Personnel from 7th Air Defence Group (7 AD Gp) have joined with their NATO counterparts in Poland to take part in Exercise Ramstein Legacy. The primary objective is to train tactical level Command and Control, practising procedures with live forces in Poland and Baltic Sea Region. Ramstein Legacy is the principal Allied Air Command (AIRCOM) Integrated Air and Missile Defence (IAMD) focused live-fly exercise for 2022. The exercise provides opportunities for testing and validation of technical, tactical, and operational interoperability in the IAMD domain by using the existing NATO network environment. In Poland for the exercise are 12th Regiment Royal Artillery (12 RA), one of 7 AD Gp subordinate units who specialise in delivering vital Close Support Air Defence to the UK’s manoeuvre forces, providing protection to critical assets from a variety of airborne threats. 7 AD Gp, part of 3rd (United Kingdom) Division based at Thorney Island in Hampshire commands the Army’s Air Defence capability. It is also responsible for detecting, identifying, and tracking aircraft in support of UK Operations.
Lieutenant Colonel David Butt, Commanding Officer, 12th Regiment Royal Artillery: “This is a perfect opportunity for the British Army to integrate with its NATO partners using technical Air Defence procedures which otherwise would not get used in the UK. An exercise of this scale is really important it proves unequivocally that the partnership we have within NATO works seamlessly and that within hours we can be interoperating together on a large scale with air and aviation involved as well.”
Lieutenant Callum candy, T Battery, 12 RA says working closely with NATO partners on this exercise has proved invaluable: “The deployment has benefited us all. Over the past two weeks’ we have worked closely with personnel from Slovakia, Czech Republic, France, Turkey, and Poland. It has provided a great opportunity for us to integrate and operate with our allies to create the most reliable Air Defence bubble. We are not used to working as a collective but as a result of this exercise we have been able to identify each other’s strengths which in turn means we can develop mutual Tactics, Techniques and Procedures which then enable us to deliver multiple Air Defence efforts at the same time.”
This is one of Europe’s largest integrated air and missile defence initiatives involving a large concentration of NATO countries. Exercise Ramstein Legacy is part of a series of exercises known as Project Unified Stance that has seen troops taking part in many exercises throughout Europe including Ex Defender in Poland, Ex Swift Response in North Macedonia, Ex Iron Wolf in Lithuania and Ex Hedgehog in Estonia. These exercises showcase the scale and significance of the British Army’s contribution to the defence of Europe and highlight the continued importance of the leadership role which UK plays as a member of NATO and the JEF (Joint Expeditionary Force). In addition to the Army’s programme, the UK deployed a major headquarters to the Baltic region, in support of the JEF. The Standing Joint Force HQ (SJFHQ) established three linked nodes – in Latvia, Lithuania and the third at their home base at Northwood HQ in London, the first operational deployment for the headquarters.
7th Air Defence Group (7 AD Gp) is a formation of the British Army and part of 3rd (United Kingdom) Division. It is responsible for all the army’s ground based air defence assets. Its headquarters are located at Baker Barracks, Thorney Island. In early 2021, 12th Regiment Royal Artillery, at Baker Barracks, Thorney Island (Starstreak & Lightweight Multirole Missile Self-propelled air defence, equipped with HVM Stormer). The Alvis Stormer is a 1970s military armoured vehicle manufactured by the British company Alvis Vickers, now BAE Systems Land & Armaments. The Stormer is a development of the CVR(T) family of vehicles (Scorpion, Scimitar, Spartan etc.), essentially a larger, modernised version with an extra road-wheel on each side. Starstreak is a British short-range surface to air missile that can be used as a man-portable air-defence system (MANPADS) or in heavier systems, it is manufactured by Thales Air Defence.