What is the name of the Luftwaffe squadrons

Federal Army

Property protection taken seriously

The object protection battalion of the German Air Force

Gone are the days when property protection people thought - if at all - of soldiers on patrol with their weapons slung around their necks. The threat of terrorism, asymmetrical warfare, but also organized crime has given property protection a new role. This also applies to the protection of military objects abroad, such as B. from airfields of international crisis reaction forces.

International crisis management and humanitarian aid are among the main foreign tasks of the German Armed Forces today and thus also affect the Air Force. This has to protect its facilities and forces in the context of all of its tasks against possible threats. Both in the context of national and alliance defense (i.e. in Germany and on NATO territory) as well as in missions outside of NATO territory (e.g. in the event of rapid deployment of crisis reaction forces), forces present must take over the protection of air force facilities, a kind of " Partial mobilization "followed by lengthy deployment preparation is not envisaged. The property protection was not assigned to a separate association until 1997, it was an additional task of other air force associations. However, the strength of the forces present in the Air Force was at best sufficient for ad hoc property protection in Germany and on NATO territory; property protection abroad was not planned according to the plan. Even forces from allies or host nations were and are not always available in the required number and with the necessary skills.

From 1996 this led to a reorganization of the object protection tasks and the establishment of the object protection battalion of the Air Force (ObjSBtlLw). With this battalion, the Air Force has for the first time a special object protection association which, with its five squadrons (companies), covers the following types of operations - insofar as it is necessary for the respective operation (at home and abroad):

Infantry property protection; Anti-aircraft defense in property protection (in Germany, anti-aircraft defense stands for anti-aircraft defense for all troops. That is why the German term anti-aircraft defense has been retained); NBC defense and self-protection; Fire protection; Ordnance investigation, disposal and defense; Repair of damage.

The first parts of the battalion were put into service in March 1997. The deployment phase was de facto completed with the relocation of the soldiers for the 2nd fire protection platoon of the 4th NBC self-protection and fire protection squadron (see below) in April 1999.

Organization, dislocation

The battalion has a staff (no staff company) and five squadrons (companies):

1st squadron (infantry protection) with four air force security platoons; 2nd squadron (infantry protection) with four air force security platoons; 3rd squadron (anti-aircraft defense in property protection) with a total of approx. 50 "Fliegerfaust" squads in two platoons; 4th relay (NBC defense and fire protection) with three NBC self-protection trains and two fire protection trains; 5th squadron (airfield damage and ordnance disposal) with four damage removal platoons, two ordnance detection and ordnance disposal platoons as well as an explosive ordnance detection dog platoon under construction.

Due to the accommodation options available there, the ObjSBtlLw is divided into four garrisons: Schortens (1st, 2nd and 4th season), Wangerland (3rd season), Wittmund (staff) and Diepholz (5th season).

The individual parts of the battalion are up to 170 km apart. Territorial (troop service) they are subordinate to the commander of the 4th Air Force Division in Aurich. For operations, the battalion reports directly to the commander of the Air Force Command Command. It does not have its own replenishment and maintenance parts and therefore does not have a headquarters company. According to the STAN (strength and equipment certificate), the strength of the battalion is currently around 1,000 soldiers. Further situation-dependent areas of responsibility are planned, including the necessary training courses, weapons and equipment assignments and the adaptation of the workforce to the new requirements.

In addition to their primary professional activity, all soldiers of the association are (at least) trained or trained in a further function. This significantly increases the flexibility in use as well as the survivability of the unit and - of course - that of the individual soldier.

The use of the ObjSBtlLw is modular, i. H. in squadron or platoon modules or in group modules for anti-aircraft object security. The type and number of modules are put together and used depending on the location. A closed foreign deployment of the entire battalion is generally not planned!

In the case of foreign missions by parts of this association - unlike in Austria - there is no supplementation by volunteers or reservists. So there is no situation-related increase in the cadre - what cannot be covered with the existing staff is therefore omitted!

The basic mission

The basic mission of the association is therefore the modular provision of forces in relay, platoon or group strengths to ensure the tasks of the above-mentioned forms of active and passive property protection as far as it is necessary for the deployment on site. The Luftwaffe's object protection battalion is thus the only Bundeswehr association that combines all forms of active and passive object protection.

The 1st and 2nd squadrons provide infantry property protection (InfObjS). They currently have all-terrain vehicles, mainly of the "Unimog" 2 t type, which are provisionally protected with barbed wire from being climbed by demonstrators, etc. In the future it will be wheeled armored vehicles of the "Dingo" type.

The 3rd squadron is responsible for the air defense in property protection (FlaObjS). With it, the air force has for the first time present forces against a threat from the air, which are equipped with the weapon system "Stinger" ("Fliegerfaust" 2). The 50 or so "Fliegerfaust" squadrons of this squadron are also intended for use by the Air Force as part of the national and alliance defense. They are already firmly assigned to protected objects in the alliance area and are already practicing in peace on the respective protected object. To support the exercises and to reduce the soldiers' "traveling", this squadron received a unique technology: a virtual reality trainer (VR trainer) for the weapon system "Stinger" in combination with a database generation station (DBGE). The squadron can train air defense scenarios on the VR trainer without having to resort to real flight targets. All scenarios are saved in the computer and can be called up as required. The system's repertoire includes different types of combat aircraft and attack helicopters, approach procedures, speeds and profiles, but also different landscapes and objects to be protected. These protected object files are created by staff in the echelons with the help of the database generation station. This means that operations can be practiced that correspond exactly to the real local conditions - without depicting the enemy, even without being on site. This saves training costs and training time.

The 4th season was recently expanded to include the component of military fire protection (i.e. fire protection under operational conditions). As a result, it is the first and so far only squadron of the Luftwaffe to have the capability for this type of operation.

The 5th season features, inter alia. using special personnel and equipment to repair damage to the taxiway. It is currently being reclassified as part of Air Force Structure 5 and - also as the first air force squadron - receives detection dogs for exploration of ordnance ("explosive dogs"). The training is comprehensive and is also based on the current training courses in neighboring countries.

In order to guarantee professional execution of the order, the following are also planned:

improving stamina, including the full equipment of the emergency trains with night vision devices; the improvement of survivability through improved protection of the troops in action z. B. through more hardened transport space; improving leadership through more powerful communication tools such as the SEM 90/90 VHF radio and satellite communication.

The combat training

The combat training is subject-specific and therefore takes into account the conditions at airfields. So z. B. the fight in built-up area (house fight) intensively practiced - u. A. with sharp hand grenades in a rubber house.

Shooting with common handguns such as the P8 pistol, the G36 assault rifle, the grenade pistol, the MG3 machine gun and the "Panzerfaust" 3 can be practiced "dry" in a shooting theater (training device for handguns / anti-tank weapons - AGSHP) with very realistic scenarios . Up to four soldiers can practice at the same time. The attachment must be adjusted for the training weapons; Loading, unlocking and reloading is the same as with real weapons. Even realistic recoil is simulated. All possible data on the weapon holding, the handling by the shooter, the location of the hits, etc. are recorded and evaluated. This allows shooters and operating errors to be recognized and corrected before the first sharp shot.

From the train to the troop, the guidance through signs is of great importance. Often not a single word is uttered from the issuing of the command to the execution on site! If orders and combat talks are required, they are consistently given in concise military language using specialist terminology.

"Prussian drill" and exaggerated "jaggedness" can hardly be felt in the training. On the other hand, smooth, professional teamwork is particularly important. The tone within the association is calm and friendly, but definitely determined. Compliance with the formal discipline (greeting, adjustment, reports, ...) is a matter of course - it does not seem "ordered", but as a result of mutual respect.

The transport to the military training area does not take place with all-terrain personnel carriers (wooden benches, no belts - risk of injury), but with buses, some of which come from the former holdings of the National People's Army (NVA) of the former GDR. The mission-related training continues to take place on and with the all-terrain vehicles ("Unimog" 2 t).

staff

At the beginning of 2003 the ObjSBtlLw had a total of approx. 1,000 soldiers, including ~ 40 officers, ~ 320 NCOs (according to the Austrian understanding) and ~ 640 batches and men.

The German officer earns (when used domestically) almost twice as much as a comparable Austrian officer. A serious comparison of NCO salaries is not possible, however, because the German NCO system differs significantly from the Austrian one.

The teams are generally voluntary long-term service or contract soldiers with a commitment period of more than 18 months and an obligation abroad. When choosing, attention is paid to professionalism and experience in certain areas. Military drivers, construction machinery operators, deputy group leaders of infantry groups, snipers and specialists of all kinds are always wanted and welcome.

As a rule, the staff is not recruited from the local area. In this battalion z. B. from a distance to the garrison of up to 50 km 4 percent, up to 100 km 7 percent, up to 200 km 15 percent, over 200 km 74 percent.

The reason for this: The local volunteers prefer the "classic" marine (North Sea) and paratrooper careers. Most of the soldiers of the ObjSBtlLw come - due to the youth unemployment there - from the former GDR, they aim to serve in a special unit as their main occupation and are therefore highly motivated. Only one percent of the staff are women.

Previous assignments:

1999: Deployment in the 2nd and 3rd German KFOR contingent; 2000: Operation as part of humanitarian aid in Mozambique as well as in the 1st and 2nd SFOR / KFOR contingent; 2001: Use in the 3rd and 4th contingent SFOR / KFOR as well as at "ESSENTIAL HARVEST" (reporting and evaluation center), "AMBER FOX" and as part of the "TASK FORCE FOX".

2002: Use in the 5th and 6th contingent SFOR / KFOR as well as "TASK FORCE FOX" and within the framework of ISAF (in Uzbekistan - parts of the air force were deployed there to supply ISAF in Afghanistan).

2003: Used with the 4th object protection squadron at GECONKIA (German Contingent Kabul International Airport, Afghanistan) and at ISAF 4 (Afghanistan).

SFOR / KFOR deployed a platoon of infantry object protection, an air force pioneer platoon and ordnance disposal team, "ESSENTIAL HARVEST", "AMBER FOX" and "TASK FORCE FOX" deployed ordnance disposal personnel and fire protection personnel in the quartermaster squadron, and in Mozambique a group of NBC self-defense personnel participated in the actions humanitarian aid, at ISAF (Uzbekistan) an air force pioneer fireworker (ordnance disposal) (in Uzbekistan parts of the air force were stationed to supply ISAF in Afghanistan), at the 4th object protection squadron at GECONKIA two platoons of infantry object protection, an NBC defense and NBC defense -Self-protection train, a fire protection train (airfield fire brigade) and an air force pioneer train (damage repair), at ISAF 4 a munitions disposal squad.

At a glance

In times of international terror and increased instability, property protection is becoming increasingly important. However, efficient property protection at home and abroad is not available for free - not even with the German Air Force. In addition to modern, demand-oriented equipment and armaments in sufficient numbers, intelligent, physically capable, technically well-trained and motivated soldiers are required for this sensitive task, a small percentage of whom must also be available for foreign assignments practically immediately. The main task of this battalion is to ensure this - and thus more security.

(to be continued)


Author: Wolfdieter Hufnagl, born in 1944. Militia sergeant (vice lieutenant in the telecommunications force in the former telecommunications battalion 1 in Vienna) and training as a motor sergeant (army driving instructor A). Information officer of the Austrian Armed Forces (Military Command Vienna). Several assignments abroad, including in Albania and Kosovo. Before his retirement, he worked full-time at the Austrian Federal Railways in a managerial position in rail operations, later in the general management with the creation of new company concepts. Author of several specialist books in the fields of the military, police, railways and weapons technology.

The author received the approval of the Bundeswehr to visit the only object protection battalion of the Luftwaffe - even German journalists rarely get this approval. He was also able to take part in the training of an air force security platoon of the 3rd squadron of this relatively young battalion at the Hammelburg military training area. This train completed the so-called full training there and was in preparation for the 7th KFOR contingent, but received a new deployment location during the training: Afghanistan.

During the training there were neither "Potemkin villages" nor "shows" - the normal daily training routine was shown. The journalistic work was free and uncensored. Every soldier was free to speak to and the answers were honest. TRUPPENDIENST and the author would like to express our special thanks for this trust.