TRIDENT JUNCTURE 15 - SOROTAN TRAINING SCENARIO
SBAP reporter Philippe Decock had the unique opportunity to
witness a part of this major NATO exercice. During two days our
reporter followed the flights departing day and night Trapani Air
Base in Sicilia.
NATO’s largest exercise this year, TRIDENT JUNCTURE 15 (TRJE 15),
is a computer assisted command post exercise (CAX/CPX) followed by a
two-week live exercise (LIVEX).
Directed by German Army Major General Reinhard Wolski, Commander
Joint Warfare Centre (JWC), the CAX/CPX portion of the exercise is
based on the fictitious training scenario “SOROTAN”, which was
developed by JWC in order to set the conditions to achieve all
exercise Training Objectives and to help assess NATO’s ability to
meet projected operational challenges through 2020.
A political, military, economic, social, infrastructure and
information (PMESII) framework was used to develop the comprehensive
scenario (synthetic environment), which describes a very complex and
unstable environment. Rising political instability, ethnic tension
and persisting socio-economic challenges are climaxed by a blatant
invasion of one state’s territory by another. Ultimately, the
crisis leads to a UN-mandated and NATO-led, non-Article V Crisis
Response Operation under Chapter VII of the Charter of the UN, in a
region far from NATO’s home territory.
SOROTAN sets forth a wide range of conventional and unconventional
threats within a whole-of-government context in order to challenge
NATO at the tactical, operational and strategic levels of warfare.
The lines of effort to protect and defend „Lakuta“ (the weaker
state) against „Kamon“ (the highly-adaptive, regional adversary)
High-intensity, joint war fighting
• Countering hybrid warfare threats and other new tactics of war
• Theatre Ballistic Missile Defence (TBMD)
• Cyber defence operations
• Chemical, Biological and Radiological Defence expertise and
• Addressing violence against the civilian population
• Addressing the protection of children and prevention of
• Addressing humanitarian crises
• Wielding soft power and public diplomacy
• Countering a deceptive and controlled media environment and its
will ultimately put the NATO Response Force (NRF) to its largest
test ever, enabling NATO to effectively counter contemporary
security threats and assess and identify future requirements.
Additionally, this scenario will facilitate the applications of the
Connected Forces Initiative (CFI) and the Comprehensive approach to
crisis management by bringing together a diverse set of military and
civilian organizations in order to plan and conduct all stages of a
multinational Crisis Response Operation with the aim of reaching a
common effect on the ground.
setting and scope
The name SOROTAN is made up of the two words „sør“ (Norwegian
for south) and „OTAN“ (French for NATO). The scenario describes
a very unstable region, dubbed as „Cerasia“, which is under
mounting political, military and civil pressure. The rapidly
evolving regional conflict poses complex challenges for NATO and its
The nearly 4,000-page scenario was developed in the spirit of
contemporary political science, introducing complex transnational
and multi-layered security dimensions of eleven different countries.
The catalyst for conflict in the Cerasia region is water, or rather
the lack of it. With desertification, dry aquifers, riparian
disputes and an ever-diminishing resource, Kamon, the aggressor
country in the region, invades southwards in order to seize a key
dam in Lakuta and force unwilling parties into water rights
As the resource-driven conflict takes hold of Cerasia, the holistic
relationship between military and international partners gains
paramount importance, highlighting trust and improved cooperation.
In addition to this whole-of-government focus, the scenario also
includes a hostile information environment that is capable of
turning the tide in the conflict, making strong Strategic
Communications one of the top exercise Training Objectives.
Overall, SOROTAN is designed with the necessary depth, flexibility
and strategic and operationally challenging dilemmas to provide a
unique training opportunity to the Training Audience, focusing on
stability and Crisis Response Operations in a simulated, austere
environment, and, at the same time, incorporating conventional as
well as unconventional threats.
About the Joint Warfare Centre: JWC was established on 23 October
2003 in Norway as a subordinate command of Allied Command
Transformation (ACT) in the United States. The Centre provides
NATO’s training focal point for full spectrum joint operational
The Trident Juncture 2015 LIVEX, 21 October to 6 November, contains
a series of preplanned and scripted events for use by participating
air assets. It provides tactical training for flying squadrons
during three daily air waves; one wave each in the mornings and
afternoons plus night waves on 21 to 23 and 26 to 29 October, as
well as 2 to 4 November.
115 fighter aircraft
• 19 transport aircraft
• 9 tanker aircraft
• 36 helicopters
• 3 airborne early warning aircraft (AWACS)
• 2 jamming aircraft
• 2 unmanned aerial systems plus 1 global hawk
• 2 vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) aircraft
are assigned to Headquarters Maritime Command e.g. 12 VTOL aircraft
• will participate in portions of the exercise e.g. nine strategic
transport aircraft, two strategic bombers and one UAV.
Aircraft are provided by 16 NATO allies and three NATO partners
(FIN, SWE and UKR).
Bases used for Trident Juncture 2015 aircraft are:
Zaragoza, Albacete, Palma de Mallorca Getafe, Torrejon, Rota and to
a limited extent Moron (ESP); Trapani, Amendola, Pratica di Mare, Cavour, Pisa,
Decimomannu and Sigonella (ITA); Beja and to a limited extent Monte
The Italian Air Force Joint Force Air Component (ITA JFAC), based at
Poggio Renatico, is the NATO Force Structure JFAC and Air Component
Command (ACC) responsible for the command and control of air assets
during the LIVEX. Headquarters Allied Air Command (HQ AIRCOM), at
Ramstein Air Base, Germany, will provide augmentation to the ITA
JFAC; 15 positions will be filled by the Deployable Air Command and
Control Centre (also at Poggio Renatico) and 25 positions will be
filled by HQ AIRCOM.
The ACC Exercise Director is the senior officer responsible for the
overall direction and control of the air exercise play. He will also
approve Air Tasking Order (ATO) change requests arising from, for
example, weather conditions, aircraft availability or safety.
The Exercise Director is supported by three Chiefs from the Local
Operations Control (LOPSCON) Air, responsible for the Deployment
Operating Bases (Beja, Albacete and Trapani) and fine tuning the Air
training plan. The coordinated plan is forwarded to the ITA JFAC for
preparation of the exercise Air Tasking Order (ATO). LOPSCON Air
will direct and control the local Air exercise play, monitor the
daily battle rhythm and liaise with the Host Nation. HQ AIRCOM will
man some 20 posts each in LOPSCON Air. The Trident Juncture 2015
LIVEX is a joint exercise. Air assets will be used in support of
land, maritime and special operations forces; conducting
Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR), Close Air
Support (CAS) and troop transport missions. Personnel Recovery and
Search and Rescue missions are also scheduled. The Trident Juncture
2015 LIVEX will underline the capability development and
interoperability of the Alliance. The Air component will provide
highly professional technical enabling solutions for NRF16.
Command & Control Unit (BARI
Deployable Command & Control Unit (Reparto Mobile di
Comando e Controllo - R.M.C.C.), located in Bari-Palese Air Force
Base, owes its birth to the Air Force’s commitment to increase its
operational capabilities in different scenarios, regardless if in or
out national borders, through the deployment of a modular,
transportable, flexible system, also integrated with other national
Services and interoperable with NATO /coalition.
The Unit provides the theatre Commander (also when deployed), through
operational and technical components, with the capability to exercise
command and control (C2) functions enabling the planning and execution
of whole spectrum of air operations, autonomously or in conjunction
with other Armed Forces.
In order to perform its mission, the Unit is equipped with mobile
systems, to include sheltered operation rooms, satellite
communications systems, mobile radars, communication and information
systems, radio and tactical data links shelters. In order to grant an
high operational readiness, the Unit is provided with autonomous road
transport capability to include trucks, cranes and special vehicles.
In addition, all shelters can be transported by ship, rail and air.
far beyond the multiple different configurations that the Unit can
provide and the wide complex of tasks it could perform, the R.M.C.C.
is the integrated in the Italian Joint Force Air Component Command (ITA-JFACC).
exercise Trident Juncture, the R.M.C.C. is deployed in Trapani Air
Force Base to provide air surveillance and tactical air mission
control capabilities with the "D.A.R.S.”, Deployable
Air Control Centre, Recognised Air Picture Production Centre and
Sensor Fusion Post.
D.A.R.S. is an important capability for future National and N.A.T.O.
air operations. This unit provides forward and persistent air
surveillance. It provides the critical communications link between our
various weapons systems and headquarters. Most importantly, it
provides our Joint Force Air Component with situational awareness and
the ability to command and control National and air operations from
almost any location on very short notice.
Italian Air Force)
Italian Air Force)
Sicilian air base in Trapani.
is the homebase of 37 Stormo and hosted a whole series of airplanes
during the "Trident Juncture 2015". In addition to Italian
Eurofighters who are based there, F-16s of the Hellenic Air Force
and Polish Air Force where flying from the base. Two NATO Airborne
Early Warning Airplanes (AWACS) were also based in Sicily. The NATO
E-3A component has one of its Forward Operating Bases (FOB) in
The Canadian Air Force supports the exercise with a C-130 tanker
operating from the base.
Missions were flown in the afternoon and at night. Each wave was
composed of 4 greek F-16s, 4 polish F-16s, 4 AMXs, 4 to 6
Eurofighters and 4 to 6 Tornados (IDS and ECR). Eurofighters were
drawn from all italian Eurofighters units.