U.S. Navy SEALs, Norwegian Forsvaret soldiers, and U.S. Marines with Marine Rotational Force Europe 21.1, Marine Forces Europe and Africa, participated in allied Joint Terminal Attack Controller training near Setermoen, Norway, March 8, 2021. A JTAC is certified to direct the action of combat aircraft engaged in close air support from a forward position, and other offensive air operations.
The JTAC integration with foreign allied forces is important as it allows the MRF-E Marines and allied counterparts to learn how to operate together and make accurate calls for fire from supporting combat aircraft in the harsh Arctic climate. During this training, the Marines practiced calling for simulated air strikes from a U.S Air Force B-1B Lancer.
“The recent close air support training with U.S. Air Force B-1s and Norwegian and U.S. Marine Corps JTACs demonstrates our commitment to building interoperability across military services and NATO allies,” said U.S. Marine Corps Capt. Joe Roberts, Air Officer and JTAC-Instructor.
The high north Arctic climate of Norway also poses many obstacles to overcome to include frostbite and the mountainous terrain which can cause electronic communications issues. Working closely with the Norwegian and allied forces helps the Marines overcome the various challenges.
The allied JTAC forces established their position on top of a mountain and quickly established communications with the B-1B Lancer to call in the target points necessary for the training.
Photo by Lance Cpl. Patrick King
“Fighting in the Arctic environment is an all-hands on deck endeavor,” said Roberts. “We must be ready and able to work with the full range of military capabilities; whether that be Norwegian JTACs with USAF bombers or Marine Corps LAVs with Norwegian submarines.”
This joint training provided experience for all allied forces involved to learn how to effectively communicate and properly call for fire in a forward environment.