Exercise Fire Blade 2017 concludes
The European Defence Agency's (EDA's) exercise Fire Blade 2017, hosted by the Hungarian defence forces, has concluded, the agency announced on 22 May.
Conducted at Papa Airbase in Hungary, the exercise offered an opportunity for participating member states to train together and improve tactics and interoperability, including the coordination and integration of Joint Terminal Air Controllers (JTAC) into live fire scenarios.
Five member states - Austria, Belgium, Germany, Hungary and Slovenia - participated in the exercise deploying 14 different European helicopters. With 16 air assets and 500 military participants, a total of 250 flight hours were accumulated and nearly 28,000 ammunition rounds and 480 non-guided rockets were fired during the exercise.
The first week of the exercise covered briefings on flight safety, battle rhythm and host nation support, weapon range procedures and a review of joint helicopter tactics. This was followed by individual training, helicopter operations, fighter evasion missions with Hungarian JAS-39 GRIPEN jets and live-fire training on different weapon ranges.
In the second week, the shooting ranges of Lake Balaton were used, allowing the flying participants to train in a highly realistic mixed rural and urban environment. The crews conducted coalition level training, planning and execution of seven composite air operation missions. These covered a spectrum of advanced helicopter manoeuvre tactics including a large formation of helicopters with embarked troops and integrated training JTAC, set against threats such as SA-6 SAM, T-72 main battle tanks and GRIPEN fighter aircraft.
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