The multinational helicopter exercise supported by the European Defence Agency will kick off on July 16th at Ovar airbase, Portugal. It will gather about 3.000 military personnel and more than twenty rotary-wing aircraft from six different countries in “hot, high and dusty” training conditions.
From 16 to 30 July 2014, Hot Blade 2014, the seventh exercise supported by EDA under the umbrella of the Helicopter Exercise Programme (HEP), will take place in Ovar, Portugal. Six countries are expected to participate (Austria, Beligium, Germany, The Netherlands, Portugal, and UK) with 24 helicopters, 14 fixed wing aircraft and over 800 helicopter personnel. Observers from Italy, Sweden, and NSHQ will also attend and a total of 3000 military personnel will be directly involved.
HB14 will be delivered by the Portuguese Air Force. The HEP is part of the EDA Helicopter Training Programme (HTP) which is consisting of the HEP, HTC (Helicopter Tactics Course), HTIC (Helicopter Tactics Instructors Course), OELC (Operational English Language Course), DisSim CCD (Distributed Simulation Capability Concept Demonstrator) and the Basic Helicopter Flying Training (BHFT) projects/ programmes. The overall objective is to prove that at very low cost, immediate operational output can be achieved. HB14 will allow crews to practice operations in a hot, high and dusty environment replicating the challenges and dynamic conditions that participant forces are expected to encounter when deploying to a theater of operation. The exercise will also implement “Joint Interoperability Training” based on joint interoperability tasks including Air Assault (AA), Special Operations Aviation (SOA), Combat Service Support (CSS), Close Air Support (CAS) including Urban CAS and Emergency CAS, Convoy/helicopter escorts, Reconnaissance and Security (R&S) operations, Combat Search and Rescue (CSAR), Personnel Recovery (PR), Military/ Non Military extractions (NEO Ops), Medical Evacuation (MEDEVAC) and Casualty Evacuation (CASEVAC). All missions will be launched from Ovar air base, functioning as a Deployable Operating Base (DOB), and the aircraft will return to the DOB each day. This model will maximize coordination and ensure a joint briefing and debriefing, where emphasis will be given to flight safety and lessons learned. As air operations will be developed largely in a TRA (Temporarily Restricted Airspace), a Helicopter Forward Operating Base (FOB) will be implemented in the civilian aerodrome of Seia. This option will increase operational flexibility and ensure the dynamics and realism of the scenario.