Home Gallery About me Contact Copyright Links Updates




Exercise Green Blade  Kleine Brogel AB,  26 Sept. 2012

Exercise Green Blade is a joint and combined exercise organised by the Belgian Department of Defence, supported by Luxembourg, from September 18th till October 5th,  2012 under the auspices of the EDA (European Defence Agency) Helicopter Training Programme. The airfield of Kleine Brogel, home of the 10th Tactical Fighter Wing and situated in the north-east of Belgium, served as a hub for all helicopters, such as: Belgian A-109s and MD.900s, German UH-1s and Italian A-129s and CH-47s.


Exercise Pegasus 2012, an exercise organised by the (Belgian) Special Forces Group in the same timeframe and relying heavily on helicopter assets of all types, provided a unique opportunity to collaborate with multiple Special Operations Task Units of different nationalities. The overall objective of this exercise is to enhance interoperability at tactical level between helicopter units of participating nations in a joint and combined environment. Special attention will be drawn to the quality of the mission preparation, rehearsal and after-action review in a combined and time limited environment.


Exercise Green Blade followed a ‘step by step’ approach. Therefore, the programme consisted of three major consecutive modules. During the Combat Enhancement Training / Force Integration Training module, the helicopter units familiarized themselves with the exercise framework (Belgian airspace, air rules and exercise-specific operating procedures), performed cross-training (rehearse common drills, Techniques, Tactics and Procedures between helicopter units as well as supported ground units) and had the opportunity to perform non-tactical training flights (Night Vision Goggle). During the second module, the units had the possibility to analyse, plan and execute a wide variety of Special Forces related missions (insertion/extraction, hostage rescue, personnel recovery) and if requested by the participating nations, the more traditional helicopter missions such as airmobile operations (seize and hold), MedEvac, Recce & Surveillance. During the last module, the nature of the flights and missions was similar to the previous module but the helicopter units were temporarily deployed to a Forward Operating Base (FOB) which will be situated in the south-east of Belgium.   Source: EDA


During the second week of the exercise I was invited by the personnel of Kleine Brogel Air Traffic Control to see the flight operations from close by. In the morning a wave of two Federal Police MD.900s, two German Army UH-1s, three Belgian A-109s, an Italian A-129 and an Italian CH-47, went airborne for a mission in the Sint Truiden area, close to the former Belgian Air Force base Brustem. During the recovery I was able to take some nice action shots from the ATC control tower.


In the afternoon I had the opportunity to take some shots of the participating helicopters while departing for their second wave of the day. This wave consisted of a single MD.900, three UH-1s, three A-109s and a CH-47. During this afternoon mission insertion and extraction procedures were practiced in the Arendonk area, close to the Dutch border. Two local F-16s (Mace callsign) did a Close Air Support mission in that same area with Forward Air Controllers inserted by the helicopters. A very big thanks you goes out to the personnel of Kleine Brogel Air Traffic Control, and my colleague Remco.   (Click here for a full log)





Copyright © 2012 by Rob Hendriks


All rights reserved