More than 1,000 coalition forces from 12 allied nations gathered at five training centers across Indiana to participate in Bold Quest 13.2, Sept. 8-21.
Bold Quest 13.2 is a two-week Joint Staff-led coalition demonstration involving air-combat assessment, joint fires, maneuvers and system concepts.
Participating nations included Australia, Belgium, Canada, Germany, Denmark, Finland, France, United Kingdom, Netherlands, Norway, Sweden and the United States.
German Capt. Martin Vogt, an airborne early warning and control system fighter locator with NATO, said Bold Quest was a demonstration of new communications systems that has real-world applications which allow coalition nations to work together to solve communication issues they might face in the future.
“Basically you are mirroring what you do in an operation,” said Vogt. “Your operation is not going to be a single nation. In the future it will always be a multi-nation operation. You are going to have all these different systems that are normally not designed to be compatible and you want them to have certain compatibility so you can exchange data between the different nations. That is why this exercise is really good because you get all the different nations, and you get all the different systems and you can see where you are and what you can do.”
The biggest challenge for coalition forces was using different equipment to achieve the same goal, said Vogt.
“Bold Quest is an exercise where different branches of forces come together and try to get all systems to talk the same language,” he said. “Overall I have to say, the whole thing came together very nicely.”
Michael Shifflett with command, control, communications, and computers Joint Staff said, the Bold Quest demonstration at Camp Atterbury had coalition forces successfully complete live-fire missions while conducting a close-air-support mission.
While conducting the live-fire exercise, the Norwegians successfully networked their radars to their command-and-control system. As the American field artillery fired, the Norwegian radar tracked the rounds back to the source. Then the location of the American field artillery was fed to French Mirage 2000D fighters to coordinate counter fire, he said.
The live-fire event brought all the coalition forces together to demonstrate a multi-faceted complex mission, said Shifflett.
“It is truly exciting to see how these systems will work together, and that is what we are all about; to make sure system-to-system digital interoperability is maintained,” he said.
Bold Quest training was conducted at Camp Atterbury near Edinburgh, Ind.; Grissom Air Reserve Base near Kokomo; the 122nd Fighter Wing, in Fort Wayne; Jefferson Proving Ground near Madison, and Muscatatuck Urban Training Center near Butlerville, Ind.
The multiple locations played a valuable role in the success of Bold Quest, according to Maj. Gen. Omer C. Tooley Jr., the assistant adjutant general for the Indiana National Guard and senior mission commander for the Atterbury-Muscatatuck Center for Complex Operations.
“Initially what we got are positive responses from all the people we support and it’s in response to basically what is the core of what we have to offer here,” said Tooley. “Essentially our job is to provide to our various customers, both U.S. and foreign, both defense and non-defense, a very realistic 21st-century contemporary operating environment.”
As technology advances, so does the training Soldiers receive, said Tooley, and Bold Quest represents the future.
Bold Quest represents the future in terms of how forces interact on the battlefield, said Tooley.
“So what you see embedded in Bold Quest is this idea of integrating not only coalition forces and services internal to the U.S., but also operating and conducting testing and training and doing so in a collaborating fashion, which is more reflective of the real-world reality.”
Tooley said he was honored and appreciated the opportunity to support Bold Quest.
“We think what they are doing is exactly what we are trying to do in terms of creating the playing field of the future,” he said.