The third edition of Lion Effort exercise has started on 11th May 2015 in Časlav, Czech Republic.
Lion Effort is a tactical exercise organized by the countries that use the Gripen fighter jet, the very first was organized in 2009 in Hungary. The main goal of the exercise is to enhance interoperability between Gripen user countries, associated in the inter-governmental initiative named Gripen User Group (GuG). The GuG organizes bi-annual conferences to share the users´ experiences of operational use of the Gripens, maintenance, logistics and safety matters. The participating countries (and air forces) are Czech Republic, Hungary, South Africa, Sweden and Thailand.
In 2015 the 21st Tactical Air Force Base in Časlav and Czech Air Forces are the hosts of two events organized by GuG – between 23rd and 27th March the GuG meeting was organized there and between 11th and 24th May the Lion Effort 2015 exercise would take place at Časlav.
Lion Effort is organized every three years, starting – as already mentioned – in 2009 in Hungary. Then, in 2012, Sweden was the hosting country and the 2018 Lion Effort is planned in South Africa – this is, however, depending on the financing.
The Lion Effort 2015 direct participants are Czech, Hungarian and Swedish Air Forces with the support of Polish and German jet fighters, operating from their home air bases; NATO Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS) airplane and a tanker. Thailand would be participating as an observer only.
The Czech Air Force would support the exercise with L-159 ALCA, Mi-24 and Mi-171 helicopters, and transport aircrafts. All of them would be deployed at Časlav AFB during the exercise.
The participating aircrafts would be flying the Composite Air Operations (COMAO) and the SHADOW exercises, while the Czech 25th Air Defence Missile Regiment from Strakonice would arrange the Base Defence Zone at Časlav AFB. The training would allow the pilots to practice the cooperation between the groups of jet fighters, tactics and procedures and also the basic fighter manoeuvring and supporting the ground attacks.
The Lion Effort 2015 is combined with 10th anniversary of the Gripen fighter jet in the Czech Air Force, the Gripen Decade ceremony is planned for Friday, 22nd May, followed by the airshow at Časlav AFB on Saturday 23rd May.
(the information from 21st Tactical Air Force Base and GuG press releases were used)