In a new initiative, the EAG has delivered the first force integration training course for Forward Arming and Refuelling Point personnel. Following an original proposal from Italy, the EAG has established a new project this year to develop a training syllabus concerning Forward Arming and Refuelling Point procedures. The provisional syllabus was tested during the recent Advanced Personnel Recovery Operators’ Course, hosted at the 2nd Wing, Rivolto Air Base, Italy, from 13th to 15th June 2017. A total of twenty-five refuelling personnel from Italy, the Netherlands and the UK benefitted from the training, along with an observer from France.
Although EAG Nations are equipped with military helicopters, not all possess Forward Armed & Refuelling Point capabilities. There is a wide variety of helicopter types, refuelling equipment and procedures amongst the EAG nations and some helicopter missions of extended duration require multiple additional fuel stops as part of the operation. Familiarization training for both aircrew and ground personnel is therefore essential for ensuring that refuelling can be carried out safely and speedily. The Force Integration Training is intended to address these issues, with the aim of providing practical, multinational knowledge, a means of standardizing procedures and a forum for sharing experiences. The knowledge gained can then be applied by ground personnel and aircrew during multinational exercises or operations, in order to ensure that refuelling can take place in the most expeditious manner and under ‘Hot’ refuel conditions, with helicopter engines running and rotors turning.
The EAG Permanent Staff has developed the initial training syllabus and remains its custodian, but the recent force integration training was organised and delivered by Italy, as the Lead Nation for the Advanced Personnel Recovery Operators’ Course. Safety is one of the key elements and all refuelling personnel took part in the training, in order to become familiar with the characteristics and requirements of the multinational refuelling equipment and the helicopter assets that were based at Rivolto for the Course.
This Course was used as the initial test bed for the new Force Integration Training syllabus, which is based on NATO STANAGs and EAG Standard Operating Procedures. The training element proved to be an outstanding success and a number of worthwhile lessons were identified. These Lessons will now be used to finalize the syllabus, which can then be delivered during other exercises.