Minister Krstičević: MSAP has a potential to become a NATO Centre of Excellence
The Multinational Special Aviation Training Centre (MSAP TC) was formally opened in the Barracks “Pukovnik Mirko Vukušić” at Zemunik on 11 December 2019.
The opening ceremony was attended by the Deputy Prime Minister and Defence Minister of the Republic of Croatia Damir Krstičević, by the Chief of the General Staff of the Croatian Armed Forces General Mirko Šundov, by the Deputy Prime Minister and Defence Minister of the Republic of Bulgaria Krasimir Karakachanov, by the Deputy Prime Minister and Defence Minister of the Republic of Slovenia Karl Erjavec, by the Defence Minister of Hungary Tibor Benko, by the Assistant NATO Secretary General for Defence Investment Camille Grand, by Commander of the NATO Special Operations Headquarters General Eric P. Wendt and by chiefs of defence of the Republic of Bulgaria, of the Republic of Slovenia of Hungary.
The purpose of the MSAP is to train crews operating multi-purpose helicopters designated for special air operations through in-class and weeks-long flight training preparing for non-conventional tasks of special air forces, in accordance with the Capability Targets of the MSAP member nations.
The training will be conducted by highest standards and in a most economic way and will result in enhanced interoperability, in accordance with the NATO standards.
Minister Krstičević said the opening of the Multinational Special Aviation Training Centre was highly important for the Croatian Armed Forces.
“MSAP is the first NATO international body with a potential to grow into a new NATO Centre of Excellence. The opening of MSAP has confirmed Croatia as a credible NATO nation”, said the Minister.
Minister Krstičević:”I am proud that here at Zemunik, in Croatia the best pilots will be trained for special air force operations”
“It is of foremost importance that Croatia is no longer alone; we are building new capabilities which are important for our country, for the Croatian Armed Forces and for NATO, and we are building our future together with the partners and allies. I am proud that here at Zemunik, in Croatia the best pilots will be trained for special air force operations. The demonstration exercise conducted by the Croatian Air Force and by the Special Forces Command has showcased the power and the strength of the Croatian Armed Forces”.
“The Croatian Armed Forces have again displayed top readiness and trainednss and proved its credibility”, concluded Minister Krstičević.
General Šundov: MSAP provides conditions for training in demanding conditions
General Šundov emphasised that the establishment of MSAP created the conditions for training in various demanding conditions, enabling the achievement of the set Capability Targets by each MSAP member nation. An additional benefit of the MSAP is enhancing of interoperability among the member nations’ armed forces.
“Having assumed the Special Operations Air Task Unit and Personel Recovery Capability Targets Croatia was aware of the inherent commitments but also of the values of the capabilities for the Croatian Armed Forces and the additional capabilities such as combat search-and-rescue. As the Republic of Bulgaria, Hungary and the Republic of Slovenia chose the same Capability Targets, an initiative was put forth to incept a joint training centre for special air forces”, said General Šundov.
NATO Assistant Secretary General: Developing the capabilities of special air forces we are proving NATO’s ability to develop new military capabilities
NATO Assistant Secretary General Camille Grand underlined the importance of understanding the evolving security environment over the past years, which required additional expertise, skills and capabilities. Therefore a need for development of special air forces capabilities was recognised, proving NATO’s capability of developing new skills and expertise.
Commander of NATO Special Operations Headquarters: Praising the Croatian Armed Forces for the expertise and skills shared in the missions and operations
The Commander of NATO Special Operations Headquarters Lieutenant General Eric P. Wendt extended appreciation to the Croatian Armed Forces for the expertise and skills shared in the missions and operations they were deployed to. Lt. Gen. Wendt said Croatia was excellent host of a training centre of the kind, which offered excellent conditions for further development of NATO capabilities and capacities.
Ministers of Bulgaria, Slovenia and Hungary: We believe in good future of MSAP
Defence ministers of Bulgaria, Slovenia and Hungary extended appreciation to the Croatian Deputy Prime Minister and Defence Minister Damir Krstičević for hosting the MSAP and shared hopes in its productive future.
The Deputy Prime Minister and Defence Minister of the Republic of Croatia Krasimir
Karakačanov said the special air operations were a capability that needed development and that the MSAP would considerably facilitate the development and enhancement of the national and NATO capabilities.
The Deputy Prime Minister and Defence Minister of the Republic of Slovenia Karl Erjavec agreed that the joint efforts and exchange of experiences was of crucial importance for NATO’s development. Minister Erjavec praised the realisation of the initiative and expressed belief in future successful co-operation.
The Defence Minister of Hungary Tibor Benko in his address stated that the need for establishing a training centre of the kind was based in the past experiences and lessons learned and the present-day security environment and the new challenges it brought.
Demonstration Exercise by Croatian Air Force and the Special Forces Command
The formal opening of the Multinational Special Aviation Training Centre featured an exercise displaying an infiltration into a terrorist cell, which was conducted by the members of the Croatian Air Force and of the Special Forces Command.
The Exercise concluded with a demonstration of the capabilities “Vehicle Interdiction” with two Mi-171Sh helicopters and “Overwatch” with two OH-58D helicopters.