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European helicopters conduct live-fly exercise in the Czech Republic


NÁMĚŠŤ, Czech Republic - The Czech Republic hosts the international helicopter live-fly exercise Dark Blade 2019 from 20 to 31 May 2019.

Under the aegis of the European Defence Agency, six NATO Allies and Partners will gather their helicopters at Náměšť Air Base to cooperate in planning and conducting joint missions focused on the Composite Air Operations according to pertinent approved NATO and European standards.

Twenty-five helicopters, four fixed wing aircraft and some 600 military personnel from the host Czech Republic, Belgium, Germany, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia will be employed within a wide spectrum of training tasks. The exercise offers an opportunity for the international participants to train use of Night Vision Goggles; among others they will execute Fighter Evasion Manoeuvres, Live Firing, Close Air Support, Armed Helicopter Escort and Convoy Escort, Medical and Casualty Evacuation and provide mutual support in order to maximize integration. The focus will be on enhancing interoperability at the tactical level in a challenging and realistic combined joint environment.

Exercise Dark Blade 2019 is the 13th helicopter exercise organized under the Helicopter Exercise Programme. The Blade series has featured events such as Hot Blade in 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2018 in Portugal, Green Blade in 2012 in Belgium, Italian Blade in 2015 in Italy, Cold Blade in 2016 in Finland, Black Blade in 2016 in Belgium and Fire Blade in 2017 in Hungary.

Helicopters have become a key enabler in modern crisis management operations, especially when countering an asymmetric effect. They provide a vital support role in current and future operations. The Blade exercise series looks at increasing deployable helicopter capability for contingency operations and focuses on individual, environmental and multinational training, increasing interoperability through practical experiences, sharing operational experience and developing common tactics, techniques and procedures. Enhancing the European capability in this field also provides NATO with further improved ready helicopter assets.

Story by Allied Air Command Public Affairs based on information provided by the Czech Air Force

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