April 23, 2012 defpro.com
In the spirit of the slogan “If to fight together, we must train together”, twelve Czech and Croatian soldiers of helicopter crews train at the Mosnov Helicopter Training Point before their deployment in Afghanistan. The very first joint training started this week at the simulator, while practical training will be held in Croatia.
Czech and Croatian pilots of Mi-17 transport helicopters do not meet for the first time. They cooperate at the Kabul International Airport KAIA for a long time, where, as the Air Advisor Team, lead training, advising and schooling of both flying and ground personnel of the Afghan National Army.
The training will go on this May with a three-week practical flying at Zadar, Croatia. According to Brigadier General Bohuslav Dvorak, Director of Operations of the Czech Defence Ministry, training at the air simulator in the Czech Republic includes, besides others, also emergency procedures, while training in Croatia will increase pilots´ skills to serve under conditions which are close to deployment in Afghanistan. "They´ll have to land in high temperatures, on surfaces of high sea level and in a dusty environment," he said.
NATO Smart Defence - Czech project of the Multinational Aviation Training Centre
This joint training is a Czech contribution to the NATO Smart Defence initiative. It is the beginning of the Multinational Aviation Training Centre based in the Czech Republic. Pilots of NATO, European Union and partner countries, whose militaries are equipped with Russian-made Mi type helicopters, will receive skills to work and fight shoulder to shoulder. The goal is simple: save money and unify training procedures.
"At present, Afghans are trained by several nations which have a little bit different procedures and it causes problems in operating the helicopters," said First Deputy Defence Minister Jiri Sedivy to the media.
The Centre should be supported by the highest NATO representatives at the upcoming Summit in Chicago next month. The Smart Defence initiative deals with interconnecting different capabilities of member countries to reach higher effectiveness and economy. “Whatever we will do, will be based on the best and cheapest knowledge. It should result in much cheaper training lessons, and higher quality of training standards compared to those we have now,” Sedivy added.