RAF personnel from the ‘Air Land Integration Cell’ at RAF Coningsby have hosted EX ‘TERMINAL STRIKE’.
The Royal Air Force say that the two-week joint Exercise, hosted by the RAF Regiment, saw Joint Terminal Attack Controllers from the Royal Marines, Royal Artillery, Royal Armoured Corps and the French Commando parachutiste de l’air come together to collectively deliver training.
“Around 80 Joint Terminal Attack Controllers conducted a variety of complex battle scenarios during Ex TERMINAL STRIKE over numerous locations around the UK, including STANFORD and SCULTHORPE Training area and; DONNA NOOK and HOLBEACH bombing ranges. This provided the opportunity for the Joint Terminal Attack Controllers to utilise their skills in providing directions to aircraft such as, Typhoons, Hawks, and Apache platforms engaged in close air support.
The interoperable training opportunity provided the perfect occasion to exchange tactics, techniques and procedures across defence and with our allies. Several attendees underwent their initial Certified Qualified checks, allowing them to demonstrate their knowledge and ability to prove their ability to control independently in readiness to deploy on operations all over the world.”
What do Joint Terminal Attack Controllers actually do?
The British Army say on their website that Joint Terminal Attack Controllers facilitate Close Air Support in direct support of ground units.
“Close Air Support has been a key force multiplier on the battlefield since 1918. Forward Air Controllers (now called JTACs) have been employed within the British Military since 1941. The UK Military currently draws JTACs from serving personnel from the Royal Navy (Royal Marines), British Army (Royal Artillery and Royal Armed Corps) and Royal Air Force (RAF Regiment) for service within 3rd (United Kingdom) Division, 1st Artillery Brigade, 1st Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Brigade, 3 Commando Brigade, 16 Air Assault Brigade, RAF Force Protection Force (RAF Regiment) and within the Special Forces Support Group. JTACs are selected through aptitude screening before undertaking the 8-week JTAC-Certification Course at the Joint Forward Air Controller Training and Standardisation Unit (JFACTSU) based at RAF Leeming.”
After initial Certification the JTACs complete 12-months of continuation training before undertaking exercise Initial Strike to gain their initial Qualified statues.
Once Qualified, add the British Army, JTACs must maintain their skills through a series of training requirements with frontline aircraft and simulators.