The unit is dependent upon exercise experience, both for tactical and system development. The exercise provides a unique opportunity to assess the aviation system in its tactical environment. Thereafter we can draw upon the experience to best ascertain future improvements needed to the aviation system both in terms of technology and how it shall, or can, be used to an optimised tactical extent.
"Our staff also gain incredibly important personal training and the chance to enhance their skills as fighter pilots, by collaborating with other nations within the framework of such an exercise," says Mikael Olsson, head of TU Jas 39.
Two flight periods are conducted during the day, with around 50 aircraft at each start. The scenario is conducted with large combined aircraft strength, given various tasks to deploy collaborative efforts for a limited time period. This is known as Large Force Employment, LFE.
Command of the large flying unit is carried out under the combat guidance & air surveillance of air command leaders, both in the North and also from the command control in southern Sweden. On-board, there is also an ASC 890, a Swedish airborne surveillance and control system that provides an identifiable overview of the airspace situation, with help from Link 16.
"The flight period provides us with the opportunity to train and strengthen a very wide spectrum of power in circumstances that are not possible outside these types of exercises This also results in the verification that once again, the Swedish Gripen fleet is fully interoperable with NATO and its allies," says Henrik Lahti, second-in-command for TU Jas 39.
Johan Brynje is one of nine pilots from TU Jas 39 participating in the exercise. He has just landed after a stint in a JAS 39 D, one of the two-seater versions of the Gripen, together with his colleague in the back seat.
Johan Bryjne answers the question about his impressions of participating in a large exercise saying, "For me, flying a fighter jet is like taking part in a really rewarding team sport, which still provides great opportunities for personal development. Just like here in Noam 2012, you work towards a common goal in a group with different roles, whilst at the same time you get to use your brain and body in a stimulating way."
On the ground of the training area, there are both live and simulated air defence systems alongside other technological systems to pinpoint enemy aircraft. Together with 10 - 16 aircraft this provides an incredibly realistic combat force.
The flights take place in environments that require counter measures to be undertaken by all aircraft where both defensive and offensive air forces are trained, including the impact of ground level targets. In addition to this, the CAS, Close Air Support are deployed when collaboration with the ground force is of the utmost importance to attain the required effects at the right time, under the right conditions.
The exercise is conducted with both simulation, and for the Swedish, live weapon systems. Exercises with live load deposits are only possible up here in the north, where the Vidsel base along with its firing range are situated in the vast flight training area, established during Noam 2012.
In the exercise, mid-air refuelling is carried out on a daily basis from the Air Force's own C-130/T Hercules, in order to increase range or endurance.
The Gripen is a multi-faceted platform and in addition to its flexibility it can take on board the majority of tasks in a temporarily combined air force. The role of the LSS TU Jas 29 is to continue to examine and verify the Gripen system's performance in relation to the complex threat scenario.
"Hopefully, future Gripen pilots will be able to utilise this experience after wider development of tactics and system updates," concludes Henrik Lahti.