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Observers on air reconnaissance exercise

Text: Vivien Takács | Photo: Gábor Kormány |  11:56 May 24, 2023

The international students participating in the 42nd International Military Observer Course (IMOC) recently practiced air reconnaissance. The course is running in the HDF Peace Support Training Centre (HDF PSTC) between 8-26 May.

In cooperation with the HDF 86th Helicopter Wing, during the last week of the course, the students conducted an air reconnaissance exercise that was designed to provide unarmed UN military observers with the opportunity to gather information about the area of operations in accordance with the regulations, while flying at a low altitude.

After a short outbrief for helicopter pilots and the subsequent take-off, acting on the basis of a fictitious situation, the observer teams were observing from the air the aircraft exhibited in the Szolnok Aviation Museum, and then analyzed the situation in the wake of a “flood” above Tiszapüspöki and the possible damage. While flying near Besenyszög, they gathered information about the size and route of a “crowd participating in an announced demonstration”, and reported on the ongoing events. In what followed, they registered a troop movement in the vicinity of Jászladány and reported on its route, strength and equipment. While flying above Újszász, the students assessed the condition of a railway junction located in the northwestern part of the town. Finally, they performed an in-flight assessment of the condition of Malomszögi bridge over River Zagyva in the northern part of Szolnok.

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Altogether 24 students from 14 different nations are participating in the three-week course. In the first week, they received mainly theoretical education, and then took various practical lessons during the second week. Following the air reconnaissance patrol, the IMOC will end with a two-day final exercise. After passing the exam successfully, the participants might be offered the opportunity to serve in military observer missions or other peace support operations conducted under the umbrella of the United Nations (UN), the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), and the European Union (EU) or other international organizations.

In answer to our question, Course Director Major Lajos Asztalos, Acting Chief of Staff, HDF PSTC told us that since military observers are unarmed, it is imperative that special attention be paid to negotiation and mediation techniques and working with language assistants, as well as to cultural awareness. Besides, the students have also learned the basics of voice procedures in English and refreshed their skills in administering first aid.