RAMSTEIN, Germany – From December 8 to 15, 2023 a team of national and NATO evaluators and experts traveled to Gala Air Force Base, Azerbaijan to conduct an Operational Capabilities Concept evaluation of Azerbaijan’s 3rd Helicopter Squadron against NATO standards
Partners make an important contribution to NATO-led crisis management, the key focus is on achieving interoperability for current and future military cooperation to tackle security challenges together
Two of the unit’s Mi-17 transport helicopters (AVN-HTM) were assigned to NATO’s pool of forces in 2016 and successfully completed the first-level evaluations in 2019. This year, Azerbaijani and international evaluators were supported by experts from NATO’s command structure to conduct a level two evaluation.
“This evaluation is a significant achievement that demonstrates the Azerbaijan’s commitment to enhancing our interoperability, capability and readiness to execute missions together with our NATO Allies and its Partners,” said Lieutenant Colonel Elman Mammadov of the Azerbaijani Air Force. “Our pilots and crews have performed admirably demonstrating their professionalism and skills in executing complex missions and scenarios. This evaluation is a milestone in our strategic partnership with NATO, which is based on mutual respect, trust, and cooperation,” he added.
During the evaluation under NATO's Operational Capability Concept Evaluation and Feedback Programme (OCC E&F) at Gala Air Force Base, the international evaluator team and the Azerbaijani experts conducted classroom sessions and on-site briefings as well as tactical-level scenarios verifying the unit's operational concept and standards.
Photos courtesy Azerbaijani Air Force.
The Operational Capability Concept Evaluation and Feedback Programme (OCC E&F) is a practical multi-purpose military tool. It serves as a vehicle for closer operational relationships between the Alliance and potential contributors to NATO-led operations and the NATO Response Force (NRF).
It supports Partner efforts to develop forces that are fully interoperable and capable of operating according to NATO standards and procedures. The Programme also supports the transformation of the national armed forces of the Partners. It continues to act as a catalyst between force planning and operational planning within NATO’s training, exercise, and certification processes. The OCC E&F programme is a two-level evaluation process, level one evaluations primarily focus on interoperability, and level two evaluations are centred on operational capabilities
“At the Wales Summit in 2014, NATO launched the Partnership Interoperability Initiative (PII) to ensure that Allied and Partner forces maintain and deepen established connections,” said Lieutenant Colonel Petros Bakloris, Allied Air Command Senior Monitor for the OCC E&F level 2 Self Evaluation in Azerbaijan. "Partners make an important contribution to NATO-led crisis management, the key focus is on achieving interoperability for current and future military cooperation to tackle security challenges together. Prevention is a sustainable way to contribute to stability and Allied security” he added.