'Pashtun Jaguar' tests UK helicopter crews for Afghanistan
Rotary-wing assets from the UK's Joint Helicopter Command (JHC) have taken part in a large exercise to prepare troops heading for Afghanistan.
JHC's Exercise Pashtun Jaguar supported the ground troops of 12 Mechanized Brigade as they took part in Exercise Pashtun Dawn, a mission rehearsal that prepares them for operations in theatre, held on the Salisbury Plain Training Area (SPTA) over four weeks in February and March.
12 Mechanized Brigade are due to take over from 20th Armoured Brigade as the lead formation of British troops in Helmand province in April 2012.
Taking part in the exercise were Army Air Corps (AAC) Apaches and Lynx to provide close air support and overwatch while the Chinooks, Merlins and Pumas of the Royal Air Force (RAF) provided the support element. Other assets in the exercise included a Diamond DA42 acting as a surrogate UAV and Bell 212s of the AAC's 671 Sqn at Middle Wallop who performed in the 'Pedro' medevac role during the exercises.
Part of the exercise saw the use of the Lynx AH9A equipped with the MX-10 EO/IR pod, which was first deployed to Afghanistan late last year.
Exercise Pashtun Jaguar aims to prepare JHC personnel and army brigade troops for the threats and combat that they will face together in Afghanistan.
Additionally, complex training scenarios are compiled by the exercise control staff, and through this active role-play personnel are provided with a safe environment to test themselves and the equipment that they will be reliant on during operations.
One of the key aims of the exercise is to deliver ‘judgemental training’ to the crews flying both the Apache and armed Lynx. Once in the air, crews are assessed in their decision-making against the rules of engagement that they will work to once in theatre.
Source: By Tony Osborne in London - 12 March 2012 - Shephard News
Photo: 'Pashtun Jaguar' tests UK helicopter crews for Afghanistan (Photo by Shephard Group)