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  • Helicopter Initiative
    Posted by Nicholas Fiorenza 8:01 AM on Oct 26, 2009

    Nine NATO countries signed a declaration of intent on the fringes of the informal defense ministers meeting in Bratislava to pool Hip helicopters for alliance-led and other operations. The multinational helicopter initiative is designed to provide operations, particularly NATO's International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan, with additional lift capability operated by the Hip Helicopter Task Force (HHTP).

    Created in February 2009 and led by the Czech Republic, the HHTP is developing a multinational transport helicopter programme to help NATO members and Partnership for Peace (PfP) nations without the resources to conduct transport helicopter operations on their own. Under the initiative, NATO members with the resources to do so will pool support for the in-theatre deployment of transport helicopters by NATO and PfP nations. This support will include providing operational pre-deployment training, command and control capabilities, base support or financial aid.

    The declaration of intent was signed by Albania, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Norway, Poland, Slovakia, Spain, Turkey and the UK. The newer NATO members among these signatories operated Mi-8, Mi-17 and Mi-171 helicopters. Several countries operating Hip helicopters have been willing to send additional aircraft to Afghanistan but lacked the necessary deployment and operational support, according to NATO.

    NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen cited the initiative, along with the Strategic Airlift Capability and the Alliance Ground Surveillance system, as examples of the efficiency of pooling assets.

    Tags: ar99, NATO, helos

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