During the third Helicopter Tactics Instructors Course (HTIC), aircrew members from across Europe were working hard to master their skills. With successful delivery of the ground and simulator phase at RAF Linton-on-Ouse in the UK, and the phase at Vidsel test range near Lulea in northern Sweden, twelve student instructors from Austria, Germany, Sweden and the UK graduated from the course with Bronze or Silver HTI qualifications, corresponding to their experience and skills level.
It was the first case that the HTIC was delivered under an EDA Category B Programme with its own approved Programme Arrangement signed in March 2015 by Germany, Sweden and the United Kingdom.
The HTIC as a multinational tactical training course involved four helicopter types: Austrian Kiowa, Swedish Air Force Blackhawk and NH90, Chinook from the UK. It engaged more than one hundred military and civilian staff, and included more than two hundred hours of live flying.
The aim of HTIC is to teach experienced helicopter aircrew how to instruct tactics in the air and on the ground. It covers topics such as fighter jets evasion, electronic warfare against surface to air radar threats, convoy escort, vehicle check points and operating in the low-tech threat environment.
A wide range of assets to provide the correct learning environment were required. The excellent support was provided by the Swedish Armed Forces with their Gripen fighter jets from 211 and 212 Squadron, the SK60 trainer aircraft and the ground-based radar defence systems as well as by the UK with their Hawk aircraft from 100 Squadron.
For the first time, the Staff Instructors included graduates from the previous courses. The two returning Swedish Instructors prove that the course can be self-sustaining and is able to achieve its aim of developing an internationally recognised cadre of tactics instructors who, in turn, can continue to deliver courses in the future.
The HTIC is a high-value, intensive course that forges close links between all participants, creating a tight-knit community. Experience and knowledge are shared openly and honestly, and working on the principle of adopting best practices, continual improvement and standardisation serve as a constant theme. Everyone works together, harmonising tactics, techniques and procedures, with ever closer interoperability being the final goal. Through this international training, crews prepare for the coalition operations for the future. They train the way they fight so that they can fight the way they have trained – together!