Czech Mil Mi-24V helicopters attract well deserved attention at Italian Blade 2015 exercise

Autor: Nuala Casey, Oldrich Holecek

The Italian city of Viterbo recently hosted a two-week international coordination exercise, held under the auspices of the European Defence Agency. Helicopter crews, forward air controllers, and ground personnel from ten countries, in a joint exercise, demonstrated their skills in the support, planning and execution of mission flights.

The Czech Republic was the second largest participant in the exercise, with three Mil Mi-24V helicopters, pilots and support personnel from the 221st Helicopter Squadron based in Namest. The exercise, which ended last week, included mutually coordinated flight missions of international crews, close air support, air drops, and a number of air operations that helicopter crews may encounter during real-life combat. More than a thousand soldiers and 38 aircraft paticipated.

“The European Defence Agency makes a concerted effort to supplement training carried out within NATO. Italian Blade is the eighth exercise of this sort in which we have succeeded in eliminating the training and procedurial differences among participating teams. These helicopter exercises are focused on enhancing interoperability, standardisation of training procedures, mission planning and execution. ” said Milos Pecha, representative of the European Defence Agency.

The legendary Mi-24 (“Hind” in NATO code) clearly showed that it was not ready for the scrap heap. This all-purpose machine was capable to doing any type of task required of it. “The machine achieves a high performance level and transport capacity, and we are delighted with the interest from the other participants.” said Major Jan Vanicky, the pilot of the 221st Squadron, during a discussion regarding the Italian logistics support of the exercise.

July 15, 2015