Nato member nations have started a three-week long international air exercise, called Ramstein Rover 2012 (RARO12), at military training centres and air bases across the Czech Republic.

Conducted under the management of Nato Headquarters Allied Air Command in Ramstein, Germany, the exercise aims to provide pre-deployment training for forward air controllers (FACs) and tactical pilots that will be deployed in support of Nato International Security Assistance Forces (ISAF) missions in Afghanistan.

A range of fighter jets, such as the US Air Force’s (USAF) anti-tank L-39 and F-16 fighter planes, Czech L-39 Albatros trainers, L-159 ALCA fighter aircraft, Turkish F-16s, as well as Russian combat and transport helicopters are participating in the exercise, as reported by Czech daily newspaper, CTK.

The aircraft are operated from the 22nd air base at Names in Sedlec, South Moravia, while cooperative training is being conducted on the training grounds of Libava, North Moravia, and Boletice, South Bohemia.

Scheduled to run until 21 September 2012, the exercises will provide aircrews with a broad range of day, night, medium and low altitude training in realistic and complex scenarios.

RARO12, which is the only Nato air force exercise to take place this year, will train participants on improving mutual cooperation, standardisation of procedure and techniques during direct air support operations and on raising military specialists’ qualification.

The live-fly exercise is jointly commanded by the German Air Force colonel (GS) MSc Harry Schnell from Headquarters Allied Air Command and Czech Republic Armed Forces Joint Forces – Air Force deputy commander brigadier general Jiri Verner.

Participants from 17 nations are taking part in the exercise, including Belgium, the Czech Republic, Estonia, France, Germany, Great Britain, Greece, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia, Turkey and the US.