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Soldiers conduct battle drills during Astral Knight 19

By Sgt. Erica Earl June 5, 2019

KOPER, Slovenia -- As a siren sounded, Soldiers of the 5th Battalion 7th Air Defense Artillery Regiment rushed to activate radar systems in a drill in Koper, Slovenia June 4, 2019.

The drill was part of exercise Astral Knight 19, a multinational combined exercise designed to test integrated air and missile defense capabilities. The exercise involves a combination of flight operations and computer-assisted scenarios.

During the drill, Soldiers individually have to quickly clear the radar, making sure nothing and no one is in the way or blocking the radar and that it is safe to use the equipment. The radar is used to pick up tracks and identify possible threats and communicate that information.

The alarms that sound during the drill are to ensure everyone is aware that the radar equipment is ready to be moved and start operating. While it is an important piece of tracking and communication equipment, standing in the way of anything that produces radiation can be dangerous.

Spc. Jack Boucher, a Patriot Fire Control Enhanced Operator with the 5-7 ADA, said this potential danger is why it is essential to practice drills with the equipment.

"It's important to practice to make sure the equipment is being used safely and everyone knows what is about to happen when we radiate," Boucher said. "It's good training for me and everyone else out here too."

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