Caslav's Light Combat Aircraft Pilots V. Helicopter Crews
(Source: Czech Republic Ministry of Defence; issued July 12, 2017)
Personnel from the Caslav Tactical Air Force Base returned on Monday from a two-week Helicopter Tactical Instructor Course (HTIC) held in Arvidsjaur, Sweden. The aim of the course was to improve the tactical skills of pilots in air-to-air combat between aircraft and helicopters.

"We have a unique opportunity to train in a specific Nordic environment with different types of helicopters and aircraft, and we are proud to say that our professionalism and adaptability is highly valued by NATO and partner states," said Captain Pavel Linhart, Commander of the Czech Task Force.

The Czech Task Force, consisting primarily of members of the 212th Tactical Squadron operating the L-159 ALCA aircraft, has been participating in the HTIC regularly since 2014.

The role of the Caslav pilots was to act as aggressors in aerial helicopter battles. Aircraft fly at minimum flight levels (30-100 meters above ground), and helicopter pilots benefit from practising manoeuvrability and agility skills at low speeds while flying over uneven or irregular terrains.

Fighters, on the other hand, have the advantage of an onboard radar, can climb quickly, and other tactics such as using the sun to dazzle helicopter pilots. These are the different tactical activities that need to be improved and enhanced during the course.

"In the event of a threat or an increased security risk, the National Air Defence System of the Czech Republic is activated and that includes the L-159s," said Linhart, and went on to explain that, since the latter part of the previous year, the Caslav pilots, together with technical staff, have been transferring their long-standing experience and knowledge to the Iraqi Air Force.

Besides the participation of three Czech L-159s, this year's course and training exercise also included the British Hawk T1 aircraft, the Austrian Bell 212, the OH-59 and UH-60 Blackhawk helicopters, the German Sikorsky CH-53 Sea Stallion helicopters, and the Swedish SAAB-39 Gripen supersonic fighters.

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