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.
Located just 40 kilometers south of Porto, the military airbase in Ovar will soon beat to the rhythm of European rotors. Only a week from today, on July 16th, participants from six different countries will gather for two weeks in the Portuguese airfield for the seventh exercise supported by the European Defence Agency under the umbrella of the Helicopter Exercise Programme (HEP): Hot Blade 2014.
Six Member States will join the event with their aircraft and crews. The exercise will not only involve light, medium and heavy transport helicopters, but also tactical transport aircraft; Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) assets in the form of a P-3C Orion maritime patrol aircraft; and up to ten F-16 fighter aircraft from the Portuguese Air Force.
Aimed at increasing interoperability among participants, the exercise will also facilitate the training of crews in an environment similar to that of a possible theatre of operations. Increasingly complex missions will be flown, with tactical scenarios ranging from Special Operations Aviation or Urban Close Air Support to Combat Search & Rescue and Medical Evacuation.