EDA’s Personnel Recovery Functional Area Service Advanced Technology Demonstrator (PR FAS ATD), a sophisticated information management and Command & Control (C2) tool recently developed within the European Defence Agency to increase the efficiency of personnel recovery actions during military operations and missions, has now started being used by Member States in national PR courses.
Poland broke the first ground with two national Personnel Recovery (PR) courses, one in May and the most recent one from 12-23 September at the National Defence University in Rembertów in which the PR FAS ATD was successfully deployed and used. Organised on a regular basis by the Personnel Recovery Branch of the Polish Armed Forces Operational Command (AFOC), these courses aim at familiarising Polish military staff with PR. More than 60 students were trained on how to collect information and plan the recovery of isolated personnel in challenging and realistic scenarios. EDA facilitated the on-site training of users and provided information and technical support. The demonstrator almost completely replaced the usual ‘table-top’ exercise.
Easy to handle
After the courses, students agreed that the demonstrator was easy to use and intuitive. They especially praised its accuracy and considered it an important step in the delivery of PR education and training. “I believe that PR FAS ATD is a very handy tool for exercise purposes and I liked using it” said Major Robert Kietliński, one of the trainees. “Although it is just a technical demonstrator, I can see its potential benefits for real-life missions”.
Lt. Col. Zbigniew Zblewski, the chief of the Polish Armed Forces Operational Command Personnel Recovery Branch, welcomed the new possibilities offered by the demonstrator as a “significant leap forward” in PR training. According to him, “it is time to use the demonstrator on a much wider scale and to introduce it to more students”. “Every piece of available information that matters for PR is centralized in a single tool, everything is stored within the system which is very convenient for students and future controllers alike”, he commented.
The National Defense University in Rembertów was also engaged in the project; its representatives noted that “PR FAS ATD is an important step towards modernizing Personnel Recovery and unifying this field of knowledge within the Polish Armed Forces”. Moreover, an evaluation of the course results showed that students with varying degrees of knowledge of PR consistently found the system to be user friendly and comprehensive; they also concluded that it had improved their knowledge of PR significantly.
Demonstrator ready for other deployments
PR FAS ATD is the latest operational output developed in the context of the EDA’s Project Team Personnel Recovery. The tool supports planners and controllers with a number of functionalities and improved situational awareness. While it is usually possible to use the demonstrator through a standard PR FAS physical workstation, an internet-based (on-line) solution was chosen for the Polish course with the connection of six different computers each running an independent system.
EDA has distributed the tool to all its participating Member States (pMS), the European Union Military Staff (EUMS) and the European Personnel Recovery Centre (EPRC). The Capability, Armament & Technology Director, Air Commodore Peter Round, underscored that” the EDA is always ready to provide deployment support and training”. The Agency is also working to address the various aspects of the through-life management of the tool to ensure its operational functionality in the long-term. “An important objective of the EDA is to support member states in the development of the capabilities required to effectively recover isolated personnel and save lives”, Pete Round stated.