Exercise Report : Italian Army Aviation CASEVAC Training
Italian Army Aviation CASEVAC Training
The Italian Army Aviation deployed the UH-90 to the base Casarsa della Delizia and staged a CASEVAC training mission at the Cellina-Meduna range flown by the UH-90 with AH-129 escort. Report and photos by Renzo Del Bianco and Dino Uliana.
In the final week of May 2016, Aviazione dell'Esercito (AVES - Italian Army Aviation) training activities at the “Francesco Baracca” airport in Casarsa della Delizia near Pordenone, home of the 5° Reggimento AVES “RIGEL”, involved both AH-129C of the resident 49° Gruppo Squadroni “CAPRICORNO” and deployed UH-90A tactical transport helicopters of the 25° Gr. Sq. “CIGNO” of 7° Rgt. AVES “VEGA” from Rimini-Miramare.
On Tuesday 31st of May, we had the opportunity to attend, flying along on board a 27° Gr. Sq. “MERCURIO” UH-205A (AB 205), a CASEVAC training mission. It foresaw a resupply flight to a FOB (Forward Operating Base) by an UH-90A tactical transport helicopter (NH90 TTH) escorted by an AH-129C armed scout and escort helicopter (A129CBT Mangusta EES), with an unscheduled CASEVAC call from a VM90 vehicle on a ground operation, situated in a different location (Cellina-Meduna range) than the FOB destination.
After the pre-flight briefing with all participants (flying and on the ground) involved, the flying activities began with the take-off of our helicopter (UH-205A) to permit us to capture the departure phase of the helicopters. During the initial flight phase heading to the FOB, the call for CASEVAC soon came in and subsequently the flight route was updated. As soon as the helicopters reached the evacuation zone and verified the location upon the smoke signal by the ground troops, the AH-129C constantly flew over the surrounding areas near the landing zone to ensure there were no threats before the UH-90A came in for landing. After the injured soldier on a stretcher was carried on board the helicopter, the UH-90A took off and headed towards the nearest medical centre (in this case a return to base).
This kind of exercise permits all military assets involved to maintain adequate skills on performing CASEVAC when deployed to a theater of operations, as well as to validate and improve procedures to cope with evolving threats as often occurs on CASEVAC missions.
It’s important to note the difference between the MEDEVAC and CASEVAC aviation mission. MEDEVAC refers to a medical evacuation provided by aircraft in air ambulance configuration with medical personnel onboard to tend to the wounded, injured, or ill person extracted from the combat zone or another location. CASEVAC refers to evacuation provided by a helicopter not specifically configured as air ambulance and without dedicated medical personnel onboard, but called upon to transport the casualty to a medical centre. Either mission can be with or without armed escort.
I would like to thank the Stato Maggiore dell'Esercito for the authorisition, 5° Rgt. AVES “RIGEL” Commander Col. Pilota Stefano Angioni, Public Relation Chief Lt. Col. Pilota Alessandro Metalli, and 1° M.llo Alessandro Zanot for the kind support.
Renzo Del Bianco / A.A.F.G.
Last Modified: 1 August 2016