Exercise Report : Exercise Italian Blade 2015
Exercise ITALIAN BLADE 2015 - Viterbo
Valter Marchetti contributed his photo report from the media day of Exercise Italian Blade 2015.
The Italian Commando Aviazione dell’Esercito (Army Aviation Command) hosted a media day on June 29 during the course of the multinational helicopter exercise Italian Blade 2015, which was held in Viterbo from 22 June to 3 July. Organised by the Aviazione dell’Esercito, Italian Blade 2015 (IB15) was this year's large scale exercise in the framework of the Helicopter Exercise Programme (HEP). The Exercise Programme is part of the efforts by the European Defence Agency (EDA) to further increase the level of tactical training and cooperation of European military helicopter crews. Additionally, the EDA also established the Helicopter Tactics Course (HTC) and the Helicopter Tactics Instructor Course (HTIC).
Following last year's 'Blade' exercise in Portugal, IB15 was designed to allow European helicopter crews to train together in standard and tactical procedures by operating as a joint/combined Task Force in crisis response operations (CRO) simulating a challenging, realistic and dynamic scenario. Besides the focus on flying in demanding environmental conditions, the exercise implemented Joint Interoperability Training and efforts to maximise integration of joint tasks, including Air Assault (AA), Special Operations Aviation (SOA), Combat Service Support (CSS), Close Air Support (CAS) including Urban CAS and Emergency CAS, Convoy/helicopter escorts, Reconnaissance and Security (R&S) operations, Combat Search and Rescue (CSAR), Personnel Recovery (PR), Military/Non Military extractions (NEO Ops), Medical Evacuation (MEDEVAC) and Casualty Evacuation (CASEVAC).
The media day for IB15 began with a briefing about the photo opportunities of the day, a visit to the flightline at Viterbo, before we were in groups transferred by bus to the nearby Monte Romano range, where we could witness, from a favorable position, all the important phases of the dynamic exercise scheduled for the day.
IB15 participants included Austria (55 personnel) with four AB212 helicopters. Also sending four light helicopters was Belgium (43 personnel) with the A109BA. Hungary (25 personnel) and Slovenia (8 personnel) each participated with a single medium transport helicopter, Mi-17 'Hip' and AS532AL Cougar respectively. In addition to four NH90 TTHs, four UH-1D 'Hueys', a single CH-53GA, Germany (355 personnel) also took part with airborne troops. Attack helicopters included three Mi-24V 'Hinds' deployed by the Czech Republic (42 personnel), in addition to the Italian A129CBT/A129D Mangustas that were also involved, although not spotted on the media day. The Aviazione dell’Esercito participated with one of the new ICH-47F Chinooks in addition to one older CH-47C Chinook, several NH90 TTH as well as the lighter AB212 and AB412 helicopters. The Italian Navy also took part with the EH101 Assault Support Helicopter. As the host of the exercise, and with most of the helicopters in addition to ground troops, the exercise involved 545 personnel from Italy.
The exercise mission on June 29 showcased at the range's area seen here involved 12 of the helicopters, but IB15 also included larger scale operations with up to 30 helicopters and more airborne troops.
In addition to witnessing the exercise from the range, the media day had started with a visit to the flightline at Viterbo in the morning. Alongside Italian NH90 and Chinook helicopters, Viterbo hosted the international participants. Below are the photos from the parked helicopters, preparations for flight, and take-off / landing of the morning flights by the Slovenian Cougar, Hungarian Mi-17 Hip, Czech Mi-24 'Hinds', German CH-53GA, and the ICH-47F Chinook. In addition to the participating helicopters, several of 4 Reggimento Aviazione dell’Esercito other Chinooks including some stored examples could be captured on this beautiful morning.
The media day organization put in place was a true testimony of the efficient planning and organising skills of the Italian Army Aviation staff. We want to thank Colonel Meola, Chief Public Information Unit of the Army Aviation Command, plus Captain Marchi and Brocolini for their courtesy and support.
Valter Marchetti / AAFG (Aviano Aviation Friends Group)
Report and photos by Valter Marchetti ( view portfolio ) / AAFG (Aviano Aviation Friends Group)
Last Modified: 10 January 2016