ-9 Predator unpiloted systems, Italian personnel recovery experts and joint terminal attack controllers from the United States and Spain, as well tactical transport aircraft and refueling aircraft enable a theatre-realistic training environment. The ground-based anti-aircraft threat is simulated by several systems of the Spanish Army and Navy and the PLYGONE tri-national electronic warfare tactics range in Germany.



“Preparatory training starts on January 22 laying the theoretical and doctrinal foundations for the participants in the first week; and we are again conducting simulations in our MACE simulator,” said Lieutenant Colonel Luca C. Restelli, lead of the flying course. “The second and third week offer ample opportunities for participants to improve leadership and flying skills as well as interoperability at the tactical level,” he added. “We are again using our Modern Air Combat Environment (MACE) simulator to support the course’s virtual phase, and the follow-on Live-Virtual scenarios,” he concluded.

“During synthetic and live missions participants develop the tactical leadership skills necessary to plan, brief, fly, and debrief fully integrated multinational formations,” he stated. “Each day a different crew leads the others through all phases of missions that grow in complexity during the course. At the TLP we expose participants to a wide variety of missions that simulate different types of real-world scenarios, updated frequently to incorporate modern warfare tactics and intergrade new weapon systems,” he concluded.


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“The TLP is a multinational headquarters based at Los Llanos Air Base, Albacete composed of military and civilian personnel from ten NATO nations participating in the Programme,” said Colonel Alberto Martínez Ruiz, Commandant of the TLP. “Our main objective is to increase the effectiveness of Allied and Partner air forces in the fields of tactical leadership and conceptual and doctrinal initiatives in support of NATO’s Strategic Commands and National Defence Forces, he added. To achieve its goals, the TLP adheres to a five-pillar strategy based on integration of 4th, 5th, and Xth Generation platforms, adoption of the Agile Combat Employment concept, live-virtual-constructive training, state-of-the-art Contested-Degraded Operations environment and introduction of Joint All Domain factors in challenging air scenarios.


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