The live exercise ELITE 2006 (which stands for "Electronic Live Training Exercise") is conducted from the 3rd of May untill the 18th of May 2006 in the south of Germany at the Military Training Area Heuberg, in Baden-Würtemberg Land.
To improve the skills of the pilots and operators of ground air defence units in search and engagement operations. Live tactical flights where being flown from several German air bases (Ingolstad-Manching, Schleswig-Jagel, Neuburg, Landsberg, and Lechfeld), and one Swiss air base (Payerne).
The aim of this exercise is to develop and test new tactics under realistic threats. To reach this goal numerous surface-to-air-missiles (SAM) were placed on the Heuberg military training area. These consisted not only western types like the Patriot, Roland or Rapier missilesystems. Also SA-6 and SA-7 SAM systems were used by the participating Czech and Polish ground forces.
The exercise is being attended by NATO member military contigents from the Czech Republic, France, Germany, Greece, Lithuania, The Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Slovakia, Spain, Turkey and the United Kingdom. Countries participating in the Partnership for Peace Programme are represented by military units from Finland, Sweden and Switzerland.
Of course Lechfeld was the main base for us to visit with Turkish F-16's and F-4E's, Greek F-16's, Polish SU-22's, Tornado's from the UK and Germany and last but not least Spanish EF-18's.
On monday we arrived at the base to see how the possibilities were to photgraph from outside. As we just found a spot, the Turkish F-16's were the first participants to get airbourne and in roughly one hour the rest of the participants found their way into the clear bleu skies. As the sun turned, we went after landing to the other side where the landing of the second wave could be seen.
Tuesday we headed for Ingolstadt-Manching to see the Swiss and Finnish Hornets who were stationed there for the duration of the ELITE excersice.
With the based WTD 61 and some other activities including an Hellenic Hercules, this was again a very succesfull day.