Double Dutch Magazine
A TRILATERAL AIRFORCE EXERCISE (18-22 OCTOBER 1999)
By Bob den Engelsman, Martin van den Hurk, DMAPS
Following an earlier bilateral exercise between France and Austria in 1997, planning and preparation for this trilateral exercise started in October 1998. During several meetings the form of the exercise and the details were defined.
One year after this first initiative, Austria was the place for this historic event.
Goal of the exercise "AMADEUS 99" was to practice the compatibility and interoperability between the 3 participating countries (Austria, France and Switzerland) in order to prepare and be ready for international co-operation in the event of a peace-keeping mission or an humanitarian crisis (keeping in mind the Avalanche disaster in Galtur, Austria earlier this year in which Austrian armed forces were supported by Swiss, French, German and US armed forces). Experiences gained at this disaster were incorporated in this exercise.
The main objective of this exercise was the exchange of flightdata, data of groundbased radarstations and air-surveillance stations (AWACS) and the exchange of staffprocedures on the subject of airspace management, and procedures for CAP (combat air Patrol), Defensive Counter Air operations and Air-policing. For Switzerland it was the first time to take place in an multinational exercise, a fact which fully complies to the new Swiss safety policy "security through co-operation" . Furthermore all 3 participating countries agreed that the personal contact between the different people at stafflevel or pilots, groundcrews etc would improve co-operation and understanding.
The scenario of the exercise was based on an hypothetical crises in an imaginary land in Europe. With the crisis escalating the UN issued a mandate in order to establish a non-fly-zone. Austrian Saab drakens, French Mirage 2000ís and Swiss FA-18 hornets were tasked to monitor this no fly zone. Support and control will be delivered by a trilateral flightcontrolcenter, groundbased radar and AWACS (French Airforce). Because of the characteristics of the terrain of Austria (many mountains and valleys), the use of the AWACS was a very important objective of the exercise, because of the fact that the AWACS has a greater possibility to "look" into the valleys. A possibility both Switzerland and Austria donít have within their own forces. Due to the confined air space and the low number of aircraft involved scenarioís as for example protection of the AWACS (HVAA-protection = High Value Air Assets) were not exercised
The exercise involved 448 persons and each country took part with a small number of aircraft. The aircraft were stationed at Zeltweg (FA-18, Mirage 2000, Drakens) Graz/thalerhof (Drakens), Linz/Horsching (E-3F AWACS) and Dubendorf in Switzerland (FA-18ís).
The imaginary non-fly zone was placed in the western part of Austria and in order to keep the possible noise pollution to a minimum all the missions were flown subsonic and at high altitudes.
The importance of this first trilateral exercise was emphasised by the visit of high-ranking military of the participating countries: The Swiss Corps Commander Lt-Gen. Carrel, The French commander of Air Defence & Air operations (CDAOA) Lt. Gen. Jean-Georges Brevot.