MILAVIA > Specials > Bright Armoured 2017 Aviano Last updated: 26 November 2017
MILAVIA Military Aviation Specials

Exercise Report : Bright Armoured 2017 Aviano

Exercise Bright Armoured 2017 - Helicopter Task Group

Renzo Del Bianco provides a look at the helicopters staging out of Aviano Air Base for exercise Bright Armoured 2017 held in June.

The 2017 edition of the exercise Bright Armoured took place between 19 and 30 of June in the training area of the Cellina-Meduna range, near Pordenone, North-East of Italy. The exercise involved about 1200 multi-national troops under the command of the Italian Army Armoured Brigade “Ariete”, one of the most famous and distinguished Italian Army brigades, selected as Land Brigade of the NATO’s Very High Readiness Joint Task Force (VJTF) for 2018.

The purpose of Bright Armoured, which involves assets from several NATO allies, is to test interoperability and the related procedures between the Land Brigade and various multi-national units of the VJTF while executing combined land and aerial operations. It serves to certify the ability to deploy in few days time to face any crisis or threat anywhere in Europe. This commitment was established in the 2014 Wales Summit of the NATO, when Allied Nations agreed to a Readiness Action Plan (RAP) to ensure the Alliance is ready to respond swiftly and firmly to new security challenges. The RAP consists in a package of measures and one of them is the Very High Readiness Joint Task Force (VJTF), which consists of about 5,000 troops, with some elements able to deploy within 48 hours.

BRAD-17 was mainly a land exercise, as demonstrated by the extensive list of participating army units, which included Italian Army assets belonging to the 11° reggimento bersaglieri (11th bersaglieri regiment), the reggimento logistico (logistics regiment), the 32° reggimento carri (32nd armoured regiment), the 10° reggimento genio guastatori (10th engineers regiment), the 187° reggimento paracadutisti (187th parachutist regiment) “Folgore”, the 1° reggimento artiglieria da montagna (1st mountain artillery regiment), the Comando Trasmissioni Esercito (Army transmission command), and Allied land assets belonging to Spanish Army, with elements of the 10th Brigade from Córdoba and 21st Logistic Support Group (AALOG 21) from Seville, Slovenian Armed Forces and Albania Armed Forces.

The land force was mainly deployed in the La Comina’s training range area, situated between Pordenone and Aviano. The small, but interesting and important, aerial component of escort/attack and support helicopters formed a Task Group (TG) deployed at Aviano AB.

    The Task Group at Aviano consisted of the following helicopters:
  • Two UH-205 (AB-205) "Hueys" of the 4° Rgt. AVES “Altair” (Italian Army)
    from Bolzano
  • Two AH-64D Apaches of the 12th CAB / 1-3rd AVN (ARB) (U.S. Army)
    from Ansbach-Katterbach
  • One AS532AL Cougar of the 15th Aviation Brigade (Slovenian Armed Forces)
    from Ljubljana/Brnik

The 4° Reggimento AVES “Altair” was responsible for command and control of the Task Group's aerial operations and to ensure logistic and maintenance support for the Task Group during the exercise. Under the command of the Brigade “Ariete”, located in La Comina area, the Task Group at Aviano AB planned and executed all requested day and night aerial support missions, also involving multi-national helicopter formations to progressively refine the procedures and integration between multi-national crews until reaching the level required to effectively support the Land Brigade.

Personnel from NATO Rapid Deployable Corps Italy (NRDC-ITA) were monitoring how activities, procedures and communications were tested while the VJTF Land Brigade were training together. The NRDC-ITA is the leading command to assess and certify that the units are achieving the operating level required of the VJTF.

Renzo Del Bianco / A.A.F.G.

I’d like to thank the Ufficio Comando Aeroporto of Aviano, Italian Air Force, for the support and access necessary to realize this report.

Report and photos by Renzo Del Bianco ( view portfolio )

First Published: 26 November 2017
Last Modified: 26 November 2017

Update log: