The Luftwaffe's Flugabwehrraketengruppe (Surface-to-Air Missile Group or SAM-Group) 61 will be subordinated to the Dutch Ground Based Air Defence Command in Vredepeel, the Netherlands, at the end of August, the German Air Force announced on 14 August.
The step is part of Project Apollo, under which Germany and the Netherlands will co-operate on ground based air defence. The project consists of six different colour-coded areas of co-operation, which are linked.
The subordination of the Luftwaffe's SAM-Group 61 to the Dutch Ground Based Air Defence Command is taking place under Green Apollo, which aims to form a bi-national task force for short- and very short-range air defence. An additional aim of this sub-project is to set up a competence centre in Vredepeel for the further development of the task force's capabilities.
Purple Apollo is developing a bi-national command capability, which includes networking communications and data exchange.
Black Apollo is working on common doctrine, concepts, and standards. The sub-project has developed standard operating procedures, which are being tested and further developed through various exercises.
Red Apollo foresees setting up a Bi-national Air & Missile Defence Academy using existing facilities in Germany, the Netherlands, and the United States. New courses are being developed, the first of which was the Senior Leadership Academic Course held in parallel with Tactical Firing 2016 at the NATO Missile Firing Installation (NAMFI) on Crete. It will be followed by the second course this year.
The two framework nations are planning joint ground based air defence projects and procurement under the Blue Apollo sub-project. The Luftwaffe sees the possibility of cost-saving synergies in joint procurement. The sub-project is considering the possible joint procurement of a counter-rocket, artillery, mortar (C-RAM), and short range air defence system.
Yellow Apollo is setting up a bi-national air and missile defence task force, which reached an initial capability in 2016 on Crete, with the ultimate aim of a full operational capability for a task force that could be offered to NATO.