Thursday, 9 June 2011

Exercise ITALIAN CALL 11 came to an end today

(Credits: Austrian Air Force)

Exercise ITALIAN CALL 11, based in Viterbo, Italy, came to an end today as the crews and support personnel departed for their home bases. They part as friends and close colleagues, having met as strangers less than three weeks ago. They have lived together, planning and executing training missions as part of an exercise “European Helicopter Battalion”. They have learnt each other’s strengths, explored each other’s differences and have worked together to ensure that the collective experience is used to create best practice. This is the underlying principle behind the European Defence Agency’s Helicopter Training Programme, with IT CALL 11 providing the latest exercise in a series designed to create better understanding and trust between European crews and building true interoperability in a practical and tangible way.

The exercise was considered a huge success, with all participating nations grateful for Italy’s hospitality, professionalism and enthusiasm for delivering the EDA vision. This was underlined by the Commander of the Italian Army Aviation stating that he hoped for Viterbo to become a focus for such training in the Future.

There are many examples of the EDA theory in practice, but perhaps the most striking was a Belgium A-109 commander leading a mission of 32 helicopters from 6 nations – an event unlikely to have happened under a national training programme. Or perhaps the lively debate between attack helicopter pilots from the Apache (AH-64), Mangusta (A-129) and Hind (Mi-24), each using their own in-depth knowledge of their platforms to discussing the best tactics, techniques and procedures to use in high-threat environments.

During the exercise, over 500 hours were flown and more than 50 multinational “missions” launched. Crews were exposed to the complexities of multinational operations and many had the opportunity to lead a multination formation for the first time.  Process were agreed and trialled and in the ultimate act of interoperability, pilots were exchanged across platform and nations – each flying a new aircraft type and gaining a unique first-hand experience.

Having started in France, been developed in Spain and now taken a step further by Italy, the EDA HTP moves on to Portugal (HOT BLADE 2012, July 2012) and Belgium (GREEN BLADE 2012, October 2012).  Each will provide new opportunities and will play a part in ensuring that the programme evolves, remains relevant and provides the nations the essential training that they need.

News on Austria's Ministry of Defence website

The Austrian MoD released IT CALL 2011 related information (in German) here.

Tuesday, 7 June 2011

IT CALL 2011 pictures by the Austrian Air Force

A comprehensive album containing IT CALL 2011 pictures, taken by the Austrian Air Force, is available here.
No commercial use. All credits: Austrian Air Force.

IT CALL 2011 - Italian Army's collection

A large album with Italian Army's photo collection is available here.

No commercial use. All credits: Italian Army.

IT CALL VIP Day - video on EbS

Footage of IT CALL 2011 is already available on EbS, the European Union's TV information service. EbS provides free EU related audiovisual material via satellite to media professionals.

The video is also available on the Council of the EU website.

Monday, 6 June 2011

On board Agusta 109 - Belgium Army

A109BA serves the Belgium Army on Medical Evacuation (MEDEVAC) operations. Belgium participates in IT CALL 2011 with three A109 (two light transport, one MEDEVAC configured), operated by 30 people.

Below, detail close up and general views of one A109BA (all credits: European Defence Agency).

Pictures of the VIP Day - general images

All credits: European Defence Agency

Pictures of the VIP Day - Mr. Adam Sowa, EDA's Deputy Chief Executive

Pictures of Mr.
Adam Sowa, EDA's Deputy Chief Executive, today, at Monteromano.
“The exercise was very successful and showed the excellent standard reached by crew members and staff during the last two weeks", Mr. Sowa said.

All credits: European Defence Agency.

Pictures of the VIP Day - Mr. Adam Sowa, EDA's Deputy Chief Executive, and Lt General Francesco Tarricone, Commander of the Italian Operational Land Forces

Pictures of the VIP Day (page under update)

Pictures of the VIP Day can be found at IT CALL 2011 Picasa Album.
The following folders are already available:
  • 6 June 2011 - VIP Day - General images.
  • 6 June 2011 - VIP Day - Mr. Adam Sowa, EDA's Deputy Chief Executive.
  • 6 June 2011 - VIP Day - Mr. Adam Sowa, EDA's Deputy Chief Executive, and Lt. General Francesco Tarricone.
Photo folders are under update.

Script - live comments

A word file of today's live demo is available here.

VIP DAY - 6 June

On 6 June, the Italian authorities and EDA organise a VIP & Press day at Monteromano fire range. EDA is represented by Mr. Adam Sowa, EDA’s Deputy Chief Executive, and by Mr. Jon Mullin, Capability Director. During this training event, all participating Member States flight units  demonstrate their combat capabilities and interoperability level reached.

Press is invited to contact

New IT CALL 2011 video

All credits: Italian Army

Italian National Day celebrated at Viterbo - 2 June

On 2 June, the personnel taking part in the international exercise Italian Call 2011 celebrated the Italian National Day at Viterbo military airport.

More information: here.