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  • Writer's pictureLudo Mennes

2018 APROC; "That others may live"

Updated: Feb 23, 2020


From 23 May until 6 June Gilze-Rijen airbase hosted the yearly Air-Centric Personnel Recovery Operatives Course (APROC) organized by the European Personnel Recovery Center (EPRC).

The aim of the course is to teach less experienced crewmembers in planning and executing recovery missions together in a multi-ship, multi-type, multi-national task-force using common procedures. And also to train the more experienced pilots for the role of Rescue Mission Commander (RMC), so they are able to lead, plan and execute the most complex of missions, as well to carry out related briefing and de-briefings.

Being the only such course in Europe, APROC provides its participants with extensive knowledge of the personnel recovery doctrine and Tactics, Techniques and Procedures (TTP’s) to successfully execute missions.

The official APROC 2018 badge "that others may live"

Present in the Netherlands were helicopters from France, Italy, Poland, Spain, Sweden, the United Kingdom and the Netherlands. Besides five other countries were present with troops to train and support (Belgium, Canada, Germany, Denmark and the USA) bringing the number of participants to 577 troops.

Dutch extraction forces during a media demonstration

APROC Italian style

The Italian forces came with the largest contingent of participating aircraft and personnel to the Netherlands. Three EF-2000s of 4° Stormo from Grosseto airbase, one HH-101A of 387° Squadriglia Collegamenti /15° Stormo from Cervia airbase , one EH-101A of 1° Grupelicot from Luni-La Spezia Naval Air Station and one Gulfstream G550 CAEW of 71° Gruppo/14° Stormo from Pratica di Mare airbase.

HH-101A 'Caesar' of 15° Stormo from Cervia airbase

EH-101A of 1° Grupelicot from Luni-La Spezia Naval Air Station

Gulfstream G550 CAEW of 71° Gruppo/14° Stormo from Pratica di Mare airbase

EF-2000 Typhoon of 4° Stormo from Grosseto airbase

Northern Skies aviation spent a day with the Italian forces for interviews and photoshoots for an article which soon will be published in the Air International magazine.

Rescue Escort (RESCORT)

The EF-2000 community has only recently been tasked by the Italian Air Force Command to take up the RESCORT role. The AMI wants to maintain its fixed wing capability with the upcoming phasing out of the light fighter-bomber AMX aircraft from its inventory.

Present for the exercise was the 9° Gruppo/4° Stormo with ground crew and pilots from both 4° Stormo and 36° Stormo from Gioa del Colle airbase.

CSAR/Air support special forces

Present were two impressive helicopters from both the Navy and Airforce. Especially the mat black HH-101A 'Caesar' is a true combat machine equiped with three machine guns.

Part of the crew are the so-called ‘aerosoccorritore’ or air rescue para jumpers. They are highly trained extraction specialists for both civilian rescue and military personnel recovery. In APROC they operated together with specialized extraction forces from the 9° Wing at Grazzanise and 16° wing from Martina Franca.

APROC missions

After two days of academics and a familiarization flight, eight tactical missions were planned with increasing difficulty. Each afternoon one mission was flown by three task forces. These consisted of transport helicopters, extraction forces, Rescue Escort (RESCORT)helicopters and for two task forces also RESCORT fighter aircraft (Italian EF-2000s and Dutch F-16s).

EF-2000 Typhoon on its way for the next PR mission

Northern Skies Aviation would like to thank the PAO of Gilze-Rijen, Lt.Col. Holewijn of EPRC and the Italian forces for their hospitality!

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