LIELVARDE AIR BASE, Latvia — The Deployable Air Command and Control Center’s Recognized Air Picture Production Centre and Sensor Fusion Post – called DARS — arrived in Lielvarde, Latvia, Nov. 5 after leaving its garrison location in Poggio Renatico, Italy Oct. 26. Exercise Ramstein Dust II 2015 (RADT II-15) tests the DARS in an operational setting as a final requirement before receiving a Fully Operational Capability rating.
Before the dust settled from the 2500 km, cross-continent drive, the buildup of the DARS deployed compound began. After long days of set up – from building tents, ensuring every piece of equipment was in place, and completing the critical stages of testing and integrating all equipment and sensors – the DARS was ready to begin its operational deployment phase.
“It took many man hours and a great degree of cooperation from both the hosting Allied Rapid Reaction Corps (ARRC), host nation Latvia, and the deployed German radar team, to ensure connectivity on all fronts for DARS,” said Col. Klaus Nolte, DARS director.
With the DARS now fully integrated at its deployed location, operations started in Lielvarde. RADT II-15 exercises the DARS operators in conducting several live sorties with various assets, including Baltic Air Policing alert aircraft. The DARS connects via the Control and Reporting Centre in Karmelva, Lithuania, to the Combined Air Operations Centre Uedem, Germany, in order to share the recognized air picture and to receive tasks.
With the radios checked and the links connected, DARS personnel started operations, proving its many capabilities to NATO and its Allies.
“Our objectives for this phase of the exercise are clear;” stated Deployment Commander, Squadron Leader Rob Hames. “We are here to prove ourselves, both operationally and technically, as a vital asset for NATO Air Command. Being co-located with HQ ARRC also affords the opportunity to display the relevance of the DARS to the ground environment.”
RADT II-15 will conclude on Nov. 27 with the redeployment of all personnel and equipment to garrison locations across Europe.
L. J. De Rothschild