The 11th European Defence Agency (EDA) helicopter exercise, Fire Blade 2017, has successfully concluded at Pápa in Hungary.

The Hungarian Defence Forces-led exercise was carried out as part of EDA’s Helicopter Exercise Programme (HEP).

The exercise witnessed support from close to 500 military personnel and 16 air assets.

Five member states, including Austria, Belgium, Germany, Slovenia and Hungary, participated with 14 different European helicopters, EDA stated.

During the exercise, 250 flight hours were recorded, and close to 28,000 ammunition rounds and 480 non-guided rockets were fired.

Participants were briefed about flight safety, expected battle rhythm and host nation support, weapon range procedures, and a review of joint helicopter tactics.

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By GlobalData
"During the exercise, 250 flight hours were recorded, and close to 28,000 ammunition rounds and 480 non-guided rockets were fired."

The exercise also involved emergency rehearsals with firefighters and (SOF) troops to take account of the different helicopter types and to ensure high safety levels were achieved in all areas, according to the statement.

The flying participants were trained in a highly realistic mixed rural and urban environment at shooting ranges north of Lake Balaton.

The multi-national crews conducted coalition-level training, which culminated in the planning and execution of 7 Composite Air Operation (COMAO) missions.

The COMAO missions covered a range of advanced helicopter manoeuvre tactics such as a large formation of helicopters with embarked troops and integrated training Joint Terminal Air Controllers (JTAC), set against complex threats such as SA-6 SAM, T-72 Main Battle tanks and GRIPEN fighter aircraft.

Image: The five participating member states participated with 14 different European helicopters. Photo: courtesy of European Defence Agency.