The European Defence Agency (EDA) wrapped its 50th Helicopter Tactics Course (HTC) last October. The three-week exercise took place at UK RAF Base Linton-on-Ouse.
HTC courses cover the whole spectrum of aircrews, from pilots to loadmasters to door gunners, and are designed for crews with an upcoming deployment. Participants are trained to deal with threats both on the ground and in the air, across fluid and complex modern operational environments.
Typically, the courses are divided into two phases: a week of theoretical training and two weeks in simulation-based training.
Seven EDA members currently participate in the program including Austria, Czech Republic, Germany, Finland, Norway, Sweden and the United Kingdom. While there is a primary goal of readying aircrews for deployment, it also helps to strengthen an international helicopter network between the participants.
Since the program began in 2009, 641 crewmembers from 16 different European countries have graduated from HTC courses.
Right now, the program is running under a framework contract through the end of the year, with the goal of training 36 crews per year, or 150 aircrew members. Since July 2017, EDA has been evaluating a new 5-year framework contract to replace the current one.