HELICOPTERS FROM SEVERAL EUROPEAN COUNTRIES PARTICIPATE IN BIGGEST SAR MEET EVER
From 27 September until 1 October, the Galileo Search-and-Rescue (SAR) Meet 2021 took place. This training event was held at Koksijde Air Base, home base of 40 Squadron, which is responsible for helicopter rescue operations off the Belgian coast. With the participation of 13 helicopters and more than 100 crewmembers from 13 European countries, this exercise will be the largest SAR meeting ever organised. This year’s edition is organised in close cooperation with Galileo, the Global Positioning
System of the European Union.
The International Search and rescue Meet is an exercise in which search and rescue teams demonstrate their missions, assets, skills and procedures to one another. The aim of the exercise is to share experiences in order to learn lessons to make rescue operations even more efficient, safer and faster. The event has three main pillars. A symposium in which each nation presents its assets and procedures. A flight of a challenging nature where skills such as precision, speed and agility of the entire crew are put to the test. Finally, a sports event will test the cohesion of the crew, an important factor in rescue operations. At the end of the exercise, the best team receives the prestigious SAR-meet Trophy.
Galileo is the Global Positioning System of the European Union, aiming to ensure independency and autonomy in the field of navigation and timing solutions from space. Since the declaration of initial services in 2016, Galileo has been providing positioning and timing services to almost 3 billion users. By supporting the Galileo SAR Meet 2021, the EU renews and confirms its commitment to include operational Search and Rescue crews in the definition of theservice evolutions, in order to deliver the features they need to carry out theirmissions in the safest and most efficient way. 40 Squadron has a tradition of organising this SAR event. Nevertheless, the last edition dates back to October 2016. The transition of the Sea King rescue helicopter to the high-performance and ultra-modern NH90 NFH, as well as the covid-19 pandemic,were the reasons for this break. The 2021 edition can count on a very diversified and significant international presence of rescue squads. For example, the “40th” will welcome teams from Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany, Italy, Norway, Finland, Great Britain, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Greece, Sweden, France and Slovenia.