Belgian A-109 helicopters arrive at Namest Base to engage in joint exercise

Autor: CPT Jana Skrivankova

Three Augusta A-109 Belgian helicopters landed last week at the Air Base at Namest to take part in their regular practice flight missions with their Czech counterparts. The joint Czech-Belgian "Exercise South Plains" will continue until 10th April.

As part of the NATO Squadron Exchange programme, the 22nd Helicopter Base at Namest will host the 32-member Belgian team from the 1st Wing of the Beauvechain Air Base.

The ten-day exercise will chiefly focus on night flying missions, low altitude flying, close air support, and training for joint missions (COMAO – Composite Air Operation). The helicopters will mainly be flying over training areas in the vicinity of Namest Base, although they will also use the Libava Military Training Area for live air-to-ground firing practices.

After landing the helicopters in heavy snow, the crews were welcomed by Lieutenant Colonel Martin Jandourek, Commander of 221st Helicopter Squadron, who is also the Director of the exercise.

"This is my first time in the Czech Republic and, so far, the weather has not been very favourable. However, I am really looking forward to this joint training exercise," said Lieutenant Colonel Wim Schoepen, Commander of the Belgian team.

The Czech and Belgian helicopter crews will continue to meet up several times in the upcoming year. The next exercise is planned for May this year during the Tactical Helicopter Procedures Update which will take place at the Belgian Beauvechain Base, then again in June in Italy during the Italian Blade Exercise, followed by the Trident Juncture Exercise in Spain in September.

April 8, 2015