FIRE BLADE 2022 | The multinational helicopter exercise kicks off in Hungary with Greece participating as an observer
Defence Redefined
Published on 10/06/2022 at 14:30

FIRE BLADE 2022, the 16th helicopter exercise organised under the umbrella of the European Defence Agency’s Helicopter Exercise Programme (HEP), kicked off on 07/06 at Pápa Airbase in Hungary and will last until June 24. 

A total of 25 air assets (20 helicopters + 5 aircraft) and some 550 military personnel from five countries – Austria, Belgium, Slovakia, Slovenia and Hungary – will participate in this exercise hosted by the Hungarian Defence Forces. In addition, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, France, Greece, Italy, Switzerland and several international organisations will participate as observers.

According to EDA’s announcement, the exercise’s main focus will be on enhancing interoperability at the tactical level between helicopter units by using the Composite Air Operations (COMAO) concept in a joint, combined, realistic and challenging environment, in order to enable proper preparation for future international operations.

Also read: GEEF | Exercise “NIKITIS-DIMITRA 2022” kicks off


The objectives of Fire Blade 2022  are manifold, notably to: 

  • enhance standardisation and improve tactical interoperability between helicopter units from the participating countries by using the COMAO concept and learning and practise common helicopter Tactics, Techniques and Procedures (TTPs);
  • train and practise TTPs with and against fighter jets and electronic warfare threats;
  • improve interoperability in training and operational tasks with ground forces involvement during day and night in a live and full-spectrum environment. 


Participating crews will fly diverse day and night COMAO missions and execute, among others, 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 Surveillance (R&S), Combat Search and Rescue (CSAR), Personnel Recovery (PR), Medical Evacuation (MEDEVAC) and Casualty Evacuation (CASEVAC). This will include live-firing drills.

The Helicopter Exercise Programme (HEP) is part of EDA’s wider helicopter portfolio aimed at providing the Member States with a joint European framework to develop, consolidate and share best practices to meet the challenges of flying helicopters in a modern operational environment. 

Other components of this portfolio are the Helicopter Tactics Course (HTC) programme, the Helicopter Tactics Instructor Course (HTIC) programme and the future Multinational Helicopter Training Centre (MHTC) which is currently being established at Sintra Airbase in Portugal.

Also read: HNDGS | Special Forces Training of Albania and Skopje at the Special Operations Task Groups Planning Course of the Special Operations Command




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