The Chicago NATO Summit, held 20 and 21 May 2012, agreed the Czech project to create and lead the Multinational Aviation Training Centre for allied air forces within the Smart Defence initiative to share capabilities.
The Czech Republic has been a lead country of the HIP Helicopter Task Force Initiative since 2009, and an administrator and chair of the Trust Fund of Multinational Helicopter Initiative since last summer. The country also significantly contributes to training of Afghan helicopter personnel and American aviation instructors and at present, it prepares redeployment of three Czech Mi-171S helicopters on ISAF operation in Afghanistan.
“I am glad, that the decision of the Chicago Summit confirmed the position of the Czech Republic which has an active and long-time credit in development of helicopter capabilities,“ Minister of Defence Alexandr Vondra said after the Summit.
An international project team composed of countries which wants to participate in the MATC will start working within several months, and during 2013 it will transform the concept into real life. For example Croatia, Slovakia and the United States have already declared their interest to participate, but also Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania and other countries could join the project.
“The principle of the MATC project is not creating the centre in one locality, but involving joint use of present training capacities in participating countries,“ First Deputy Minister of Defence Jiri Sedivy said.
Helicopters of Mi type should be the starting platform of the project. Existing capacities and programmes will be used in all-embracing training of pilots, flying and ground personnel from allied and partner countries. The project will include theory and practice for basic, advance and combat training in which both funding and expert knowledge of participating countries will be exploited.
Current joint training of Czech and Croatian personnel for operating Mi-17/Mi-171 helicopters is an example of the future MATC project. A two-year programme, focused on standardisation of operation procedures and ways of mentoring Afghan personnel, consists of six courses. Training at the Flight Procedures Simulator is held in the Czech Republic, while practical flights are organised in Croatian Zadar.
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