Germany and the Netherlands are using NATO's biggest air defence exercise of the year, 'Tobruq Legacy 2019' ('TOLY 19'), being held in Poland on 3-19 June, to prepare their joint air defence of the NATO Response Force (NRF) Very High Readiness Joint Task Force (VJTF) in 2023, the Dutch Ministry of Defence (MoD) said on its website on 6 June. The exercise involves 4,800 troops and about 1,200 vehicles from air defence units of 17 participating countries, according to the Dutch MoD and German Air Force (Luftwaffe).
The Dutch MoD said the size of the exercise area allows all air defence capabilities to co-operate in a single exercise scenario. Patriot units are operating in Wedrzyn, central Poland, while the Dutch-German Bi-national Short Range Air Defence (SHORAD) Task Force (BSTF) has been deployed for the first time in the field in Ustka on the Baltic coast.
The task force consists of the Norwegian Advanced Surface-to-Air Missile System (NASAMS) and Fennek Stinger weapon platforms of the Dutch Ground-Based Air Defence Command and German light air defence system. The latter comprises Wiesel 2 Ozelot Stinger and Aufklärungs-, Führungs- und Feuerleitfahrzeuge (reconnaissance, command, and fire control vehicles, AFF) and Luftraumüberwachungsradar (airspace surveillance radar, LÜR) of the third squadron of the Luftwaffe's Flugabwehrraketengruppe (Surface-to-Air Missile Group, FlaRakGrp) 61. The squadron already prepared for 'TOLY 19' with live firings at the Todendorf firing range on Germany's Baltic coast, the Luftwaffe reported on its website on 23 May.
FlaRakGrp 61 commander Nikolas Scholtka said in an interview published on the Luftwaffe's website on 24 May that 'TOLY 19' would be the first milestone in the implementation of the BSTF for VJTF 2023.
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