Multinational Helicopter Training Centre bound for Portugal

At a press conference held in Lisbon, Portugal, on July 16, the Portuguese Minister of Defense Gomes Cravinho along with European Defense Agency (EDA) executive director Jorge Domecq announced that the EDA-sponsored Multinational Helicopter Training Centre (MHTC) is set to open at Sintra Air Base in Portugal in 2021.

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The rotary-wing-focused center will concentrate three different types of training — exercises, pilot and aircrew training — in one place.

The future center will also include tactical simulators for irregular warfare, urban warfare and search-and-rescue training.

Along with Portugal, 17 different countries have expressed interest in the MHTC, which could result in the center seeing around 200 trainees per year. The countries include Austria, Belgium, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Finland, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and United Kingdom, as well as Serbia, Switzerland and Ukraine from outside the European Union (EU).

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The establishment of the MHTC in Sintra also implies that the resident Socata TB 30 Epsilon aircraft of 101 Squadron will move out to Beja Air Base, while the EH101 Merlins of 751 Squadron will move in from Montijo Air Base. The small fleet of DHC-1 Chipmunks will remain in Sintra flying with the Portuguese Air Force Academy cadets.

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