EXERCISE “ICARUS” TESTS KFORs AIR ASSETS
Camp Bondsteel, Kosovo. On June 8, 2016 multinational aviators came together on Camp
Bondsteel to test their adaptability by conducting a multinational and multi-ship operation in
Kosovo deemed "Operation Icarus”.
The event incorporated crews from the U.S., Swiss and Croatian militaries and allowed the allied
aviation flight crews, planners and leaders to test their tactics, techniques and procedures (TTPs)
alongside one another.
Approximately 45 minutes into the flight, two UH-60 Black Hawks carrying a Turkish
reactionary force broke off from the multinational formation and began a simulated plummet
towards the surrounding mountaintops.
Two downed aircrafts and multiple casualties made an already difficult mission even harder.
Injecting a two-ship downed aircraft scenario into an already, admittedly, complex flight creates
the potential for any error to be compounded. By recognizing these errors in an austere training
environment, the unit can prevent them from happening in a real-world scenario.
With more than 5,000 KFOR service members relying on the aviation crews for various
movements throughout Kosovo, perfecting these skills while eliminating errors directly impacts
KFOR’s ability to accomplish its mission.
By working in cohesion with other NATO partners, KFOR’s overall ability to maintain a Safe
and Secure Environment in Kosovo is strengthened. Additionally by stressing the capabilities of
medevac helicopter response to mass casualty situations, the medevac unit will be better situated
to provide real-world response in the Kosovo area of operations.
The KFOR flight crews plan to conduct similar training in the future as they look to refine
internal and multi-echelon processes that improve the units overall readiness and, in turn, provide
the historical reliability.