The Air-centric Personnel Recovery Operatives’ Course (APROC) 2023 was successfully completed on 7 July 2023 at the Spanish Airbase of Albacete.

This was the fifth iteration of this series of courses, and the second edition in a row to follow the new organisational concept of remaining at one permanent course location (Albacete) and relying on a Host Nation (HN) and Framework Nation (FN) concept. APROC was previously held annually at different locations and nations throughout Europe.

Thanks to the outstanding support provided by HN ESP, the FN DEU, the hosting ALA-14 base and the Tactical Leadership Programme (TLP), during the period from 16 June to 07 July, around 500 personnel from 13 countries deployed to Albacete Airbase as either Training Audience, or in Support to the course, or as Observers.

Regarding the operational part of the course, Spain, France, Germany, Italy and Romania deployed to Spain their PR dedicated/designated assets for the duration of the course. The aircraft & helicopters deployed by all three service branches were HH-101A Caesar (ITA), EC-725 Caracal (FRA), NH-90 (DEU and ESP) as Recovery Vehicles, F-2000 Eurofighter (ITA and ESP) as Fixed Wing RESCORT as well as AS-555 Fennec (FRA), EC 665 Tiger (ESP) and IAR-330 (ROU) as Rotary Wing RESCORT. In addition, ITA deployed its Gulfstream CAEW as Airborne Early Warning/ Airborne Mission Coordinator. Moreover, Extraction Forces teams from DEU, ESP, FRA, ITA and ROU also joined the course’s Training Audience.

A total of 21 missions in three PRTF, during 7 flying days, were planned and conducted, resulting in 140 sorties and over 252 flight hours of the participating aircraft/helicopters.

APROC, which is the successor course from the Combined Joint Personnel Recovery Standardisation Course (CJPRSC) and the Combined Joint Combat Search and Rescue Standardisation Course (CJCSARSC) , a series of courses run by the European Air Group that started in 2007, is currently the only European ‘live’ education opportunity that focuses entirely on Personnel Recovery (PR) Task Forces.

It aims to qualify selected personnel as a Rescue Mission Commander (RMC) and to educate and train Aircrews and Extraction Forces in the implementation of internationally agreed Tactics, Techniques and Procedures as a member of a Combined and Joint Force contingent using the so called “4T” (Task, Target Threats and Tactics) methodology. Since 2022 the APROC additionally includes an experiment of Reintegration training for SERE Instructors & Psychologists, Team Leaders and Intel personnel. Furthermore, for the first time, APROC 2023 has seen a dedicated training for the Extraction Forces during an extended academic phase.

The result of this kind of training is The APROC is a highly appreciated activity, that undoubtedly contributes to the building of an interoperable allied force that will be able to provide a viable PR capability for future operations.

A video with some impressions of APROC 2023 is available at the following link, courtesy of MACOM.

The next iteration will be conducted at Albacete Airbase in June 2024.