Tag Archives: A129

Italian Call 2011: an ISAF-like scenario to train European crews in a "hot, dry and dusty environment" adopting common procedures

Italian Call 2011 is the name of a Multinational Helicopter Exercise held at Viterbo, Italy, from May 23 to Jun. 9, 2011, as part of the European Defense Agency’s Helicopter Training Program. It follows two past successful exercises: GAP 2009, held in France, and AZOR 2010, held in Spain.

The exercise had the purpose of practing missions and procedures that might be required on current and future operations with a special focus on multiship formations in multinational joint environment: Medical evacuation (MEDEVAC), QRF (Quick Reaction Force), SAR (Search And Rescue), troops insertion, combat air support to ground troops, Airmobile operations.

In particular, the aim of the Exercise was to train European crews and staff to operate “in a hot, dry and dusty environment adopting common procedures while operating as joint/combined Aviation Battalion in an exercise Crisis Response Operations (CRO)”. The ISAF Theater of Operations in Afghanistan was in fact used as Exercise Scenario.

Furthermore, Italian Call 2011 provided an important opportunity for helicopters operators to share information and best practices, to conduct multi-ship formations, NVG sorties, Target hand-over operations with Troops in Contact (TIC), escort and scout missions as well as live firing exercises.

The proposed scenario saw a multinational Aviation Battalion tasked to deploy in Area of Operations (AOO) under a Combined multinational command. Prior to the deployment phase multinational units were concentrated in Viterbo army airfield in order to achieve Full Operational Capability (FOC) and to integrate all assigned assets into the Task Force (TF). Aviation assets would be deployed in the Main Operating Base (MOB) in order to support ground forces.

Operating from a Forward Operating Base (FOB) the Aviation Battalion assets are called on a daily basis to operate to support ground units with fire suppression, Medical Evacuation and convoy escort missions. Local insurgents clans and several mixed terrorist elements are operating in the AOO with a wide array of threats: Improvised Explosive Devices (IED), Small Arms Fire (SAFIRE) and Rockets and Mortars (RAM) mainly attacking convoys. Regional policy was to set up further platoon-company size strong points along the main supply routes and around the main urbanized areas and to re-supply them by air and by ground as a daily routine activity. The Aviation Battalion was also tasked to escort ground convoys and to re-supply allied positions.

A total of 32 helicopters beloning to three classes were involved:
– CH-47, CH-53 (more than 10 tonnes payload);
– NH-90, EH-101 Merlin e Mi-17 (5-10 tonnes payload),
– A-109 & AB-412 (less than 5 tons payload).

Besides Italy, Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Germany and Slovenia participated with aircrafts and crews, with Lithuania and Greece having observers for a total of around 350 military.

Here’s a list of the participating assets as provided by the special blog published and updated on a daily basis to provide information and news about the Exercise (note that the list was not updated since it contains only 29 helos).

ITALY
4 x A 129
2 x CH47C
2 x NH90
1 x SH-3D
4 x AB-212
AUSTRIA
3 x AB212
BELGIUM
3 x A109
CZECH REPUBLIC
4 x Mi 17
2 x Mi 24
GERMANY
2 x CH-53
SLOVENIA
2 x Cougar

The Exercise took place within the huge R53 (“Romeo 53”) restricted airspace, an area that “surrounds” the Viterbo airport and that is dedicated to the military training activity of Italian Army helicopters.  All the participating units could get informed about ATC and planning procedures for IT CALL 2011 thank to the ENAC (Ente Nazionale Assistenza al Volo) “Self Briefing” platform which enables real time Web access to AIS, Meteo, AFTN and ATFM info via Internet.

More than 600 flying hours were flown during Italian Call 2011 with 50 daily sorties (on average) and a total consumption of 450.000 lts of fuel.

Thanks to the help of Col. Massimo Meola and Lt.Col. Giovanni Ramunno of the Italian Army, contributor Giovanni Maduli had the opportunity to report from Viterbo and to take the following interesting images of Exercise Italian Call 2011.

Departures from Circus Maximus (in bad weather)

Below, the pictures of the departures from the static display at the Circus Maximus for the Armed Forces Day, taken on Nov. 10, 2010, by Giovanni Maduli.

















Circus Maximus exhibition (for the Armed Forces Day 2010)

The Italian Armed Forces celebrated the 92nd Anniversary since the end of WWI and the Armed Forces Day with the traditional exhibition in the Circus Maximus (Circo Massimo) in Rome with weapons systems and equipment belonging to the Aeronautica Militare (Italian Air Force), Marina Militare (Italian Navy) and Guardia Costiera (Coast Guard), Esercito Italiano (Italian Army), Guardia di Finanza (Custom Police) and Carabinieri (Military Police). Here are the pictures I and Giovanni Maduli took on Nov. 7, at the exhibition.

















7° Reggimento Vega Change of Command – Rimini 08.09.08

After providing some exclusive images of the Special Colour AB205, Paolo Maglio sent me another contribution from the 7° Reggimento Vega Change of Command’s ceremony, held in Rimini on Sept. 08. The new Cdr, Col. Fabrizio Barone, replaced the former one Col. Marco Morra at the head of one of the most important units of the Italian Army Aviation and the only one in Europe with all weather combat capabilities. Interestingly, in the recent past, the Reggimento (750 military in total), has often changed its designation: the 7° Reggimento Elicotteri d’Attacco (Attack Helicopters) “Vega” was created on Jul. 15 1996 with personnel and equipment transferred from the 5° Reggimento “Rigel”. Based in Casarsa della Delizia, the unit became 7° Reggimento Aviazione dell’Esercito (Army Aviation) “Vega” on Sept. 30 1998. On Jan 1 2000 it took the designation 7° Reggimento Cavalleria dell’Aria (Air Cavalry) before “returning”, in 2004, to the designation 7° Reggimento Aviazione dell’Esercito “Vega”.







Italian Army – 147th Anniversary

On May 6th, the Esercito Italiano (Italian Army) celebrated its 147th Anniversary with a show that was held in the Tor Di Quinto military hippodrome. The show comprised also an air display of the main AVES aircraft and the flyby of some formations of helicopters. The air show’s rehearsals took place at Rome Urbe airport, where all the helicopters were deployed, and Giovanni Maduli went there on May 2 to take the following exclusive pictures.