The 50th EDA Helicopter Tactics Course (HTC), which ran over three weeks at UK Royal Air Force base Linton-on-Ouse, was successfully completed on 13 October 2017.
The HTC programme started in 2009 as an ‘Interim Synthetic Helicopters Tactics Course’ and ran until 2012 when it was transformed into an EDA ‘Category B ad hoc project’. Since 2009, a total of 641 crewmembers from 16 different European countries have graduated from the HTC course. This is a considerable accomplishment for a programme that was initially set up to enhance the preparation and operational capability of crews to be deployed to Afghanistan, but which then evolved into a much broader multinational helicopter tactics training course. It delivers advanced helicopter tactics training under EDA’s Pooling & Sharing initiative with the aim to enhance the European helicopter operational capability for crisis management and to improve the interoperability of Member States’ helicopter crews.
HTC courses cover the entire crew spectrum (pilots, loadmasters, door gunners etc.) and deal with typical ground and air threats as well as the tactics that can be employed to mitigate them. An HTC course is typically divided into two phases: the first week being devoted to theoretical training, and two additional weeks focusing on simulator-based training.
Standardisation and interoperability are improved by the use of EDA Helicopter Standard Operating Procedures (SOP). In addition, participation in HTC courses provides helicopter crews with the opportunity to develop an international helicopter network which can prove quite valuable in envisaging future cooperation opportunities.
Best practices and lessons learned are regularly integrated into the course syllabus to ensure it remains up to date and of highest quality. Seven EDA Member States are currently participating in the HTC programme: Austria, the Czech Republic, Germany, Finland, Norway, Sweden and the United Kingdom. Other nations are contemplating a future adhesion to the programme.