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EU helicopter capability development in Pápa

Text: First Lieutenant Botond Hunor Mátyás | Photo: Sergeant Georgina Cser Csiginé |  18:48 October 24, 2023

Between 2–20 October, the European Defence Agency Helicopter Tactics Instructor Course (EDA HTIC) took place on the HDF 47th Air Base in Pápa, Hungary.


Helicopter crews of six countries participated in the highest-level helicopter tactics course, the Helicopter Tactics Instructor Course (HTIC) organized in Pápa. Besides Hungary, helicopters arrived from Austria, the Czech Republic, Germany, Portugal and Slovakia. The objective of the training was to develop the helicopter capability of the member countries of the European Union through increasing personal experiences, and to train a cadre of helicopter tactics instructors who are able to train others in international environments, thereby strengthening interoperability among the armed forces.


All helicopter crews successfully completing the course earn the Bronze qualification, which entitles their members to return as instructors to the course in the following year. After qualifying in this role, too, and becoming instructors with Silver qualification, in the third year they will become the instructors’ mentors, and will also be expected to finally achieve the Gold instructor qualification. This three-stage training is aimed at selecting those persons who can play key roles in the development of national helicopter tactics capability, or can support, as advisors, the decision-making work of higher-level commanders.

According to Colonel Zsolt Simon, the exercise director of the flying phase of the training, the Hungarian Defence Forces profit a lot by running the HTIC, as beyond the participating helicopter crews, the military staff and the soldiers of land force units supporting the exercise also gain experiences that they can later use in their own positions.

Major Chris Kappl, Chief Instructor, European Defence Agency told us that they had been able to successfully complete all tasks that are needed for assessing the trainees’ work and for using their acquired knowledge at the required level of proficiency. All conditions were in place at the Pápa airbase for organizing the flying phase of the course, and the instructor team received maximum support from the host military organization as well as from the role-playing units. This year’s successful course, however, does not mean that they now can afford to be smug, since after processing the lessons learned, the Hungarian contributors must start preparing for next year’s course, as the HDF 47th Air Base is going to host the Helicopter Tactics Instructor Course every year until 2026.