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KFOR  /  Media Center  /  Archive  /  Chronicles  /  Chronicle 2022  /  March  /  KFOR HQ J3 AIR


J3 Air is part of the J3 Division, its activities are mainly focused on 3 macro-areas providing overall support, assessment and supervision for: air assets management, airspace management, meteorological information collection and dissemination; in order to deliver direct support to KFOR, for all operational aspects involving Airspace usage. 

J3 Air has management responsibility to harmonize the use of the assigned air units (helicopters), done through the adoption and release of Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) to help priority based missions with planning, coordination and execution of given tasks, also meaning handling of Airport and helipad operations through its sub units. 

A great part of these duties is carried out by the Heliops office, responsible for collecting and processing of requests from headquarters and subordinate units, while directly tasking Air detachments. Heliops Office is also responsible to revise\update Local Area Procedures, Kosovo Helicopter Landing Site Directory, maps and other SOPs connected with usage of helicopters and to record and process flown hours, tasks, administration boundary line reports, aircrew certification, dissemination of helicopters flight schedule. 

Helicopters are often used for ISR, logistic transport of personnel\material, and can provide security quick response to support police activities, to maintain SASE and FOM. Some Air units are also available to provide Medical Emergency operations (MEDEVAC) for which JOC J3 AIR Desk assists JMED execution. 

Airspace management encompasses a wide variety of activities, those may go from the allocation of airspace for specific activities (tactical activity) to the creation/implementation of new air structures, procedures, regulations (strategic activity), and is directly responsible for the deconfliction of allocated airspace among the users, should they be military or civilian providing safety oversight and information (KFSM messaging system) to all airspace users in order to minimize\avoid interferences among all air activities. Segregated areas will be assigned for specific helo operations, or given for aerial activities requested by civilians (mainly to be used with drones – geo mapping, agricultural or construction porpoise etc…). 

With respect to civilian aerial activity J3 Air has also responsibility for assessment, approval and monitoring of civilian General Air Traffic (GAT) and commercial Remotely Piloted Aerial Systems (RPAS), operating in Kosovo lower Airspace. Another important aspect of Airspace management (operational level) relates to KFOR objective, being the owner of the airspace, aiming to normalize Kosovo airspace through the harmonization of its structure with the surrounding airspace following ICAO and Eurocontrol standards\ regulations. The process is complex and in light of the objective, J3 AIR liaise on behalf of KFOR with relevant Civil Aviation Authorities, Air Navigation Service Providers and other Airspace Stakeholder to help improve Kosovo airspace structure towards normalization. The Combined Meteorology and Oceanography (METOC) Unit (CMU) is tasked to provide METOC services for all forces deployed in KFOR and their supporting activities in order to ensure that the impact of weather is properly considered at all levels of operational decisions making, to strengthen safety of forces given that environmental information is a significant force multiplayer. 

The CMU primary task consist of anticipating the severe weather conditions that can affect operations within AOR, through the dissemination of information to the staff and units. Beside weather warnings, CMU produces and distributes updated weather forecast, covering from the next 24 hours to a 5 days extended outlook for planning porpoise and impact within the whole AOR.

Lt Col Gianluca ESPOSITO (OF-4)
Italian Air Force J3 Air Chief | HQ KFOR

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