Ex Trident Juncture
Several personnel from 1 AMW and 4624 Squadron supported the biggest multinational exercise held for 13 years.
Ex TRIDENT JUNCTURE 15 involved nearly 36,000 people from 30 NATO nations across the world, taking place all over Europe, the Mediterranean and even Canada. It was designed to demonstrate NATO’s new increased level of ambition in joint modern warfare and show how they can react as a capable multinational alliance to deal with the ever changing threats to security.
Personnel from 1 AMW were part of CATO (Combined Air Terminal Operations) at Zaragoza Air Base in Northern Spain, while 10 more from 1 AMW and 4624 Sqn took part in operations in Albacete, southern Spain, where most of the British effort during the exercise was focused.
After a couple days acclimatising it was time to begin Force Integration Training. Movers from France, Netherlands, Belgium, Italy, Germany and Spain, gathered together at Zaragoza Air Base to learn how CATO would operate during the exercise. It was a something of a learning curve as some of the roles and processes being used during the exercise were different to how 1 AMW would operate in the UK, but they were soon able to adapt to the different way of working. Those first couple of days also provided the opportunity to work with the French as part of a bilateral agreement signed by the two Governments, with 1 AMW personnel and their French counterparts jointly offloading a Boeing 767 in a Theatre Opening Capability demonstration.
During the deployment phase of the exercise, some of the British personnel were forgiven for thinking they were back in Afghanistan, with the mountain scenery in the background, the tents surrounding the terminal and cold and windy conditions. The airfield really started to liven up just before the Live Ex started, becoming home to fast jets, helicopters, C17s and C130s from all different nations. With Zaragoza being a Paratrooper base this was where the majority of the Paratrooper flights were conducted from and it was incredibly impressive to see the aircraft on the pan ready to drop over 300 Paratroopers from Belgium, Italy and the USA over Chinchilla.
As soon as the Live Ex was complete CATO became very busy again, with almost every nation wanting to redeploy their equipment and troops in just a couple of days. After a mad few days in the Recovery phase, the number of aircraft being handled each day dropped to the point that the 1 AMW personnel were able to return home, satisfied with a job well done and with new multinational friendships made.