During the second half of July 2014, the Ovar Air Base in northern Portugal will host the third sequel of the successful series of Hot Blade exercises, powered by the Helicopter Exercise Programme (HEP).
The Main Planning Conference (15-17 January in Ovar) proved an increased interest in participation in Hot Blade 14 by the HEP member states. A total of 30 helicopters, four fast jets, three transport aircraft and one Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance platform have been committed by Austria, Belgium, Germany, Netherlands, Portugal, Sweden and United Kingdom. Moreover, beside the participation of Portuguese ground forces, which have supported the last two Hot Blade exercises, Netherlands, Germany and United Kingdom are intending to send more than 450 troops to be part of the joint missions. Due to such a high number of ground troops participating, an integrated mission planning process will be introduced for the first time to enable seamless coordination and integration of the ground forces into the individual scenarios for the benefit of common exercise success.
As in the last year, the crews will be supervised and supported by the experienced mentors – instructors/graduates from the European Helicopter Tactics Instructor Course, which will be executed in March and May this year for the second time. In total the several hundred sorties and almost 1000 flying hours planned, promise a continuation of the unique multinational helicopter training opportunity provided by the Helicopter Exercise Programme.