Text & Photos : Marc Arys - S.B.A.P.©
The general concept of the exercise is a Force Integration Training of the core elements of a Multi National CSAR Task Force (CSARTF) in a low-to-medium threat environment.
These core elements consist of Rescue Vehicles, Extraction Forces, Attached RESCORT, Detached RESCORT and pilots in the role of Survivor. National Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape (SERE) instructors support the event through all phases.
Multi National means :
- 7 nations
- 6 languages
- different types of assets
- different equipment
- different standard operating procedures (SOP)
to become 1 CSARTF.
At the moment the European Air Group (EAG) consists of the air forces of seven nations : Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain and the United Kingdom.
EAG in no means tries to duplicate NATO assets, but NATO intervenes down to a certain level below wich it is to the indivual nation to cover the further aspects needed.
This is where EAG fits in to fill these gaps. All the EAG existing and future procedures are or will be embedded in standard operating procedures (SOP) in compliance with the NATO procedures.
The aim and maxim of the European Air Group is "OPERATING TOGETHER". As emphasized by Group Captain BLORE, it expresses the desire of the Air Forces of the seven participating nations to improve their ability to work together in the operational environment, principally at the tactical level.
Further details about the European Air Group can be found on their website www.euroairgroup.org.
VOLCANEX 05/CSAR is being held from September 08 till 15, 2005, at the Belgian airbase of Florennes, home of 2 Wing and the Tactical Leadership Programme (TLP) under the organisation of the European Air Group (EAG).
The Ardennes Helicopter Training Facility proved very useful altough bad weather hampered sometimes the planned exercises.
Following resources were committed by the particpating nations :
- Rotary Wing Rescort from Belgium, France and the Netherlands (Agusta 109, Gazelle, Apache AH-64D)
- Fixed Wing Rescort from Belgium (F-16 MLU)
- Rescue Vehicles from France and Germany (SA-330 Puma, EC-725 Resco and UH-1D Huey)
On Monday, September 12, 2005 the press was granted access to the exercise Volcanex 05/CSAR.
A survey of the EAG and the exercise was given by Group Captain BLORE and his German collegue after wich we have had the opportunity to go to the apron, see the participating aircraft and talk to the crews.
After arrival of the EC-725 Cougar (coming back from a demonstration flight at Colmar – France) we were granted with an in depth walk-around of this new helicopter.
A demonstration of a CSAR mission was also given, extracting three downed personnel from hostile environment. This mission was flown by the EC-725 while an Apache AH-64D gave support.
First stage saw the AH-64D coming in to sweep the area, while the EC-725 awaited the 'clearance' to proceed.
As the EC-725 moved in, the AH-64D stayed in a hover whilst we could see the front turret and machinegun 'working' together.
Special Forces (SF) fast-roped down the EC-725, making contact with the downed personnel and beginning to secure the field. As soon as the last SF was on the ground, the EC-725 cleared the area, for obvious security reasons - in a hostile environment, it would not be advised to wander around.
The EC-725 came in again to land and pick-up the personnel on the ground, leaving the area as soon as everybody was on board, followed at close quarters by the AH-64D.
We would like to thank the press office of the Belgian Air Component as well as Cdt. Pascal BORIE, Group Captain BLORE and Lt. Col. HENNICK for their care and obligingness.
Text & Photos : Marc Arys - S.B.A.P.©