Belgian helicopter crews return to the Czech Republic

Autor: Nuala Casey, Oldrich Holecek

A two-week joint training exercise of Belgian and Czech helicopter crews is under way at Namest Helicopter Base, in the Jeseniky Mountains and will be followed by air-to-ground live-fire practices at the Boletice Military Training Area.

The exercise, Avenger-Moravian Griffon, will focus on night flying over mountainous terrain at low altitudes, close air support, and the planning and preparation for the execution of joint Composite Air Operation (COMAO) missions.

"This year we have introduced a new operation: a joint composite mission in the Jeseniky Mountains which includes the tactical manoeuvre training for helicopter crews using the L-159 ALCA and SAAB 39 Gripen fighters from the 21st Tactical Air Base in Caslav," explained Captain Ondrej Truxa, helicopter pilot and coordinator of the exercise.

"The grand finale of the exercise will be a live-fire practice exercise of the A-109 machines at the Boletice Military Training Area," said Lieutenant Colonel Martin Jandourek, Commander of the 221st Helicopter Squadron and Director of the exercise. "After a break of several years, cooperation between the Belgian and Czech helicopter crews was resumed in 2014 and has remained an intensive training exercise since then. As part of the NATO Squadron Exchange programme, the 17th Squadron of the Belgian Royal Air Force in Beauvechain last year also played host to our personnel and equipment in a week long Tactical Helicopter Procedures Update training, " added Jandourek.

By Nuala Casey and Oldrich Holecek

Pictures: CPT Martin Bures, 1LT Pavel Jager, CPT Tomas Chlebecek

March 22, 2016