Military helicopter pilots receive their “wings” at the International Helicopter Training Centre of DCI

The first class of 13 Kuwaiti cadets trained by Défense Conseil International (DCI) at the International Helicopter Training Centre (CIF-H) at Dax and Luc-en-Provence received their French military helicopter pilot “wings” during a military ceremony presided by General Michel Grintchenko, commanding officer of the French Army’s ALAT light aviation unit, in the presence of French and Kuwaiti authorities. The 13 newly qualified pilots were accompanied by their families, who had travelled from Kuwait for the occasion, as well as Kuwaiti and French student pilots currently training at the CIF-H.

The project to create a helicopter pilot training centre in France was launched in 2013. At the end of 2014, the French military authorities approved the idea of installing the centre in the ALAT schools at Dax and Luc-en-Provence. Following the creation of a school in Qatar in 2012, the CIF-H is the second military helicopter pilot training centre created by DCI and its local partners. It is intended for foreign forces friendly with the French armed forces.

The class of Kuwaiti cadets who qualified today are currently following a training curriculum built around four main themes:

  • a one-year helicopter pilot training course in line with ALAT standards of excellence, leading to qualification as a French Military Helicopter Pilot;
  • complementary technical modules: combat flight, flying with night vision goggles (NVGs), instrument flying, flight in mountainous terrain;
  • operations-oriented training at the Luc-en-Provence site of the CIF-H to train crews to conduct combat missions, in daylight or at night, in a hostile environment;
  • award of a Bachelor degree in “Maintenance of Pluri-technical Aeronautical Systems” in partnership with Aix-Marseille University, representing the knowledge and aeronautical experience acquired in France.

The second class of 13 Kuwaiti cadets, which enrolled in the CIF-H at the start of the 2016/2017 academic year, will follow the same curriculum.

Closely connected to the ALAT, the CIF-H has developed strong synergies with the EALAT school over the past two years. Facilitated by the presence of CIF-H centres in Dax and Luc-en-Provence, these synergies take the form of shared experience and instructor exchanges. This connection is all the more natural as it is born out of a shared military culture, since all CIF-H instructors have been instructors at the EALAT. In addition, the training programmes are derived from the EALAT programmes and conducted by the CIF-H in strict accordance with ALAT operating rules.

As part of its mission to transfer the know-how of the French armed forces, and of the ALAT in particular, the CIF-H is helping to transmit the ALAT concept of “aérocombat”, allowing the ALAT to focus on its operational commitment.

Jean-Michel Palagos, CEO of DCI, declared: “The transfer of French military know-how to countries friendly with France is conducted via our training centres, some of which are located abroad, while the most important ones are co-located with French armed forces facilities in France.”

See our CIF-H presentation video.