The NATO Tiger Association was founded in 1961 as a symbol of solidarity between the air forces of the North Atlantic Alliance and since then has organized annual air exercises, known as “Tiger Meets”. Due to the limited possibilities of airspace and the high costs of a real exercise, the 211th tactical squadron from the Čáslav airbase in cooperation with the state enterprise LOM PRAHA (who runs the Tactical Simulation Center at Pardubice airbase), decided to organize “Virtual NATO Tiger Meet 2013”. This event, thanks to cutting-edge simulation technologies, is very close to replicating the real conditions and intensity experienced during real live exercises, despite it being set in a simulated environment. Exercises had as a result an improvement of procedures in the planning and execution of air operations, thus being of benefit to NATO forces in possible future mission deployments.
The event was attended by elite aviation units from Germany, Hungary, Austria and the Czech Republic. Along with them, GCI crews (Ground Controlled Intercept) also participated in the exercise. “This is the first time Tiger squadron pilots train in the Czech Republic virtually. This premier of VirtualTigermeet 2013 event is an optimal way for us to contribute to the operational preparedness of our allied airmen. We are bringing new know-how into the NTA Tiger association and if this proves to be successful, we will continue this activity periodically”, stated the Deputy Commander of the 211th Tactical Airfoce Base Cpt. Pavel Pavlík.
The manager of tactical simulated training at LOM PRAHA Otakar Prikner stated: “The intensity of conducted air operations was maximal. One COMAO mission, usually of a defensive character, was followed by another. Operations were conducted from eight JAS-39 cockpits and various computer generated forces were integrated. The mission scenarios were backed by real in-theater experiences from mission deployments. When specific scenarios needed to be trained, we tailored such missions to the participant’s demands.”
The LOM PRAHA Tactical Simulation Center allows simulated training of various tactical and combat situations with the use of armaments and functions similar to a real aircraft. The main advantage of tactical simulated training is the possibility to practice maneuvers and actions, which are otherwise inconceivable due to airspace restrictions or are too risky to perform in live training. Another important advantage of tactical simulated training is the financial advantage compared to an actual air exercise. While the cost per flight hour using 8 JAS -39 Gripen fighters are in millions of crowns, the cost per flight hour using 8 tactical simulators remains in the scope of tens of thousands crowns. The cost of operating other aircraft or units during a live exercise must also be taken into account, unlike in the case of TSC, where they are replaced by simulated entities in the virtual environment.“Training on tactical simulators if highly intensive, cost-efficient, safe and significantly decreases the time it takes to master tactical skills” , stated the deputy director of the LOM PRAHA Air Training Centre & Director of TSC, Jaroslav Šefl.