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Roving Sands involves five nations, new capabilities.

FORT BLISS, Texas -- U.S. Army Forces Command kicked off a three-week joint training exercise March 15 involving coalition troops and aircraft in order to practice joint-interoperability air defense tactics, while incorporating lessons learned from Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Roving Sands is a Joint Forces Command-sponsored exercise focused on theater air and missile defense and Joint Tactical Air Operations. The exercise is designed to integrate Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine and multinational command and control nodes and associated air and missile defense systems, officials said.

Unlike past Roving Sands, this year's exercise was part of a much larger training event, Joint Red Flag, a multi-service exercise involving more than 12,000 participants at various locations across the country. Four multinational forces participated in the exercise: the Netherlands, United Kingdom, Canada and Kuwait.

The following highlights were part of this year's Roving Sands exercise:

Air Missile Defense Task Force: There are currently only two AMDTF units in the Army and both participated in RS05. These new air defense units are a composite of Patriot, Avenger, and Stinger Missile batteries. They played a vital role in coordinating both air and ground air defense activities. A Marine unit provided crucial coordination between Army Patriot and U.S. Air Force, U.S. Navy, and Coalition aircraft.

23rd Marine Air Control Squadron: This aerial observation force is capable of detecting and tracking inbound objects such as missiles and enemy aircraft, providing a clear picture of potential incoming threats. It also plays a vital role in coordinating both air and ground air defense activities. This Marine unit provided crucial coordination between Army Patriot and Air Force, Navy, and Coalition aircraft.

Joint National Training Capability: This global networking capability brought together all elements of Joint Red Flag and RS05 and makes the theater wide exercise possible. It networks various command and control nodes.

Joint Land Attack Cruise Missile Defense Elevated Netted Sensors System: This technology is an advancement in detecting low-flying objects such as cruise missiles and low-flying aircraft, normally difficult for conventional ground radar to detect. This piece of equipment is basically a large, zeppelin-like balloon using either a camera or radar to observe downward. It participated in both live and simulated exercises during Joint Red Flag.

Drive Up System Trainer Facility: This simulation center allows Patriot batteries to participate virtually on a synthetic battlefield by acting as a surrogate live radar. The virtual environment allows for training Patriot crews and commanders in demanding combat situations during Roving Sands. Eight Patriot batteries from three Patriot battalions were integrated into the Joint Red Flag scenario from the D.U.S.T. facility. These batteries are in direct contact with virtual command and control elements.

This article was taken from an ARNEWS Release.

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Title Annotation:military exercise
Publication:Army Communicator
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jun 22, 2005
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