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Exercise Green Blade is under way

Around 550 personnel and 15 helicopters arrived at Kleine-Brogel Air Base on Monday 17 September to participate in the joint and combined helicopter training and Special Forces exercise Green Blade/Pegasus. Green Blade is the fifth helicopter training exercise in a row organised since 2009 by the Helicopter Exercise Programme (HEP) of the European Defence Agency (EDA), while Pegasus is a biennial Belgian exercise for Special Forces. Combining both exercises into one not only offers excellent added training opportunities for both helicopter crews and Special Forces, but also has a cost-reducing effect.

By training together and exchanging ideas, the different Belgian, German and Italian helicopter crews and their support personnel develop common best practices and mutually improve their interoperability. The same goes for the participating Special Forces from Belgium, Italy and Spain. Additionally, the joint training of aircrews and Special Forces means that both groups of specialists are better prepared to work together in future operations.

On arrivals day, all personnel received a place to work and a bed to sleep, and went through a series of mandatory safety and security briefings. Safety in general and flight safety in particular are among the major concerns of the exercise direction as well as of the host nation, as was stressed once more by their representatives in their welcoming speech on the first evening.

The first week of the exercise is fully dedicated to what is called Combat Enhancement Training/Force Integration Training (CET/FIT) in military terminology. In short, it is a phase preceding the actual exercise during which the participants familiarise themselves with the exercise area and the equipment and procedures of their colleagues.

Tuesday 18 September was mainly spent on familiarisation briefings and flights. Members of the participating Special Forces became acquainted with the general characteristics and performances of the different types of helicopters present as well as with the procedures for safe boarding and disembarking. Belgian helicopter crews showed their German and Italian colleagues around in the area of operations for Exercise Green Blade/Pegasus during a pinpoint navigation over the provinces of Antwerp, Liège, Limburg and Namur. During these flights, Belgian pilots made their guests familiar not only with the local landscape and its landmarks, but also with particularities of the Belgian airspace, local flight rules and exercise specific operating procedures.

The images and the video below show the arrival of the helicopters, and the initial familiarization flights. More updates from the exercise will be posted throughout the next fortnight.

To learn more about Exercise Green Blade, see the press release here.


Green Blade helicopter sunset

Green Blade helicopter on ground under clouds

Green Blade 3 Helicopters in formation