Lebanon Brigade, under the command of the Spanish contingent, is conducting exercise ‘RITEX’, in which they have tested their command and control capabilities during the resolution of a crisis situation.
This is the first time in the United Nations operation in Lebanon (UNIFIL) that two annual exercises, ‘RESILIENT LINK’ and ‘RITEX’, have been combined with the aim of making this new exercise more operational and, technically more complex, using specific scenarios and operational conditions in accordance with UNIFIL's security and protection plans.
The main purpose of exercise ‘RITEX’ was to test, review and improve the response capabilities of UNIFIL Reserve Units (Sector East units with the FCR), testing in this case, the interoperability and coordination of the Multinational Brigade Headquarters Sector East deployed at its Forward Command Post, with the UNIFIL Joint Operations Centre (JOC) in Naquora.
The scenario was developed along with the operational challenges faced by the Brigade's units within its Area of Responsibility, the social outrage in South Lebanon caused by tensions along the Blue Line and the mistrust of the local population against UNIFIL's own troops.
During the exercise, for unknown reasons, a massive communications blackout was simulated between Sector HQ and Naquora, which required the deployment of the Forward Command Post.
This contingency made it possible to evaluate the behaviour, integration and interoperability of the different communications networks, reaching maximum efficiency with the HF communications systems.
The communications networks implemented were able to maintain links between the Sector East forward command post (SECEAST) and mission headquarters (FHQ). Throughout the exercise, the links with the ground units were not the only ones considered, but the maritime component of the mission was also integrated.
The Spanish signals unit deployed its ‘Soria’ mobile satellite station, which provided service to the Advanced Command Post of Sector HQ East, which was deployed this time in one of the positions of the Indonesian Battalion (INDOBATT).
The incidents that Brigade Commander had to deal with were diverse in nature, including demonstrations that blocked the movement of troops, making it difficult for them to carry out their tasks. The situation got worse with the throwing of stones and petrol bombs, and several unexploded munitions were located, some of which exploded, leading to a medical evacuation using a helicopter (CASEVAC).
The objectives set were successfully achieved and have served for the planning of new exercises of similar features.