Viterbo, Italy - 23 June, 2015 by European Defence Agency
More than 30 helicopters and 1000 military personnel have gathered 80 kilometers north of Rome for Italian Blade 2015, this year’s largest military rotary-wing exercise in Europe. Crews from seven different countries have started training together yesterday using joint procedures and tactics during missions of increasing complexity.
After three successful live-flying events hosted by Portugal from 2012 to 2014, the EDA-developed Helicopter Exercise Programme (HEP) has moved to Italy this year. More than 1000 military personnel and 30 helicopters coming from seven nations are taking part in Italian Blade 2015. The exercise is delivered by the Italian Army Aviation in Viterbo, about 80 km north of Rome.
During two weeks, helicopter crews as well as ground forces will take part in joint missions during which efforts will be made to maximise interoperability between all assets involved. They will fly and operate in conditions likely to be faced in future operations, while promoting cooperation in helicopter training through the integration of multinational elements in the air and on the ground.
A mentor team of six instructors from Germany, the Netherlands, Sweden and the United Kingdom will support multinational crews in the preparation and execution of complex missions. The team will be managed by an EDA Chief Instructor, serving officer of the UK Royal Air Force, who will ensure consistency of the output as well as proper exchange of lessons learned during other EDA-organised training events, namely the Helicopter Tactics Course (HTC) and the Helicopter Tactics Instructor Course (HTIC), which also contribute to increasing the overall availability of European military helicopters.