Electronic Warfare Training at Lechfeld Air Base

In 1991, the German Air Force introduced the exercise ELITE (Electronic Live Warfare Training Exercise), a Wing-level exercise between the Tornadoes of JBG-32 and the Roland Surface-to-Air-Missiles (SAMs) of SAMGrp43. The exercise was held at Leipheim Air Base. From 1992 until 1994 more and more German units participated in the exercise. In 1995, the exercise was brought to an international level. In that year there were approximately 175 missions tasked under the ELITE banner, by 2005 the figured exceeded the 1300 mission mark.  

The purpose of ELITE
ELITE is the largest annual military exercise in Germany and is designed to improve combat success and survivability during electronic warfare. Multiple jamming and deception techniques, combined with the tactical procedures to counter them, are analyzed to improve efficiency. ELITEs main goal is to provide electronic combat training for the aircrews and the Ground Based Air Defense (GBAD) crews and their Surface-to-air Missile Sites (SAMS).

The 2005 edition
The 2005 edition was held between 27 May and 9 June and consisted of an air and a ground part and took for a large part place at the Heuberg Training area. The air part of this years’ edition was impressive. Almost seventy jet fighters, ten propeller aircraft and dozens of helicopters participated from airbases in different countries. In Germany, Neuburg Air Base hosted Spanish Mirage F.1s and Belgian F-16s, Landsberg Air Base French Transalls and Polish Casas and Laupheim Air Base Dutch and Belgian helicopters. A few participants used their own home base. That goes for the USAF F-16s, which flew from Spangdahlem, the French Mirage 2000s from Luxeuil and the Swiss F-18s from Dubendorf. Finish F-18s also used Dubendorf during ELITE.

Lechfeld Air Base however was again the busiest air base during the exercise. Not only the local Tornados from JBG-32 operated from this air base, but also Italian Tornadoes, Turkish F-16s, Greek F-16s and Swedish Saab Viggens called Lechfeld their home base during this years’ ELITE. The Swedish Viggens made their last official appearance outside Sweden. On Wednesday 1 June, we were welcome at Lechfeld airbase, to watch the exercise from nearby.