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GreenBlade 2012

At Kleine-Brogel airbase in Belgium (ICAO code EBBL), the helicopter exercise GREENBLADE 2012 was held from September 18th to October 05th 2012. The Helicopter Training Programme GREENBLADE 2012 was organized by the European Defence Agency. This exercise was combined with the exercise PEGASUS, an exercise for the Belgium special forces.

All photo's:
G.J.A. van Boven
© Sentry Aviation News

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Some 15 helicopters were involved

  • German UH-1D 'Huey'
  • Belgian A-109 'Hirundo'
  • Italian A-129 'Mangusta'
  • Italian CH-47C 'Chinook'

Additonal support was delivered by 2 Belgian C-130s and 4 F-16s During the exercise, the helicopters and their crews started with familiarization missions, that became more and more difficult. Various subjects were trained, like Insertion, Extraction, Personnel Recovery (CSAR), Intelligence Surveillance, Airmobile operations, Medical Evacuations (MEDEVAC), Forward Arming and Refueling (FARP), Fast-roping. Starting with single helicopters during the day, ending with multiple helicopters during the night. A total of 65 missions were flown Some 550 military personnel from Belgium, Italy, Germany and Spain participated in the GREENBLADE/PEGASUS exercise, whereby the Belgian Armed forces supplied an additional 200 supporting and role-playing soldiers

The objectives

  • enhancing tactical interoperability in a realistic environment
  • manage the deployment of various helicopter units
  • conducting helicopter operations in a multinational environment

were reached beyond the initial ambitions. During the exercise operational experiences were exchanged by sharing the lessons learned. And above all, new friendship bonds were forged among all participants. As future operations will not be held by individual countries anymore, due to budget cuts on the military budgets; multinational operations will be the answer. This GREENBLADE exercise within the EDA Helicopter Training Programme will contribute to the build-up of future multinational helicopter operations.


The Helicopter Training Programme of the EDA was approved by the European Ministerial Steering Board in November 2009, to provide a framework to the participating countries to allow them to develop, consolidate and share the best practices to meet the challenges of flying helicopters in the modern operational environment. Previously, EDA helicopter exercises were held in France, Italy, Portugal and Belgium and in 2013 another HOTBLADE exercise is planned in Portugal


Quote of LtCol Massimiliano Belladonna: Italian Airmobile Infantry
"We first of all look at the different techniques and tactics for flying and ground forces operations , and now we are working on the best way to integrate all of this different techniques. In that way you can understand the real details that make the difference between the countries in terms of techniques, tactics ans operation on the ground. So if you know each other, its better for all of us."

Thanks to Belgium Armed Forces PAO Peter DeWael
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