Helicopters - and why the
where the experts come to talk

Helicopters - and why they’re important

Despite often being expensive, high maintenance and tricky to operate, armed forces know they need helicopters. Whether it’s getting troops in, or the wounded out, helicopters are often the ‘go to’ choice. NATO Review looks at nations’ ongoing need for helicopters – and what they’re doing to make it easier to use them together.

Helicopters

and why they’re important

This helicopter is

in trouble and about to crash.

The pilot was

performing a manoeuvre,

which may be needed

for real in Afghanistan.

But in this helicopter simulator

in the Czech Republic,

pilots from around the world

can practice flying in Afghanistan,

even before they step foot

in the country.

Why are helicopters

so important in Afghanistan?

They are the preferred means

of getting around.

The infrastructure has suffered

from years of war and neglect,

meaning versatile air transport

is much quicker and safer.

And this is one of the reasons

why helicopters are so valuable.

They provide a versatility

that is rare amongst the other pieces

of equipment for the armed forces.

If you need to get

troops into a location

or the wounded out of a location,

you will probably choose a helicopter.

For combat,

they provide more flexible fire power,

taking less time to be called upon

and able to loiter longer than jets.

But Afghanistan is not

an ideal environment for helicopters.

Landing at its dusty locations is

hazardous for pilots and the engines.

Very skilled,

low-level flying is often needed.

Afghan snow can

threaten whiteouts for pilots.

And Afghanistan generally

being hot and at high altitude

means pilots have to fly in thinner air,

reducing helicopters’ ability to lift.

Also, the higher wear and tear for

helicopters operating in Afghanistan

and the higher cost of flying make

operating helicopters in Afghanistan

hard on both pilots and budgets.

The new Multilateral Aviation Training

Centre could help on both counts.

For pilots, it’s a way to practise

flight conditions with mixed crews,

changing conditions

and flight analyses.

For budgets, it helps

to provide lower cost pooled way

for countries to use shared equipment

and improving a key capability.

The benefit

for the multinational crews is

that the pilots

from the different countries,

they need to have

one language in the cockpit

because if you have on

the captain’s seat guys from Croatia,

on the right seat

there can be guys from Hungary

and in the middle there could be

guys from the Czech Republic.

And each country has

a little bit different procedure also.

Due to be ready in 2014 or 2015,

the proposed centre will

have a base in the Czech Republic.

This so-called smart defence project

recently added

Hungary to its participants,

which already include the US, Croatia,

the Czech Republic and Slovakia.

The signing here today

of Hungary, adding its name

to the Multinational

Aviation Training Centre,

indicates that smart defence

is moving from being a concept

into a growing reality. Currently,

training focuses heavily on skills

pilots may need in Afghanistan,

such as low level flying,

flying in mountainous areas

or flying in formation.

But simulators and trainers

are flexible and can present pilots

with challenges

from around the world.

And as the drawdown continues,

it will be training for these challenges

where this particular area of smart

defence may have the most effect.

Helicopters

and why they’re important

This helicopter is

in trouble and about to crash.

The pilot was

performing a manoeuvre,

which may be needed

for real in Afghanistan.

But in this helicopter simulator

in the Czech Republic,

pilots from around the world

can practice flying in Afghanistan,

even before they step foot

in the country.

Why are helicopters

so important in Afghanistan?

They are the preferred means

of getting around.

The infrastructure has suffered

from years of war and neglect,

meaning versatile air transport

is much quicker and safer.

And this is one of the reasons

why helicopters are so valuable.

They provide a versatility

that is rare amongst the other pieces

of equipment for the armed forces.

If you need to get

troops into a location

or the wounded out of a location,

you will probably choose a helicopter.

For combat,

they provide more flexible fire power,

taking less time to be called upon

and able to loiter longer than jets.

But Afghanistan is not

an ideal environment for helicopters.

Landing at its dusty locations is

hazardous for pilots and the engines.

Very skilled,

low-level flying is often needed.

Afghan snow can

threaten whiteouts for pilots.

And Afghanistan generally

being hot and at high altitude

means pilots have to fly in thinner air,

reducing helicopters’ ability to lift.

Also, the higher wear and tear for

helicopters operating in Afghanistan

and the higher cost of flying make

operating helicopters in Afghanistan

hard on both pilots and budgets.

The new Multilateral Aviation Training

Centre could help on both counts.

For pilots, it’s a way to practise

flight conditions with mixed crews,

changing conditions

and flight analyses.

For budgets, it helps

to provide lower cost pooled way

for countries to use shared equipment

and improving a key capability.

The benefit

for the multinational crews is

that the pilots

from the different countries,

they need to have

one language in the cockpit

because if you have on

the captain’s seat guys from Croatia,

on the right seat

there can be guys from Hungary

and in the middle there could be

guys from the Czech Republic.

And each country has

a little bit different procedure also.

Due to be ready in 2014 or 2015,

the proposed centre will

have a base in the Czech Republic.

This so-called smart defence project

recently added

Hungary to its participants,

which already include the US, Croatia,

the Czech Republic and Slovakia.

The signing here today

of Hungary, adding its name

to the Multinational

Aviation Training Centre,

indicates that smart defence

is moving from being a concept

into a growing reality. Currently,

training focuses heavily on skills

pilots may need in Afghanistan,

such as low level flying,

flying in mountainous areas

or flying in formation.

But simulators and trainers

are flexible and can present pilots

with challenges

from around the world.

And as the drawdown continues,

it will be training for these challenges

where this particular area of smart

defence may have the most effect.

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