Thursday 11 February 2021
Operating out of Zweibrücken airport in Germany under a permit issued by German authorities, AEC Skyline’s fleet of upgraded Aero L39 jet trainers has now commenced supporting Joint Terminal Attack Controller (JTAC) Close Air Support (CAS) training on behalf of the United States Air Force in Europe (USAFE). The initial 11 February mission saw one of our L39s supporting training in the US military’s Baumholder training area.
Flying under a contract that could extend to 30 September 2025, our L39s carry a L3Harris Wescam MX-15D EO/IR sensor pod equipped with laser spot tracker as well as night vision devices, IR pointers and UHF, VHF radios to enable both day and night CAS tactical employment capability. Our digital duplex datalink, operating in the L, S, C and Ku frequency bands, provides full support for full motion video and Digitally Aided Close Air Support (DACAS) training.
High end training support
Adhering to internationally agreed JTAC standards, performance includes flying up to 320 flying hours per year with a maximum of 12 hours per day. Units being supported are the Warrior Preparation Center’s 4th Combat Training Squadron as well as the 4th Air Support Operations Group and subordinate units with training being performed in primary training areas in Germany and in other European countries if required. Regardless of any repositioning of forces allocated to United States European Command (USEUCOM), AEC Skyline stays committed to providing full, high end training support, hereby ensuring the continuation of training aimed at integrating air combat power and surface fires.
Capable of speeds in excess of 300 knots indicated air speed, sustaining with ease the 4Gs required under the contract, our L39s have the capability to perform tactical manoeuvring to achieve up to 30 degree deliveries that include simulated ordnance release. A time on station in excess of 40 minutes is guaranteed with our aircraft being capable of operating at altitudes well in excess of 10,000 feet MSL, coping with high density altitude environments as well. Now recognised by the USAFE, AEC Skyline’s L39 aircraft are capable of supporting realistic air-to-ground training operations, performing flight manoeuvers that simulate those of modern fighter/attack aircraft, however at much lower cost.
On 20, 21 January AEC Skyline’s modified Learjet 36A platform supported a first series of trials linked to the ongoing Manned-Unmanned Teaming (MUM-T) Operational Test and Evaluation (OT&E) of the Dutch Defense Helicopter Command’s Block 2 upgraded Boeing AH-64D Apache attack helicopter.
Operating over Low Flying Area 7 Veluwe during the trials, the L3 Wescam MX-10 EO/IR sensor pod equipped Learjet aircraft acted as a surrogate Unmanned Aerial Vehicle, enabling the helicopter command’s attack helicopter unit to pursue its MUM-T objectives.
They include overall familiarisation, setup and troubleshooting with the MUM-T system that is supported by the Block 2 AH-64D’s on board L3 Harris ROVER 6 five band line of sight video transceiver capability (UHF/L/S/C/Ku band). On both days the Learjet’s on board Vortex digital duplex multi band datalink, another L3 Harris product, demonstrated it has a high degree of connectivity with ROVER 6, even at long ranges. With the help of the AEC Skyline team specific waveforms supported by ROVER 6 and different data rates are tested during a series of trials.
Subsequent flying saw the Learjet being used for target handovers and in support of the helicopters’ attack profiles with imagery generated by the MX-10 sensor being presented to participating helicopter crews on their multipurpose displays well before reaching their engagement area. Level 2 MUM-T interoperability was thus achieved meaning the direct receipt of data and full motion video from a (surrogate) UAS by a manned helicopter.
These trials pave the way for the advent of the new AH-64E version of the Apache attack helicopter which is destined to enter service with the Royal Netherlands Air Force in 2022. The Apache remanufacturing programme will introduce a much improved, level 4 MUM-T capability which allows the AH-64E aircrew to control the UAS platform and its payload, except for recovery
AEC Skyline deployed its bespoke ISR services to Denmark in support of the Composite Special Operations Air Task Group (C-SOATG) being trained there during exercise Trojan Phoenix. Held by the Danish, Dutch and Belgian military between 26 October and 6 November, the certification exercise saw AEC Skyline together with Smart Delta company installing an advanced networking solution, hereby enabling the delivery of an ISR feed to Aalborg air base, where the trinational SOF Air C2 element was based. Originating from AEC Skyline’s EO/IR sensor and video downlink equipped Learjet 36 platform, the full motion video feed was distributed by the company’s ground control station to the SOATG, the Exercise Control (EXCON) organisation and the Tactical Operations Center managing US air assets made available for the exercise. In addition, AEC Skyline also deployed one of its inflatable full scale surrogate targets, operating in Central and North Jutland and the island of Bornholm in support of the exercise’s many ISR and Digitally Aided Close Air Support (DACAS) scenarios.
Exercise Trojan Phoenix is part of the wider effort by Denmark, the Netherlands and Belgium to field a Composite Special Operations Component Command (C-SOCC), a process that commenced in early 2017. During 2021, this SOF headquarters will be on standby to meet any contingency that might require the activation of the NATO Response Force (NRF).
In order to counter the threat posed by Covid-19, all personnel participating in the exercise underwent frequent testing with strict hygiene and distancing measures being enforced.
Read the interview with our Operations Manager and Simfony at:
From 16 September to 22 September AEC-Skyline supported three big events, one event in Slovenia and two events in The Netherlands. In Slovenia we supported a Joint Terminal Attack Controller exercise with our Learjet. The Learjet (equipped with sensor and digital data link) delivered Close Air Support to NATO forces.
Last week we joined the #PurpleNectar2019 experiment together with #KIXS #HaiVision #Compumatica #RASUNIT13thLightBrigade. This experiment was a request from #KIXS and #RASUNIT13thLightBrigade for integrating multiple sensors with FMV and STANAG 4609 into different C4ISR applications but also in the ATAK application.
Come meet us at International Paris Air Show .... AEC Skyline will attend the exhibition at Le Bourget together with Forum Group B.V. Southern Cross International and JetSupport B.V...... We hope to see you there on the 17th and 18th of June