The European Defence Agency’s second Helicopter Composite Air Operations (COMAO) planning course was successfully completed last week at RAF airbase Linton-on-Ouse, United Kingdom. The course is part of the EDA’s multifaceted helicopter training activities which aim to provide Member States with a framework to develop, consolidate and share best practices in order to meet the challenges of flying helicopters in a modern operational environment.
Sixteen trainees from Belgium, Sweden, Germany, Hungary, the Czech Republic, the Netherlands and the UK took part in the second COMAO course, the objective of which was to increase interoperability and the common understanding of complex mission planning in a multinational environment. The course involved support and attack helicopters but also fast-jet, intelligence, surveillance, target acquisition, and reconnaissance (ISTAR) as well as air transport and ground force units.
The course started with a theoretical part, including detailed briefs on COMAO, 4Ts (Task, Target, Threat and Tactics) mission planning as well as standard rotary tactics employed to counter a range of different threats. Participants also examined the Tactics Techniques and Procedures (TTPs) of the attack helicopters and fast-jet capabilities in both the Blue and Red Air role delivered by 100 Sqn RAF.
The second part of the course was devoted to the practical mission planning for a multinational joint helicopter force (and its support assets) which had to operate in a given and constantly evolving political and military scenario. As the course went by and the complexity of the missions increased, trainees became increasingly familiar with the planning processes and the crews’ performances improved considerably, even under worsening mission conditions and mounting time pressure.
The course level was gradually elevated to a point where the individual trainees had to prepare their missions on their own. The findings of the lessons learnt session which concluded the course will be used for preparing the next EDA COMAO planning course scheduled for 2018.