Ex Bold Quest, an annual military–civilian exercise led by the US, engages partner nations, developers and analysts in full scale military scenarios, to test and extend the coalition’s warfighting capabilities.
System engineer, Adam Hughes and technician, Jackson Hickman from Saab Australia and Swedish engineer Ilkka Lassila, supported 16 Regiment with their Saab short range air defence system (Giraffe AMB radar, RBS-70 missile system, and Tactical Command and Control System) which they recently upgraded to integrate IFF Mode 5 functionality.
IFF Mode 5 allows Army to interrogate aircraft and suspect threats to mitigate the risk of fratricide. All NATO nations are mandated to adopt IFF Mode-5 by 2020.
In the exercise’s sixteen-year history, this was only the third time it’s been held outside the USA. Hosting the event in Finland encouraged strong European participation and gave all nations the opportunity to test interoperability, networking and logistical functions in demanding Arctic Circle conditions.
“Finland’s cold, wet, windy conditions were a stark contrast to the dry and dusty conditions the troops from 16 Regiment normally work in at home”, said Adam Hughes.
“The exercise was a testament to their resolve and professionalism—having to navigate and operate their systems in this extreme environment gave us a valuable perspective to how we should be designing or adapting the systems for use in all conditions.”
Over the five days of Ex Bold Quest, the engineers assessed a full range of varied, multiple demands on the Saab designed and supported equipment.
“After years working with our Army partner, it was extremely satisfying to watch them deploy and use our equipment, and see them make use of the extended capabilities we’ve engineered in true-life situations”, said Adam Hughes.
“Testing our capabilities against European military aircraft will be an experience to remember for a long time and I’m sure it gave the Army confidence in our work and their new capabilities” Adam Hughes said.
Over the eight week exercise, around 700 Finnish soldiers and another 1,500 military and civilian members, developers and analysts from 14 partner nations, participated in Ex Bold Quest 19.