The European Defence Agency’s 5th Helicopter Tactics Instructors Course (HTIC), which ran over several weeks at Royal Air Force (RAF) base in Linton-on-Ouse (North Yorkshire, UK) and Arvidsjaur Airfield in Lapland (Sweden), was successfully completed in July.
The course began in May with a four-week classroom phase, which included simulator exercises at Linton-on-Ouse, followed by a three week deployment to Arvidsjaur Airfield in Lapland/Sweden where participants engaged in live flying exercises. Supported by personnel from No 1 Helikopter Skvadron in Lulea, the flying phase included a complex operational scenario employing: dissimilar formation flying, evasion training against a range of airborne threats, Electronic Warfare (EW) against both ground-based and airborne systems and a variety of additional tasks such as Helicopter Assault, Convoy Escort, Mutual Support and Vehicle Check Points.
The Staff Instructors came from Sweden, Austria and the UK with several supporting air assets: Hawks from 100 Sqn (UK), Gripens from 211 and 212 Sqn (Sweden) and Alca Jets from the Czech Air Force (212 Sqn). In addition, EW assets and personnel was provided by RAF Spadeadam.
In total, 10 Bronze, 6 Silver and 3 Gold Badges were awarded ensuring that the international cadre of Helicopter Tactics Instructors has once again been strengthened and grown for the 5th year in a row.
EDA’s Helicopter Tactics Instructors Course (HTIC) provides aircrew from participating nations with the skills and knowledge to teach advanced tactics to front-line aircrews from within their own national organisations and to assist in delivering the EDA’s Helicopter Exercise Programme (HEP), the Helicopter Tactics Course (HTC) and the future HTIC. Successful graduates from the course are awarded a qualification recognised by other Member States. HTIC development courses run over two years: in the first year, prospective instructors refine their own knowledge of advanced helicopter tactics to the maximum degree. In the second year, the emphasis shifts to develop the participants’ ability to teach those tactics. In turn, Instructors who have demonstrated above average abilities in delivering the course will be individually selected to come back a third time and teach alongside the existing instructional staff to finally achieve their Gold instructor qualification to become supervising instructors for future HTIC.
The three main elements of HTIC include Evasion Training, Electronic Warfare and advanced Operations. They are initially taught as stand-alone skills before being brought together in a complex, non-permissive environment in the framework of the planning and execution of Composite Air Operations (COMAO).