Swedish JTAC exercised in taxing Alpine environment

The capability to direct military aircraft to specific targets (JTAC) is a decisive factor for success in modern warfare. 11 Swedish rangers of the K 3 regiment participated in the Nato exercise Mountain Hornet 23 in south Germany, where JTAC personnel is drilled in a taxing Alpine environment.

Soldiers walking in the Alps
Soldiers walking in the Alps
During one of the exercise features, the groups were to coordinate air support while at the same time carrying out deployment in a mountainous environment. The features were conducted together with German and US JTAC. Photo: Oskar Gustafsson/Swedish Armed Forces
Two soldiers looking down at a village
Swedish and German JTAC coordinate an air attack against a hostile force that is attacking a small village. Photo: Pål Andersson/Swedish Armed Forces
A soldier using a compass
Along with the map, the compass is one of the most important tools for a JTAC. Photo: Pål Andersson/Swedish Armed Forces
Soldiers using a digital map system
During the exercise, the participants exercised using all available aids and equipment. A JTAC is using a digital map system with satellite images in order to facilitate the coordination of the air support. Photo: Pål Andersson/Swedish Armed Forces
A soldier in a meadow sending off a SUAV
SUAV 05B Falken takes off. Photo: Pål Andersson/Swedish Armed Forces

The Mountain Hornet 23 exercise saw participants from Germany, Denmark, Italy, Slovenia, Sweden and the US. The aim was to exercise the Joint Terminal Attack Controller (JTAC) in an international context. Infantry units, reconnaissance units, Electronic Warfare (EW) and SUAV teams all exercised together. Apart from ground units, fighter aircraft, helicopters and school planes, PC 9 and Learjet, also took part in the exercise. Their role was to support the part of JTAC training that takes part on the ground.

The Mountain Hornet 23 exercise was hosted by the German Air Liaison Element of the 23rd Mountain Ranger Brigade and was held from 17 to 28 July in Bad Reichenhall with surroundings.
The exercise has been held in 2019, 2021 and 2022. The objective of Mountain Hornet 23 was to reinforce collaboration between the Nato countries and to maintain the JTAC capability to solve tasks together with other countries in joint operations. 

The head of the Swedish group, Oskar Gustafsson, Squadron Sergeant Major at K 3, thinks that Mountain Hornet 23 was very rewarding.

“The exercise let us fly in a completely different terrain from what we are used to at home, which gave us experience ahead of future tasks. To participate in planning and implementation of tasks together with other countries is a good type of training for all involved”, says Oskar Gustafsson.

The first week of the exercise consists of a system of stations and the teams work on one or two stations per day. Each station is unique and has its own training objectives. Examples of stations are air control conducted from vehicles, and air command and control during deployment in taxing mountainous terrain. Air command and control cooperate with SUAV and reconnaissance groups that assist JTAC to identify targets to strike.

On 21 to 22 July, planning and preparation was conducted in order to carry out an applied exercise during the second week of the exercise. Then a temporarily combined company battle group is to work together for four days.

The Swedish participants from the Life Regiment Husars (K 3) in Karlsborg comprise personnel of the 31st Ranger Batallion as well as of teh 323rd Paratrooper Squadron.