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Bold Quest exercise wraps up

An F-15 Eagle conducts its final tactical mission Sept. 21 as part of exercise Bold Quest at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev. The nine nation exercie was held jointly at Nellis AFB and Fort Irwin, Calif. (U.S. Air Force photo/Casey Bain)

An F-15 Eagle conducts its final tactical mission Sept. 21 as part of exercise Bold Quest at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev. The nine nation exercie was held jointly at Nellis AFB and Fort Irwin, Calif. (U.S. Air Force photo/Casey Bain)

NELLIS AIR FORCE BASE, Nev. (AFPN) -- The last mission complete, U.S. Joint Forces Command officials now have the task of assessing all the data collected during the Coalition Combat Identification Advanced Concept Technology Demonstration, known as Bold Quest.

The nine nation coalition operational exercise took place at Nellis Air Force Base and the National Training Center at Fort Irwin, Calif., and was USJFCOM's largest demonstration of the year.

The Joint Fires Integration and Interoperability Team, called JFIIT, a subordinate command of USJFCOM, was part of the team that included representation from all U.S. services in this nine nation coalition. The countries that participated in this event included: Australia, Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, Netherlands, Sweden, United Kingdom, United States and NATO.

The purpose of Bold Quest was to assess combat identification technologies in a stressful and challenging operational environment in order to improve coalition combat effectiveness and reduce fratricide across all services, and with our allies.

"Bold Quest was an unqualified success," said Navy Cmdr. Shannon Coulter, JFIIT operational lead at Bold Quest. "While technology will never replace sound judgment and leadership on the battlefield, it can provide more time and situational understanding for our service members to help make those crucial engagement decisions."

Bold Quest allowed U.S. forces to team with international partners to demonstrate and assess cooperative and non-cooperative combat identification technologies that will ultimately provide the warfighter with a means to help identify enemy, friendly, or neutral ground entities on the battlefield. 

"Thumbs up all around," said Canadian Lt. Col. Peter Nielsen, the director of the Joint Combat Identification Canadian Forces. "Bold Quest provided an unprecedented venue of complexity and sophistication to pass and share data that has not been seen before. This demonstration has been about people, processes and technologies coming together as team of nations to solve the enduring problem of combat ID."

The operational planners for this demonstration were in agreement with the overall success of the exercise. 

"This has been an outstanding opportunity for my squadron to participate in such an exciting event. We fill like we're making a difference on behalf of all warfighters everywhere," said Air Force Maj. Rick Smith, the 630th Electronic Systems Squadron operations officer at Hanscom AFB, Mass. "We've made this extremely complex event work to meet our objectives;  we've accomplished our mission, and that feels great."

JFIIT provided expertise to help develop the networks that were established to facilitate data collection in order to validate and assess the technologies being demonstrated at the exercise. "It has been an amazing opportunity to participate in such a well orchestrated event," said Robert Sowell, the JFIIT program manager . "Bold Quest has provided a challenging environment for us to operate in, but it was absolutely needed to help solve the complex issue of providing timely and accurate coalition combat ID to our warfighters wherever they might deploy and fight."

While all services played a vital role in this exercise, the Air Force served as the lead service for this demonstration. More than 1,850 U.S. and coalition participants took part in this capstone event. 

The data collected during this exercise will now be assessed to determine the military utility of the technology used in Bold Quest. The results of the assessment will be provided to each nation's decision makers to determine what equipment could be fielded in the future to enhance coalition combat effectiveness and reduce fratricide and collateral damage on the battlefield. 

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