Green Blade / Pegasus 2012 EDA Exercise
Between September 18th and October 5th, 2012 Belgium was the host nation for a multinational helicopter exercise called “Green Blade” organized by the European Defence Agency (EDA). From the start, the exercise was linked with Exercise Pegasus, a special forces training exercise, so that the two groups worked closely together on numerous missions. The combined exercises gathered some 550 personnel of Belgium, Italy and Germany for “Green Blade” and Belgium, Italy and Spain for “Pegasus” and observers from Bulgaria, Canada and the Czech Republic. On top of that, the host nation provided 200 role players, real life and medical support, safety and security as well as the manning of the FARP (Forward Arming and Refuelling Point). Flying assets involved during the exercises included Italian transport (2 CH-47 Chinook) and attack helicopters (2 A-129 Mangusta) next to 6 German UH-1D Huey and 5 Belgian Agusta A-109BA Hirundo utility helicopters. In total 15 helicopters of different types were operated. The Belgian Air Force also provided two Lockheed C-130 Hercules transport aircraft, 2 B-Hunter UAV’s and four Lockheed Martin F-16’s.
You wouldn't like to be standing at the receiving end of the vicious looking Agusta A129 Mangusta attack helicopter
During the whole exercise, helicopters executed around 65 missions (about 650 flying hours) of steadily increasing complexity, from typical Special Operations-related missions, such as insertion/extraction, Direct Action, Personnel Recovery and Intelligence Surveillance & Reconnaissance, by day and night, in single of multiship configurations. The exercise also included conventional types of missions, such as Airmobile Operations, Recce & Surveillance and Medical Evacuation, as well as non-tactical training missions, such as Night Vision Goggle-flying, Nap of the Earth flight and Gun Firing.
On Tuesday October 2nd, 2012 a special press-day demonstration was organized in presence of Belgian MoD Pieter De Crem and his Luxembourg counterpart Jean-Marie Halsdorf.
The demonstration was based on a Deliberate Detention Operation. “An International Security Force (ISFOR) was mandated in the framework of a United Nations Security Resolution to intervene and stop all violence against the civil population in an imaginary state. Intel has indicated that the leader of a “Radical Revolutionary Group” uses a certain house as a hide out. The leader has been identified as a High Value Target and a Belgian Special Operations Task Unit, supported by a combined Rotary Wing Special Operations Task Unit was ordered to execute a pre-planned Direct Action in order to capture the target. Minutes before the start of the mission, a Sniper-pod equipped F-16, has been directly overhead the target in order to provide the Joint Terminal Attack Controller (JTAC) with the situation awareness needed to guide and control helicopter packages during the mission. The images of the Sniper pod and ground intelligence have shown that most insurgence were in the house. A formation of two Agusta A-129 Mangusta attack helicopters overfly the target to clear and secure the area, immediately followed by Italian CH-47C Chinook transport helicopters of the 1° Reggimento “Antares” to insert the diversion force by fast rope while and two German UH-1D’s of Transporthubschrauberregiment 30 inserting the assault force.
Italian CH-47C Chinook approaching to insert the diversion force
A German UH-1D Huey during the fast rope insertion of the assault force.
A wounded team member needs to be evacuated ASAP by helicopter. This mission is executed by a Belgian Medevac configured A109 of the 1st Wing at Beauvechain escorted by a machine gun equipped Hirundo. Extraction of the Assault Force is done by Chinook and Huey”.
Belgian Air Component Agusta A-109BA Hirundo H-22 in the process of evacuating a wounded team member.
It is reassuring to note how, after only two weeks of mutual training, all participants can flawlessly work together as a team under very difficult circumstances.
© Daniel Brackx (October 2012)
Last updated 03/10/12 18:18 Daniel Brackx