German Air Force Air Defense Center/USA
The German Air Force Air Defense Center/USA (GAFADC USA) at Fort Bliss, El Paso, was established in 2005 as the successor unit to the German Air Force Air Defense School.
By providing training and follow-on training to air defense personnel at this Air Defense Center in El Paso, Texas, a tradition is continued that has existed for more than sixty years. The German Air Force Air Defense Center/USA is under the administrative control of 1 Surface-to-Air Missile Wing in Husum.
Training for German Patriot Soldiers
Qualification courses at the German Air Force Air Defense Center/USA provide fire control officers and maintenance personnel with the skills required for successful operation of the Patriot air defense missile system. These courses form the basis for the advanced and follow-on training courses conducted at the Center which train the course participants in new procedures for operating the Patriot system, for conducting operations and for dealing with technology issues. Specialist training for the Patriot weapon system is also provided at the German Air Force Air Defense Center/USA, for example training in advanced maintenance, in the employment of communications and in electronic warfare.
However, German Patriot soldiers are not only trained in El Paso. Some elements of the training for fire control officers and maintenance personnel are provided at Fort Sill, Oklahoma. Training in advanced maintenance for the Patriot weapon system is for the most part also conducted at Fort Sill. Since the relocation of the United States Army Air Defense Artillery School (USAADASCH) from Fort Bliss to Fort Sill in 2009, training for the US elements of the Patriot weapon system has been provided there.
In addition to course-based training, further development and cooperation with the US air defense artillery are an integral part of the mission.
Equipment, Lecture Rooms and Simulation Facilities
A wide array of systems and facilities is available for training: a reduced set of the Patriot weapon system, an ICC tactical surveillance and fire control center, a set of communications equipment, training equipment for German furnished equipment, a reconfigurable tabletop lecture room (RT-3) for Patriot simulation training, a surface-to-air missile operations center (SAMOC) lecture room with operating positions for a complete wing headquarters and a lecture room with operating positions for training with surface-to-air missile operations planning software and the Patriot Tactical Planner Work Station (TPWS).
This is complemented by modern facilities and equipment used to create, test, evaluate and check simulations and tactical simulation scenarios for warfare and operational planning. Other weapon systems and sensors can be integrated as part of network-enabled capabilities, both autonomously and with external and remote real-time connections to other participants with their weapon systems and simulation assets. Thus, the Center is able to use even complex air defense scenarios not only in the on-site training courses but also in high-value simulation exercises conducted jointly with, for example, 1 Surface-to-Air Missile Wing or our Dutch partners.
400 Participants per Year
The German Air Force Air Defense Center/USA currently trains 350 to 400 course participants per year at its Fort Bliss location. At Fort Sill, about 50 soldiers are trained each year before moving on to Fort Bliss for further training. Nearly 90 soldiers with their families and 24 locally employed persons are stationed at the German Air Force Air Defense Center/USA in El Paso. In addition, there are four soldiers with their families and one locally employed person at Fort Sill.
German Air Force
Lieutenant Colonel Ingo Scharschmidt
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German Air Force
Sergeant Major Peter Breuer