Personnel Recovery (PR) provides for the rapid and safe recovery of individuals who have been isolated, detained, or captured in a hostile area. To practice such personnel recovery missions and train the tactics, techniques and procedures normally considered too risky to practice in live training events, the European Defense Agency (EDA) developed the Tactical Personnel Recovery Mission Simulator (TPRMS). The facility achieved full operational capability (FOC) on Dec. 7, 2022.

TPRMS consists of twenty stations that replicate the elements of Personnel Recovery (PR) Forces used in the conduct of military operations. These include rotary and fixed air-wings crews, land soldiers and crews of land combat vehicles and PR planners. The achievement of the FOC at Poggio Renatico Air Base in Italy will complete the TPRMS project, which began in April 2019 with initial set-up and subsequent declaration of initial operational capability in November 2021.

Representatives from eight Member States (Austria, Cyprus, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Poland, Romania and Sweden) participated in the FOC ceremony. In addition, delegates came from five international organizations with proven expertise in PR, such as the EPRC/ European Personnel Recovery Centre, US JPRA/Joint Personnel Recovery Agency, NATO JAPCC/Joint Air Power Competence Centre, CASPOA/Air Operations Centre of Excellence, and CAOC/Centre of Combat Air Operations UEDEM).

Commenting on the event, the Chairman of the Board of EDA, Jiri Sedivy, remarked: “TPRMS is a major achievement for European defence cooperation and the personnel recovery community. The simulator is a unique and powerful training capability to enhance European expertise in Personnel Recovery through the innovative use of training simulations, an expertise that has clear operational value in most difficult threat environments.”

With the TPRM simulator being fully operational, a new EDA project was launched on the same day as a direct follow-up, namely the pilot course for the Tactical Personnel Recovery Mission Simulator. This is an important step towards creating a common European approach on how PR forces prepare for an upcoming deployment or rehearse PR missions.

The European Defence Agency (EDA) supports its 26 Member States in improving their defence capabilities through European cooperation. Acting as an enabler and facilitator for Ministries of Defence willing to engage in collaborative capability projects, the Agency has become the ‘hub’ for European defence cooperation with expertise and networks allowing it to the whole spectrum of defence capabilities.