Green Blade exercise validates EDA helicopter initiative

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The European Defence Agency's (EDA's) helicopter training programme has concluded its second multinational exercise this year, with its "Green Blade" manoeuvres having run between 18 September and 5 October in Belgium.

Aircraft involved in the activity included five Belgian military AgustaWestland AW109s, and six German army Bell UH-1Ds, plus an Italian army contribution of two AW129 Mangusta attack helicopters and two Boeing CH-47C Chinook transports. Work included supporting another exercise named Pegasus, which was being staged by special forces personnel from Belgium, Italy and Spain.

 

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Participating types included German army UH-1Ds

The first week of the exercise was dedicated to combat enhancement and force integration training, with crews familiarising themselves with flying conditions from Belgium's Kleine-Brogel air base before practising joint reconnaissance and medical evacuation tasks and using a forward arming and refuelling point.

Activities then developed to include realistic scenarios in co-operating with special forces personnel. This consisted of mounting a simulated attack on a mock terrorist training camp, rescuing a VIP hostage and arresting an enemy commander.

"The exercise provides an ideal opportunity to demonstrate the advances made by the EDA's pooling and sharing initiative," the multinational body says. Earlier this year, Portugal hosted exercise "Hot Blade", which focused on flying rotorcraft under hot and high conditions.

Andy Gray, manager of the EDA's helicopter programme, says an agreement has been reached between the agency's member states to continue staging such training activities. A memorandum of understanding should be signed during a November meeting to guarantee exercises will continue until 2022, he adds.