|US Army Apache attack helicopter takes off from Hohenfels Training Area, Germany, during Saber Junction 2020 exercise.|
In the south of Germany, near Nuremberg, is the United States Army Garrison Hohenfels Training Area, which is managed by the 7th Army Training Command. The Joint Multinational Readiness Center (JMRC) regularly organizes large exercises at the Hohenfels Training Area and at the 'Grafenwoehr Training Area' which is ~ 100km away.
From August 03 to August 27, 2020, the JMRC organized the exercise 'Saber Junction 2020'.
This is an annual, large-scale exercise in which the "173rd Airborne Brigade" ("Sky Soldiers") (an American Airmobile Brigade based in Vicenza, Italy) is evaluated for the immediate deployability of the unit.
About 4000 soldiers participate in this exercise. In addition to the American participants, there are also soldiers from Albania, Georgia, Lithuania, Latvia, Moldova, North Macedonia, Romania, Ukraine.
The Germany-based 12th Combat Aviation Brigade (12CAB), supplied CH-47 Chinook, UH-60 Blackhawk, HH-60 MEDEVAC Blackhawk and AH-64 Apache helicopters for this exercise.
During the first days, three US Marines MV-22 Ospreys from Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 263 also participated in this exercise.
During the exercise several Eurocopter UH-72 Lakota light support helicopters also flew over the Hohenfels area. These militarized EC145 helicopters are flown by the locally based JMRC Falcon team.
The green colored Lakota are used by the observers and referees of this exercise. The yellow / brown colored Lakotas are used as enemy helicopters (RED-AIR), which must be stopped by the Apache helicopters and / or by the ground troops.
On Thursday, August 13, 2020, a media day was organized at the Hohenfels range.
The authors wish to thank 12CAB's PAO Major Fellingham.
Text: Joris van Boven nad Alex van Noye
Images: Joris van Boven