NATO commanders successfully test command and control systems during missile intercept exercise

Dur­ing the Ger­man-led exer­cise Rapid Arrow 2011, 1–3 Novem­ber, the NATO Active Lay­ered The­atre Bal­lis­tic Mis­sile Defence Inter­im Capa­bil­i­ty was suc­cess­ful­ly test­ed allow­ing Alliance Com­man­ders to prac­tice their roles in the engage­ment of bal­lis­tic mis­sile threats.


The exer­cise was the final step in oper­a­tional­ly val­i­dat­ing the inter­im capa­bil­i­ty by NATO’s com­man­ders. “We are very hap­py with the out­come of this tri­al by fire,” said Major Gen­er­al (ret) Alessan­dro Pera, head of NATO’s Active Lay­ered The­atre Bal­lis­tic Mis­sile Defence (ALTBMD) Pro­gramme, “This also strength­ens our con­fi­dence in the abil­i­ty to deliv­er an inter­im ter­ri­to­r­i­al mis­sile defence capa­bil­i­ty to NATO very soon.”

Dur­ing the exer­cise, the Alliance’s inter­im the­atre mis­sile defence com­mand and con­trol capa­bil­i­ty was suc­cess­ful­ly used by NATO com­man­ders to plan, coor­di­nate and car­ry out mis­sile defence engage­ments by Ger­man Patri­ot bat­ter­ies assist­ed by the US AEGIS destroy­er USS The Sul­li­vans against live bal­lis­tic mis­sile tar­gets.

NATO Chan­nel has pub­lished a video report on the exer­cise, avail­able at:

Suc­cess­ful live fir­ing

The NATO part in the exer­cise was played by NATO’s Allied Air Com­mand in Ram­stein and its sub­or­di­nate com­mand at Com­bined Air Oper­a­tions Cen­tre Uedem in Ger­many, with NATO oper­a­tors using the inter­im capa­bil­i­ty. The engage­ments were also observed by the NATO Air Com­po­nent Com­mand at Izmir, Turkey.

The capa­bil­i­ty was demon­strat­ed dur­ing sev­er­al suc­cess­ful engage­ments con­duct­ed by the Ger­man Patri­ot units at the NATO fir­ing range in Greece.

The exer­cise also proved the abil­i­ty of the NATO sys­tem to inter­face and exchange date with the sys­tems that will make the US Euro­pean Phased Adap­tive Approach rapid­ly enough to ensure suc­cess­ful mis­sile defence engage­ments.

“From the oper­a­tors’ and the com­man­ders’ per­spec­tive, this exer­cise con­firmed our abil­i­ty to engage the­atre bal­lis­tic mis­siles aimed at our deployed forces with­in the inter­im capa­bil­i­ty,” said Lieu­tenant Gen­er­al Friedrich Wil­helm Ploeger, DEU AF, Ram­stein Deputy Com­man­der, “the capa­bil­i­ty will con­tin­ue to be fur­ther devel­oped, specif­i­cal­ly in light of the need to expand our mis­sion beyond pro­tect­ing forces, to also pro­tect the ter­ri­to­ries and pop­u­la­tions in NATO Europe.”

NATO’s inter­im the­atre mis­sile defence capa­bil­i­ty was deliv­ered to NATO’s com­man­ders in Decem­ber 2010 by the ALTBMD Pro­gramme. The capa­bil­i­ty is now being upgrad­ed to pro­vide fur­ther func­tion­al­i­ty that will enhance its abil­i­ty to per­form as an inter­im ter­ri­to­r­i­al mis­sile defence capa­bil­i­ty for NATO.

Allied Com­mand Oper­a­tions

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