Fourteen students from Germany and Sweden together with four observers from Austria and Hungary participated in the first European Helicopter Tactics Instructor Course (EHTIC) which was successfully organised in two parts. The classroom and simulator phase took place from 08 - 28 April in the UK (RAF Linton-on-Ouse) and the life flying phase was hosted and located by Sweden at the Vidsel Test Range (06 – 24 May) 2013. The complete course is part of the EDA Helicopter Training Programme (HTP).
The aim of course is to give selected European helicopter aircrew tactical depth and expertise, leading to an enhanced awareness of helicopter tactics and employment and multi-national integration. At the end of the course graduates are adept at imparting tactical instruction during training and on operations and are also competent in providing helicopter tactical advice at one star level, as well as leading multi-platform complex Composite Air Operations (COMAOs).
Classroom and simulator phase
The classroom and simulator phase was executed in the simulator assets of the Helicopter Tactics Course (HTC) and followed the syllabus of the UK QHTI (Qualified Helicopter Tactics Instructor) course as the baseline. Fourteen instructors of the UK instructor team of the ROWETU (Rotary-Wing Operational Evaluation and Trials Unit) ran the course which allowed a ratio of one instructor per student. This allowed a very individual and supportive training with a high-value output.
The focus of the course is to not only train the pilots, but the rear crew (chiefs and door-gunners) as well. Not only the “Pitchers” (German nickname for the front crew) had to prepare the missions or give related briefings, the “Mixers” (German nickname for the crew chiefs) and the door-gunners where challenged as well.
Life flying phase
For the life flying phase, one CH-53 (Germany), one AS332 (Sweden, Super Puma) and two UH-1D (Germany) were available.The life flying phase was executed in cooperation with the UK 100 Squadron which deployed their two HAWK fast jets as red air for the evasion training phase. Swedish GRIPPEN jets were involved in this part of the course as well.
The following topics are integral parts of the course:
- Electronic Warfare Training (EW)
- Evasion Training (ET)
- Airspace Battle Management (ATO, ACO, SPINS)
- Helo Escort Techniques
- Other Operations (Wells, Tac-3D Manoeuvres, Vehicle Interdiction, Mutual Support)
- Tac Formations
- Mission Preparation & Planning
- COMAO Mission Planning
- Multinational, English language, three building-block phases
Excellent support was provided by the Swedish Ministry of Defence organisation, FMV, which is running the Vidsel Test Range and which provided all necessary organisational requirements for the live flying phase in Sweden.
Results and way forward
The EHTI course delivers an outstanding opportunity to expose helicopter crews to the training methodology and tactical knowledge of another Member State. “An extremely challenging course, delivered by highly professional instructors, we have to keep this going”, said Major Sascha Pink from the German Army Aviation. It is also the first step in delivering a sustainable European course where successful graduates can be awarded a qualification recognised by all pMS. Additionally, on returning home, these graduates can pass on the common understanding and methodologies to their own crews and can interact as mentors vis-à-vis other helicopter programmes.
During the HOT BLADE Exercise of the Helicopter Exercise Progamme (HEP) in Portugal this July, many of the freshly trained instructors will meet together with UK instructors at OVAR Airbase and form together the first Mentor Team for an HEP Exercise, ready to support the multinational crews in preparation and execution of the challenging COMAO missions.
This year’s students will become next year’s instructors. This will allow the gradual build-up of expertise and create a self-sustaining course using European Qualified Helicopter Tactics Instructors.
- For more information on the Agency's helicopter activities, please visit the project page.
- Pictures from the course are available on Flickr.