SAE Media Group's Helicopter Technology Central and Eastern Europe 2023 conference is returning for its seventh successful year on the 17th - 18th May 2023 as a live and in person event in Prague. As the only conference specialising on rotary systems in the Central and Eastern Europe, this will be a unique opportunity to network with numerous leading Air Force and Helicopter Programme Managers.

Unlike other events, this conference is a meeting for the military helicopter community across Central and Eastern Europe with a focus on the selection and procurement of new platforms and systems as a means of securing strategic success, whilst putting in place the necessary mechanisms for the maintenance, repair and overhaul of existing legacy platforms. This is the only event that provides a regional focus on Eastern European nations seeking to develop and modernise their fleets, along with NATO and international partners seeking strategic insights into cooperation and interoperability across the region.

1st helicopter squadron, 51st helicopter wing Presov, Air Force of the Armed Forces of the Slovak Republic; Army Futures Command; Bird Aerosystems Ltd; Bundeswehr ; CAE Engineering Kft; Ceská Letecká Servisní a.s.; Croatian Air Force; Czech Air Force; Czech Armed Forces; EDA; European Air Services; European Defence Agency; FN HERSTAL; French Air and Space Force; German Army; Government Office of the Prime Minister, Department of Defence Development; HDF Modernization Institute; Hungarian Defence Forces; Hungarian Defence Forces 86. Szolnok Helicopter Base; Hungarian Defense Forces Forces Command; IABG; Leonardo Helicopter; Lithuanian Air Force; Matc; Meta Aerospace Capital; Ministry of Defence; Ministry of Defence of Hungary; Ministry of Defence of the Czech Republic; Ministry of Defence, Austria; Movement Coordination Centre Europe (MCCE); NAHEMA (NATO HELICOPTER D&D PRODUCTION AND LOGISTICS MANAGEMENT AGENCY); NAHEMA (NATO Helicopter Management Agency); NATO Support and Procurement Agency; Patria Group; Patria ISP Oy; Pbs Velka Bites; Pinnacle Solutions, Inc.; Program Executive Office, Aviation; Slovak Air Force; Slovenian Armed Forces (SAF); THALES; Thales AVS France; U.S. Army; United States Army, Army Futures Command DEVCOM; Us Army Peo Aviation; Wojskowe Zaklady Lotnicze Nr 1;

Conference programme

8:30 Registration & Coffee

8:50 Chair's Opening Remarks

Major General (Ret'd) Bohuslav  Dvorak

Major General (Ret'd) Bohuslav Dvorak, Defence and Security Consulatant and former Deputy Chief of General Staff , Czech Defence and Security Industry
View Bio

9:00 Host Nation Opening Address: Eliminating Obsolescence: Regeneration the Helicopter Force of the 22nd Helicopter Air Base to Meet the Challenges of Contemporary Conflict

Lieutenant Colonel Tomáš Navrátil

Lieutenant Colonel Tomáš Navrátil, Deputy Wing Commander, 22 Helicopter Base, Czech Air Force
View Bio

  • Outlining the Technical and Interoperability benefits of the new UH-1Y Venom and AH-1Z Viper Helicopters
  • Updating training and Air Base procedures to ensure an effective and sustainable transition from the Mi-171 Sh and Mi-24/35 rotary platforms
  • Defining the future developments of the Air Base and Helicopter units
  • 9:30 Modernisation Priorities for The Croatian Airforce’s Helicopter Capacity

    Brigadier General Michael Križanec

    Brigadier General Michael Križanec, Commander, Croatian Air Force
    View Bio

  • Reviewing the plans for the reduction of the role of the Mi fleet in favour of platforms of western origin.
  • Preparation for the integration of the UH-60M into the Croatian Air Force.
  • Reviewing the Long-Term Development Plan 2022 – 2033 and how it advances the goal of deploying and sustaining an interoperable and capable force
  • 10:00 Session Reserved for Gold Sponsor

    10:30 Morning Coffee

    11:00 Regional Updates

    11:00 The Role of Rotary Platforms in Achieving the Hungarian Defence Forces’ Modernisation

    Colonel Dr. Tamás Bali

    Colonel Dr. Tamás Bali, Commander of the HDF 86 Helicopter Wing, Hungarian Air Force
    View Bio

  • Modernisation achievements and outstanding challenges for Rotary Wing force.
  • Results from Exercise Fire Blade 2022 – hosted In Hungary for the EDA
  • Integration and modifications of the H145M platform
  • 11:30 Ensuring Full Value of the UH-60M platform for the Slovak Air Force

    Lieutenant Colonel Vojtech Pitron

    Lieutenant Colonel Vojtech Pitron, Deputy Commander, 1st Helicopter Wing Presov, , Air Force of the Armed Forces of the Slovak Republic
    View Bio

  • Update on the progress of the construction of a new helicopter hangar
  • Upgrade specifications to improve the capabilities of the current UH-60M fleet
  • Acquisition and utilisation of simulators for national and joint training 
  • Further rotary platform regeneration plans to prevent future capability gaps
  • 12:00 Assessing the Success and Future Steps for the AW101 Rotary Platform in the Polish Armed Forces

    Lieutenant Commander (Commander Pilot) Sebastian Babel

    Lieutenant Commander (Commander Pilot) Sebastian Babel, Senior Specialist, Helicopter Commander, General Command of the Polish Armed Forces
    View Bio

  • Key maritime duties and challenges for rotary platforms in the Polish Armed Forces
  • Technical specifications of the AW101 platform for the Polish Armed Forces to enhance SAR and ASW capabities
  • Update on the progress of fleet construction for 2023 operational use and managing the reduction of the role of legacy platforms
  • Future Polish Naval Aviation Plans
  • 12:30 Networking Lunch

    13:30 NATO Support for European Helicopter Modernisation

    13:30 Opportunities for Nations Looking for Alternative Helicopter Fleets

    Brigadier General (ret'd) Daniele Cucchi

    Brigadier General (ret'd) Daniele Cucchi, Aviation Support Programme Manager, NATO Support and Procurement Agency
    View Bio

  • Nations currently using legacy helicopters (breakdown of platform types)
  • Weaknesses of operating legacy fleet
  • Easing the transition into modern and supportable fleets
  • 14:00 Introducing the Business Model and Opportunities of OCCAR Corporate Business and Highlights on Tiger Programme with Mk III Challenges

    Mr. Christophe Le Blay

    Mr. Christophe Le Blay, Tiger Programme Management Manager, OCCAR-EA
    View Bio

  • Organisation, business model and portfolio of OCCAR 
  • Exploring the benefits of international cooperation via OCCAR 
  • Operational advantages provided by the TIGER Mk. III attack helicopter
  • 15:00 Updates on the Development of European Next-Generation Rotorcraft Capabilities

    Mr. Cyril Heckel

    Mr. Cyril Heckel, Acquisition Officer, NATO Support and Procurement Agency
    View Bio

  • Next steps for the programme following the June 2022 signing of a Memorandum of Understanding
  • Implications of UK and Dutch cooperation with the US FVL CFT for NATO NGCR development
  • 15:30 Afternoon Tea

    16:30 The New Leader in European Helicopter Training and Interoperability: Establishing the Multinational Helicopter Training Centre (MHTC)

    Colonel Jorge Inácio

    Colonel Jorge Inácio, Commander, Multinational Helicopter Training Centre (MHTC)
    View Bio

  • Reflecting on the achievements and legacy of the EDA’s helicopter training programmes.
  • Providing an overview of the new structure and enhanced capabilities of the MHTC to deliver helicopter tactics training and enhance human interoperability 
  • Outlining the priorities and future plans for the first 15 years of MHTC operation
  • 16:30 Training and Interoperability

    17:00 Utilising New Training Technologies to Maximise Interoperability and Meet Modern Helicopter Operational Challenges

    Colonel Karel  Valvoda

    Colonel Karel Valvoda, Director, Czech Armed Forces
    View Bio

  • Highlighting the role of the MATC in meeting the challenges and opportunities posed to rotary systems by UAVs
  • Exploring the benefits of the partnership with Centres of Simulation and Training
  • Strategies to maximise cooperation and interoperability between the V4 nations
  • 17:30 Search and Rescue

    17:30 The Use of Rotary Platforms to Perform SAR and MEDEVAC Operations in Challenging Environments

    18:00 Chair’s Closing Remarks and Close of Day One

    Major General (Ret'd) Bohuslav  Dvorak

    Major General (Ret'd) Bohuslav Dvorak, Defence and Security Consulatant and former Deputy Chief of General Staff , Czech Defence and Security Industry
    View Bio

    8:30 Registration & Coffee

    8:50 Chair's Opening Remarks

    Major General (Ret'd) Bohuslav  Dvorak

    Major General (Ret'd) Bohuslav Dvorak, Defence and Security Consulatant and former Deputy Chief of General Staff , Czech Defence and Security Industry
    View Bio

    9:00 The Role of 112CW Helicopters in Supporting Greek, EU and NATO Interests in the South-East Med Area

    Brigadier General Vasileios Tosios

    Brigadier General Vasileios Tosios, Commander of the 112 Combat Wing, Support Command, Hellenic Air Force
    View Bio

  • Overview of the operational priorities of the 112 Combat Wing
  • Multination training and coordination participation to improve SAR/CSAR and MEDEVAC capabilities
  • Technical requirements of the Mid-Life Upgrade of the AS332 Super Puma Helicopters
  • 9:30 Assessing the Implicatins for Rotorcraft Use and Technology of Air Power in the Ukrainian-Russian Conflict

    Lieutenant Colonel Emiliano Pellegrini

    Lieutenant Colonel Emiliano Pellegrini, Subject Matter Expert (SME), Attack Helicopter and Air-Land Integration, Combat Air Branch, Joint Air Power Competency Centre (JAPCC) and Italian Army Aviation
    View Bio

  • Rotary Wing assets primarily employed in the RUS-UKR war
  • General overview of losses and downed helicopters
  • Cause analysis of downed assets
  • Supposed Technological gaps
  • Structure and Command supposed mistakes
  • Inappropriate flight profiles and procedures
  • Applied conclusions to the Allied Forces
  • 10:00 Session Reserved for Sponsor

    10:30 Morning Coffee

    11:00 Regional Updates

    11:00 Shaping the Hungarian Rotary-Wing Operation Capabilities

    Colonel Simon Zsolt

    Colonel Simon Zsolt, Deputy Commander of the HDF 86 Helicopter Wing, Hungarian Air Force
    View Bio

  • Advanced training achievements on the H145M platform
  • Utilisation of the EDA’s Blade Exercises to reach the Hungary Rotary Wing aircrews’ operational readiness
  • 11:30 Enhancing Lithuanian Operational Capacities through Rotary Force

    Lieutenant Colonel Andrius Stuknys

    Lieutenant Colonel Andrius Stuknys, Commander Maintenance Depot, Lithuanian Air Force
    View Bio

  • Advantages of the multi-role UH-60M Black Hawk for meeting Lithuanian military priorities
  • Procurement and training strategies to maximise interoperability with neighbouring allies
  • 12:00 Session Reserved for Sponsor

    12:30 Networking Lunch

    13:30 Preparing for Future Operational Challenges

    13:30 Rotary Wing Capabilities in the German Armed Forces

    Mr. Harald Sucher

    Mr. Harald Sucher, Branch Chief - Rotary-Wing Aircraft, Directorate-General for Equipment, German Federal Ministry of Defence
    View Bio

  • Planned fleet renewal of helicopter systems in Army, Air Force and Navy 
  • Challenges and possibilities to meet future threats
  • 14:00 Italian Armed Forces’ Progress towards Rotary Wing Development Goals for Land, Sea, and Air

    14:30 Facilitating Next-Generation Aviation Designs with Technological Improvements to Airworthiness

    Mr. Jeff Langhout

    Mr. Jeff Langhout, Director, United States Army, Army Futures Command DEVCOM
    View Bio

  • Overviewing the AvMC’s development goals for helicopter technology in support of US Army Aviation
  • Highlighting key advancements with rotary-wing applications such as:
  • Agile software development
  • Additive Manufacturing Components
  • Open Systems Architecture
  • Challenges for maturing and applying new technologies
  • 15:00 Session Reserved for Sponsor

    15:30 Afternoon Tea

    15:55 Next-Generation Rotary Wing Platforms

    16:30 Perspective on and challenges with Development of Future Rotary Wing Concepts for the Royal Netherlands Air Force

    Colonel Peter Arts

    Colonel Peter Arts, Head of Department for Aviation Projects, Defence Materiel Organisation
    View Bio

  • Aims for the Netherlands future Rotorcraft Concept Analysis 
  • Co-ordinating international cooperation within NGRC, ENGRT and FVL
  • Further research and development priorities for the Netherlands Defence Helicopter Command
  • 17:00 Chair’s Closing Remarks and Close of Day Two

    Major General (Ret'd) Bohuslav  Dvorak

    Major General (Ret'd) Bohuslav Dvorak, Defence and Security Consulatant and former Deputy Chief of General Staff , Czech Defence and Security Industry
    View Bio



    Brigadier General (ret'd) Daniele Cucchi

    Brigadier General (ret'd) Daniele Cucchi

    Aviation Support Programme Manager, NATO Support and Procurement Agency
    Brigadier General Michael Križanec

    Brigadier General Michael Križanec

    Commander, Croatian Air Force
    Brigadier General Vasileios Tosios

    Brigadier General Vasileios Tosios

    Commander of the 112 Combat Wing, Support Command, Hellenic Air Force
    Colonel Dr. Tamás Bali

    Colonel Dr. Tamás Bali

    Commander of the HDF 86 Helicopter Wing, Hungarian Air Force
    Colonel Jorge Inácio

    Colonel Jorge Inácio

    Commander, Multinational Helicopter Training Centre (MHTC)
    Mr. Cyril Heckel

    Mr. Cyril Heckel

    Acquisition Officer, NATO Support and Procurement Agency

    Brigadier General (ret'd) Daniele Cucchi

    Aviation Support Programme Manager, NATO Support and Procurement Agency
    Brigadier General (ret'd) Daniele Cucchi

    Daniele Cucchi is the Aviation Support Programme Manager at the NATO Support and Procurement Agency.

    He has spent almost 40 years in the Italian Air Force, attending the Air Force Academy and graduating with a Master degree in Aeronautical Engineering.

    During his career, he covered various roles dealing with fixed wing aircraft, rotorcraft and military jet engines, including international assignments.

    Before joining NATO, he was responsible for the introduction into service of several new CH-47F and NH-90 helicopter as the Director of the Regional Technical Office of Milan of the Air Armaments and Airworthiness Directorate.

    Daniele Cucchi left active duty three years ago with the rank of retired Brigadier General.

    Brigadier General Michael Križanec

    Commander, Croatian Air Force
    Brigadier General Michael Križanec

    Personal Details:

    • Rank (DOR): BG (5 August 2019)
    • DOB, City: 07 January 1972, Zagreb
    • Duty: Commander HRV AF
    • Unit: Croatian Air Force HQ


    • BSC Aeronautics, 1997, Traffic Sciences University, Zagreb
    • Squadron Officer School, 1998, Air University, Maxwell AFB
    • English language course, 2003, Defense Language Institute, Lackland AFB
    • Masters degree "Military operational art and science", 2004, Air Command and Staff College, Maxwell AFB
    • Leaders course for advanced security studies, 2005, “George C. Marshall – Center for International Security Studies”, Germany
    • War college – “Ban Josip Jelacic”, Croatian Military Academy, 2015

    Medals and Commendations:

    • Medal “Order of ban Jelacic”, ‘19
    • US Army Achievement Medal ‘11
    • NATO Non-Art V Medal ISAF ‘11
    • Presidential Commendation RH ‘09
    • NATO Non-Art V Medal KFOR ‘09
    • Medal “Order of the Croatian Interlace” ‘09
    • Medal “Order of the Croatian Trefoil”, ‘00
    • Minister’s of Defense commendation, ‘00
    • Minister’s of defense financial reward, ‘00
    • Air Force Commander’s commendation,’98,’00,’01,‘02
    • 94th AFB Commander’s commendation, ‘98
    • Chief of Staff of the USAF award, ‘98
    • SOS School Commandant’s Award for Academic Excellence, ‘98
    • SOS Squadron Commander’s Award, Member Right of Line Flight, ‘98


    • 1997-2003 Pilot, 28th Transport Helicopter Squadron
    • 1998-2000, 94th AFB Head S-3
    • 2003, Air Force G-3 Staff officer
    • 2004-2009, Multirole Helicopter Squadron Deputy CO
    • 2009-2013, Multirole Helicopter Squadron CO
    • 2013- 2014 General Staff J-3 Joint doctrine development staff officer
    • 2014- 2016 Executive officer to Chief of the General Staff of Croatian Armed Forces
    • 2016-2017 91. AFB Commander
    • 2018 – 2019, CoS and Deputy CO, AF HQ
    • 2019 – Commander AF

    Rank Progression:

    • LCpl, 21 January 1997 (cadet) OR-3
    • 2Lt, 28 January 1997 OF-1
    • 1Lt, 11 August 2000 OF-1
    • CPT, 01 August 2003 OF-2
    • MAJ, 01 December 2006 OF-3
    • LtCol, 25 May 2010 OF-4
    • Col, 5 August 2016 OF-5
    • BG, 5 August 2019 OF-6

    Foreign Languages:

    • English
    • Passive Russian and French

    Brigadier General Vasileios Tosios

    Commander of the 112 Combat Wing, Support Command, Hellenic Air Force
    Brigadier General Vasileios Tosios

    Professional Summary:

    •  Air Force Pilot Brig. General ranked with twenty eight (32) years of experience as an Air Force Officer.

    Work History:

    • Commander of HAF/112CW, present day
    • Director of HAFSC Operations Center
    • Director Of Evaluation & Inspection for Cyrus Republic/National Guard
    • Director Of Evaluation & Inspection (HAFSC)
    • 112 CW Director Of Training & Operations
    • 352 VIP SQ Squadron Commander (EMB-135/145, GV)
    • 380 Airborne Early Warning Squadron Operations Officer (EMB-145AEW)
    • 352 VIP SQ Squadron Operations Officer (EMB-135/145, GV)
    • 352 SQ VIP Squadron Pilot/Officer (EMB-135/145, GV)
    • 356 Tactical Transport Squadron Pilot/Officer (C-130H/B)
    • 340 Fighter Squadron Pilot/Officer (A-7H),
    • CRM/ORM Facilitator/Instructor/Evaluator
    • War College Studies

    Flying Experience:

    • Initial/Intermediate/Operational Training: total 250 hrs
    • Operational Flying : more than 4000 hrs
    • Governmental & VIP Flying: more than 3000 hrs

    Colonel Dr. Tamás Bali

    Commander of the HDF 86 Helicopter Wing, Hungarian Air Force
    Colonel Dr. Tamás Bali

    Colonel Tamás Bali PhD started his military carrier as a helicopter co-pilot in 1996. From 2001, he was promoted to be Pilot in-command on Mi–8 transport helicopter. Half a year later, he became an A7 officer. From 2003 he was promoted to be the chief of the Air training and Operations detachment at Hungarian Defense Force’s 86th Szolnok Helicopter Wing. Later this year, he became an instructor pilot on the Mi–8 helicopter.

    He continued his military carrier at the Hungarian Joint Force Command’s Flight Training Department as a J7 officer from 2007, then he became this Department’s deputy commander. Following this, he was assigned to work at the Hungarian Ministry of Defense as a J3 officer.

    Returning back to Szolnok in 2015, he was promoted to be a deputy base commander, at present he is the 86th Szolnok Helicopter Base’s commander. Recently (apart from a lot others), he deals with pilot preselection and training.

    Colonel Jorge Inácio

    Commander, Multinational Helicopter Training Centre (MHTC)
    Colonel Jorge Inácio

    Colonel Jorge Inacio joined Portuguese Air Force Academy in 1992 and, after finishing the course, served in the Tactical Air Transport and Search and Rescue Squadrons, flying around 3000 flight hours in the SA-316B Alouette III, SA-330 Puma and EH-101 Merlin.

    Served in the Air Command/Plans Branch, Portuguese Military University Institute as Joint Operations Planning teacher and, in the EUMS/Concepts and Capabilities Directorate (CONCAP)/Force and Capability Branch (FORCAP) as action officer and deputy Branch Chief.

    Has the Degree (Pre Bologna) in Military Aeronautical Sciences, specialty of Pilot, Course for Promotion to Senior Officer, Joint Staff Course and Postgraduate in Military Sciences, Security and Defence.

    Colonel Karel Valvoda

    Director, Czech Armed Forces
    Colonel Karel  Valvoda

    Colonel Valvoda took over MATC leadership in November 2018.

    His background is military pilot flying both Mi-17/171 and Mi-24/35 helicopters. After joining the Czech Air Force in 1989, he was working on various positions from Helicopter Regiment up to Air Force Command. His last assignment prior MATC was Chief Flight Safety at CZE AF HQ.

    He was involved in several NATO operations, last time in Resolute Support Mission as Commannder 311th Air Expeditionary Advisory Squadron tasked to train Afghan helicopter pilots. His military career includes two assignments in NATO Military Structures, last time as member of Czech Military Delegation to NATO HQ Brussels.

    Colonel Peter Arts

    Head of Department for Aviation Projects, Defence Materiel Organisation
    Colonel Peter Arts

    Colonel Arts started his career in the Royal Netherlands Air Force in 2002 as an Apache pilot for the 301st Squadron. He was deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan where he flew over 800 combat hours. After his operational career at the 301st squadron, he led the weapons school and was responsible for tactical standardization of the Defense Helicopter Command. After an assignment at the Air Force HQ, Colonel Arts was assigned to the Netherlands Ministry of Defense as Air advisor for Joint Special Operations, Chief Helicopter Requirements and as Senior Policy Advisor responsible for long term development planning of the Netherlands Armed Forces. He then returned to the Air force as Chief Helicopter Branch. Currently, Colonel Arts is posted at the defense Material Organization as head of the Department for Aviation Projects.

    Colonel Simon Zsolt

    Deputy Commander of the HDF 86 Helicopter Wing, Hungarian Air Force
    Colonel Simon Zsolt

    Col. Zsolt Simon was infected with the aviation during high school when he started gliding on the nearby airfield in Szolnok city when he was 14. After high school he joined the military and started his pilot training in 1993 in the Air Force Collage. He graduated as a helicopter pilot in 1997 and started his military pilot career as a pilot on Mi-8 and Mi-17 helicopters.

    Three years later, he was promoted to an instructor and became the flight safety officer of the transport helicopter squadron. He also completed a fixed wing training in the Nato Flying Training Program in Canada (NFTC) on the TEXAN CT156 aircraft. After that course, he moved to the wing staff level of the Szolnok Helicopter Base as an executive training officer. During his career, he led two helicopter-training missions in Afghanistan where he and his team was responsible to train tactics to the afghan Mi-17 pilots. From 2015 to 2019 he was the Chief of Flight Training of the 86th Szolnok Helicopter Base.

    In April 2020 he was assigned to Command the Transport Helicopter Squadron at the 86th Szolnok Helicopter Base and became the chief instructor on H145M helicopters.

    In 2022 he was promoted to colonel and became the deputy commander of the 86th Szolnok Helicopter Base.
    He has more than 2500 flight hours on helicopters and 300 hours on fixed winged aircraft.


    Lieutenant Colonel Andrius Stuknys

    Commander Maintenance Depot, Lithuanian Air Force
    Lieutenant Colonel Andrius Stuknys

    DATE OF BIRTH: 1978-01-19
    PLACE OF BIRTH: Joniskis, Lithuania.
    FAMILY: Married, has a son and a daughter.


    • 2000 m. Kaunas Technology University, bachelor's degree in electrical engineering
    • 2002 m. Kaunas Technology University, master's degree in electronics engineering
    • 2003 m. General Jonas Zemaitis Lithuanian Military Academy, commanders course
    • 2005 m. General Adolf Ramanauskas Warfare Training Centre, environmental specialist courses
    • 2006 m. General Jonas Zemaitis Lithuanian Military Academy, Air Force Captain Course
    • 2009 m. Polytechnic Institute of Turin, Italy, the International Aeronautical Engineering II level specialized master studies
    • 2009 m. EAS training facility in Italy, logistical support course
    • 2010 m. Vilnius Gediminas Technical University, the maintenance organization certifying staff human factor training
    • 2011 m. Siauliai University, master's degree in energetic engineering
    • 2013 m. Vilnius Gediminas Technical University, aircraft fuel tanks operating courses
    • 2014 m. Aviation factory “Alenia Aermacchi”, aircraft C-27J service managers course
    • 2014 m. Aviation factory “Airbus Helicopters”, helicopter AS-365 Dauphin T4 level course
    • 2015 m. Vilnius Gediminas Technical University, Part - 145 and Part - M courses
    • 2019 m. Siauliai University, master's degree in mechanic engineering
    • 2020 m. Baltic Defence College, Joint Command and General Staff Course (JCGSC).


    • 2003.06.26 - 2004.09.30 Air Force I Aviation Base technical group, aircraft maintenance and periodic work, the head of radio-electronic equipment repair and periodic maintenance section
    • 2004.10. 01 - 2007.10.27 LAF Armament and Equipment Repair Depot, avionics repair works and periodic maintenance department, the chief of radio-electronic equipment section
    • 2009.08.01 - 2012.09.30 LAF Armament and Equipment Repair Depot, Quality Control Department, engineer of radio-electronic equipment
    • 2012.10.01 - 2014.10.26 LAF Armament and Equipment Repair Depot Technic repair and maintenance squadron commander
    • 2014.10.27 - 2018.09.17 Deputy Commander of LAF Armament and Equipment Repair Depot
    • 2018.09.17 - 2019.08.12 LAF Engineering service, senior engineer for radio communication and navigation
    • 2020.07.10 Commander of LAF Armament and Equipment Repair Depot

    Lieutenant Colonel Emiliano Pellegrini

    Subject Matter Expert (SME), Attack Helicopter and Air-Land Integration, Combat Air Branch, Joint Air Power Competency Centre (JAPCC) and Italian Army Aviation
    Lieutenant Colonel Emiliano Pellegrini

    Lieutenant Colonel Emiliano PELLEGRINI was commissioned in the Italian Army in 1990, when he was admitted to the Italian Army Military Academy. He was assigned to 5 th Attack Helicopter Regiment “RIGEL” where served as Squadron Commander and Operations Officer. During this period, he was qualified as Attack helicopter pilot with NVG (Night Vision Googles) and HIRNS (Helicopter Infrared Navigation System) licence. He has flown fixed wing SF-260, multirole helicopters AgustaBell-206, AgustaBell-205, as well as, the AgustaWestland A-129 “Mangusta” attack helicopter.

    From 2012 to 2016 was Commander of 34 Helicopters Group Squadron “TORO”, after then he had been assigned to NATO Rapid Deployable Corps Italy (NRDC-ITA) in G3-AIR Branch both as planning and operation officer. He has been deployed to Middle East (Iraq, Geordan, Afghanistan).

    He is currently stationed at the JAPCC as the Attack Helicopter on Air-Land Operations Planning and Integration, Airborne, and Airmobile Operations SME (Subject Matter Expert) in the Combat Air Branch.

    Lieutenant Colonel Tomáš Navrátil

    Deputy Wing Commander, 22 Helicopter Base, Czech Air Force
    Lieutenant Colonel Tomáš Navrátil


    • 2000 – 2004: Master Degree in A/C Maintenance, University of Defence Brno
    • 2004 – 2013: Maintenance Officer, 22 Helicopter Air Base (CAPT)
    • 2013 – 2016: SME Air, JOC, Joint Force Command Naples, Italy (MAJ)
    • 2016 – 2019: 223 Maintenance SQN Commander, 22 Helicopter Air Base (LtCol)
    • 2019 – 2022: Rotary Wing SME, Force Development Division, Cze MoD (LtCol)
    • 2022: Deputy Wing Commander, 22 Wing, 22 Helicopter Air Base (LtCol)

    Lieutenant Colonel Vojtech Pitron

    Deputy Commander, 1st Helicopter Wing Presov, , Air Force of the Armed Forces of the Slovak Republic
    Lieutenant Colonel Vojtech Pitron

    LTC Vojtech PITRON, Deputy Commander, 51st Helicopter Wing Prešov, Slovakia.

    Commissioned in 1996 and graduated of Air Force Academy, Košice, Slovakia in 2002 as a helicopter pilot.

    I have flown the Mi-2, Mi-17, UH-60M and currently I am an active instructor pilot with over 2600 hours. During my career I was deployed two times with Slovak helicopter unit as a pilot in Kosovo and Bosnia and Herzegovina. Prior to my current assignment, I was the commander of the 1st Helicopter squadron, 51st Helicopter Wing Prešov.

    Lieutenant Commander (Commander Pilot) Sebastian Babel

    Senior Specialist, Helicopter Commander, General Command of the Polish Armed Forces
    Lieutenant Commander (Commander Pilot) Sebastian Babel

    Commander pilot Sebastian Babel joined the Airforce Academy in 1993. He graduated from Academy in 1997 as a helicopter pilot and from this year he began his career in the aviation of the Navy.

    At the beginning he flew as a pilot on the rescue helicopters W-3 Anakonda, and then since 2002 he has continued his flight adventure on the American SH-2G ASW deck helicopter.

    He is a Masterclass pilot, instructor in full combat readinnes and test pilot.

    He was the co-creator of the cooperation of the naval aviation forces with special forces in the field of protection of trade routes and support for maritime operations.

    He participated in NATO missions in 2006, 2008 ACTIVE ENDEAVOUR as a crew commander and 2019 as a group commander.

    As a deck pilot, he has completed 800 landings on various ships during the day and 400 landings on ships at night.

    Currently, he serves in the helicopter aviation division of the General Command of the Polish Armed Forces still happily flying.

    Major Daniel Silva

    Squadron Commander, 751 Squadron, Portuguese Air Force
    Major Daniel Silva

    Major Daniel Silva joined the Air Force in 2003, obtaining is brevet in June 2009 upon completion of the flying training in the USAF.

    After attending the Helicopter Conversion Course, he was assigned to the EH-101 Merlin.

    From 2011 to 2021, he performed several roles on the 751SQN, including Operational Planning Officer, Standardization and Evaluation Chief Officer and Flight Operations Director.

    Late 2021, after graduating from HTIC, delivered by European Defense Agency, he became part of the first crew of helicopter tactical instructors of the Portuguese Air Force.

    In October 2022, Major Daniel Silva took command of the 751 Squadron.

    Major General (Ret'd) Bohuslav Dvorak

    Defence and Security Consulatant and former Deputy Chief of General Staff , Czech Defence and Security Industry
    Major General (Ret'd) Bohuslav  Dvorak

    His Service experience began in 1983 as a helicopter pilot, from 1986 he took on a variety of command posts in the 11th Helicopter regiment such as Flight, Deputy Squadron and Squadron command roles. By 1993 He was Senior inspector – SO1 AVN, A3 Section, 3rd Tactical Air Force Corps HQ before 1997 when he was DACOS AIR, CZE Armed Forces Contingent HQ, SFOR, Bosnia-Herzegovina again returning to his previous role in 1999. He took on a variety of NATO roles including SO1 AVN, ACE Mobile Force (Land) Command, NATO, Heidelberg and DACOS J3Air –„Allied Harbor” operation, AFOR HQ, Albania.

    After a number of other staff and command roles between 2002 and 2009 he reached the position of Deputy Chief of the Armed Forces Development & Operational Division; CZE Armed Forces General Staff taking full command from 2010 – 2012. On 8 May 2010 Promoted to the Brigadier General and by 2012 became Deputy Chief of the General Staff - Chief of Staff being promoted to the Major General on 28 October that year. By 2014 he was Deputy Minister of Defence for Acquisition before retiring from active and political service 2015 becoming Defence & Security Advisor to the Czech defense industry.

    Mr. Christophe Le Blay

    Tiger Programme Management Manager, OCCAR-EA
    Mr. Christophe Le Blay

    Christophe LE BLAY is a French Aeronautical Engineer working in military Programmes for over 25 years. He started his career in 1996 in the Aeronautical Engine Test Bench Centre. In 2003 he joined the Acquisition Programme Office (DGA) as Engine Specialist. After an advanced Master in “System Engineering and project Management of aeronautical” at ENSAM Paris, he took in 2008 the position of CARACAL (EC725) Chief Engineer. In 2011, he joined the International Programme management organisation (OCCAR-EA) as Helicopter Software and Avionic Manager within the Tiger Programme Division. Since 2021, He provides management support to the Tiger Programme Manager.

    Mr. Cyril Heckel

    Acquisition Officer, NATO Support and Procurement Agency
    Mr. Cyril Heckel

    Cyril Heckel is currently Acquisition and Development Officer at NSPA leading the integration activities (for Concept Stage) of the Next Generation Rotorcraft Capability project on behalf of the Participating Nations. He has been working within international defense programme environment for the last 16 years, operating 7 years at OCCAR and the last 4 years at NSPA. He concluded his 23-year Naval officer career in 2018 where he served on several operational units between 1997 and 2002 before directing his career towards Naval Programme Management. He has been leading the NGRC Preparation activities before the Concept Stage since 2021 and has extensive experience in leading high-level performance teams for defense armament Programmes and he strongly supports dedication to customers’ satisfaction by establishing a solid acquisition framework, by developing relevant requirements and by securing needed funding

    Mr. Ferre van Wilder

    Business Development Officer, , Strategy, Planning and Reporting Office, OCCAR
    Mr. Ferre van Wilder

    Ferre Van Wilder was born on 30 June 1964 in Deurne, Belgium. He was an Air Force Officer until 2017.

    He has a master’s degree in Aeronautical Science and a master’s degree in Strategic Studies.

    Amongst others, he has been the Belgian Air Force F-16 programme manager at Wright Patterson Air Force Base, Dayton, Ohio, USA, the A400M Logistic Support Officer at the OCCAR A400M Programme Division in Toulouse, France and the project manager for the implementation of the A400M in the Belgian armed forces.

    Since 2021, he is the OCCAR Business Development Officer in Bonn, Germany.

    Mr. Francisco Ortiz de Zarate

    Programme Manager, Tiger Programme Division, OCCAR-EA
    Mr. Francisco Ortiz de Zarate

    Mr. Harald Sucher

    Branch Chief - Rotary-Wing Aircraft, Directorate-General for Equipment, German Federal Ministry of Defence
    Mr. Harald Sucher

    Harald Sucher has been Head of Branch "Rotary-Wing Aircraft" in the Directorate-General for Equipment of the German Federal Ministry of Defence since March 2021. After studying aerospace engineering at the University of Stuttgart and completing career training for the technical service in the Bundeswehr Administration, he held a number of posts both at the Bundeswehr Technical Centre for Aircraft, at the Federal Office of Bundeswehr Equipment, Information Technology and In-Service Support and on ministerial level. Before moving to his current position, he was Head of Branch "Certification Policy Matters" at the National Military Aviation Authority.

    Mr. Jeff Langhout

    Director, United States Army, Army Futures Command DEVCOM
    Mr. Jeff Langhout

    Mr. Jeff Langhout assumed the duties as the Director, Combat Capabilities Development Command Aviation and Missile Center in January 2021 where he leads 3000 civilian and more than 7000 contractor engineering and business professionals providing the total life cycle engineering for the US Army Aviation and Missile and Ballistic Missile Defense materiel enterprise. He leads the Army’s Science and Technology (S&T) portfolio in the aviation and missile domains in support of the Army’s modernization priorities. He oversees more than $4B in annual revenue with reimbursable and S&T efforts.

    As the Director, Combat Capabilities Development Command Ground Vehicle Systems Center (2018-2021), he led a workforce of approximately 1800 civilians and approximately 300 contracting personnel dedicated to providing engineering expertise across the life cycle to the Army’s ground combat and combat support materiel domains. He led the S&T in support of the Army’s ground modernization portfolio.

    He served as the Director, Systems Simulation Software and Integration within the Aviation and Missile Center (2016-2018) where he led a workforce dedicated to developing cyber resilient systems, and building, delivering, operating, and sustaining simulation environments including hardware in the loop and high fidelity integration labs in support of the Army’s Aviation and Missile and Ballistic Missile Defense materiel enterprise. This organization also serves as one of the Army’s designated Life Cycle Software Engineering Centers providing software professional expertise across the life cycle.

    Mr. Langhout entered the Senior Executive Service in 2013 where he served for over 3 years as the Director for the Aviation Engineering Directorate within the Aviation and Missile Center. In that role, as the delegated airworthiness authority for the US Army, he led more than 800 engineering professionals dedicated to ensuring airworthiness for the Army Aviation.


    Career Chronology:

    • September 2008 – April 2013: Deputy Project Manager, Cargo Helicopters
    • December 2006 – September 2008: Chief, Technical Management Division, Cargo Helicopters Project Office
    • March 2002 – December 2006: Technical Chief, CH-47F Product Management Office
    • May 1998 – March 2002: Chief, Business Development Office, Threat Systems Management Office (TSMO)
    • October 1996 – May 1998: Chief, Advanced Concepts Team, TSMO
    • September 1994 – October 1996: Chief, Business Division, TSMO
    • July 1993 – September 1994: Chief, Configuration Management Branch, TSMO
    • April 1986 - July 1993: Project Director/Analyst, Missile and Space Intelligence Center


    • University of Alabama, Huntsville, Masters of Science in Engineering, 1991.
    • Major: Engineering Management; Minors: Accounting/Finance and Operations Research, Auburn University, Bachelor of Industrial Engineering, 1986.


    • Level III – Program Management, 1994
    • Level III – Systems Planning, Research, Development & Engineering (SPRDE), 1994
    • Level III – SPRDE, Science and Technology Manager, 2006
    • Level II – SPRDE, Program Systems Engineer, 2007

    Awards and Honours:

    • NDIA Silver Medal, 2021
    • Superior Service Medal, 2020
    • AUSA Civilian of the Year (finalist), 2011
    • Honorable Order of St Michael, Bronze, 2006
    • Achievement Medal for Civilian Service, 2004

    Professional Memberships and Associations:

    • Association of the United States Army (AUSA)
    • Army Aviation Association of America (AAAA)
    • Vertical Flight Society (VFS)

    Major Publications:

    • Army AL&T Magazine
    • Vertiflite Magazine
    • AAAA Magazine

    Gold Sponsor

    Sponsors and Exhibitors



    Vienna House Andel’s Prague

    Czech Republic

    A number of our clients have been approached by third party organisations offering to book hotel rooms. We would advise that you do not book through them as they are not representing the SMi Group. SMi Group books all hotel rooms directly. If you are approached by a third party organisation then please contact us before making any bookings. If you have already booked a hotel room using a third party organisation, we would highly recommend contacting the hotel you were booked into to ensure a booking has been made for you. We would also advise you to please check the terms and conditions of the booking carefully.

    Past Speaker Presentation - Michael Krizanec


    Past Speaker Presentation - Cyril Heckel


    Past Speaker Presentation - Giorgio Gomma


    Helicopter Technology Brochure


    Past Speaker Presentation - Axel Hoffmann


    Past Speaker Presentation - Jeff Langhout BG Rob Barrie


    Past Speaker Presentation - Colonel Marek Homola


    Sponsors and Exhibitors


    Gold Sponsor

    Leonardo, a global high-technology company, is among the top world players in Aerospace, Defence and Security. Organised into five business divisions, Leonardo has a significant industrial presence in Italy, the United Kingdom, Poland and the USA, where it also operates through subsidiaries that include Leonardo DRS (defense electronics), and joint ventures and partnerships: ATR, MBDA, Telespazio, Thales Alenia Space and Avio. Leonardo competes in the most important international markets by leveraging its areas of technological and product leadership (Helicopters, Aircraft, Aerostructures, Electronics, Cyber Security and Space.

    Sponsors and Exhibitors


    Sponsors and Exhibitors

    Thales In a world that is increasingly mobile, interconnected and interdependent, the security of people and goods, infrastructure and nations depends on leaders and organisations and their ability to decide and act in a timely fashion and obtain the best outcomes. In the markets that Thales serves - defence, security, space, aerospace and ground transportation - these decisions are often of critical importance. Navy, army and air force commanders, as well as air traffic controllers, policymakers and infrastructure operators, face these critical decisions and need full, relevant and reliable information to understand the situation and make the right choices. www.thalesgroup.com

    Media Partners

    Airforce Technologies


    Used daily as means of creating partnerships and as a point of reference by professionals within the air force industry, this comprehensive resource supplies the latest news releases, detailed information on industry projects, white papers, event information and a thorough breakdown of products and services.

    Soldier Modernisation


    Soldier Modernisation (SoldierMod.Com) is an authoritative policy and technology publication for the international defense community, serving the integrated equipment needs of the dismounted soldier and marine in operations today and the fielding of Soldier Modernisation Programmes over the next few years. SoldierMod.Com is designed to provide insights into how decision makers plan to transform operations in the areas of survivability, sustainability, C4I, lethality and mobility; managing the balance between the promise of 'leap-ahead technology balance and mature cost effective solutions. SoldierMod is distributed in many formats which will include an 50 page journal 10,000 copies BPA Audited, twice annually , in January and June Our Website www.soldiermod.com , Has a 24 hour news service , anytime ( currently at over 20,000 individual visits per month ) . We also have an online technical forum where anyone in the industry can ask us strategic or technological questions , our partners and experts will respond directly back.

    Airport Suppliers


    Airport Suppliers is the global airport industry’s number one meeting place for buyers, vendors, specifiers, decision makers, architects, consultants and system integrators. The portal encompasses all aspects of airport equipment, technology, design and services. We provide a comprehensive breakdown of products and services from leading industry contractors, with up-to-date news and press releases when exciting developments occur. With links to the most important airport related organisations and governing bodies in the world

    Defence Today


    Defence Today is an online publication covering the latest in global defence and security news, defence intelligence and strategic insight. Terrorism and emerging threats, defence industry coverage, the latest technology developments and emerging platforms and systems. Military equipment profiles and industry showcases. Advertising, press releases and event listings are available.

    Armada International


    ARMADA INTERNATIONAL is leading defence magazine which reports on and analyses defence systems, equipment and technology. Together with its Compendium supplements, ARMADA provides defence planners in the militaries, in government, in procurement and in the defence industry itself with the information they need to plan their strategies.

    Blog Before Flight


    Blog Before Flight is an online news and information website related to the aviation and aerospace industries. It offers daily news about new products, future projects, military exercises and operations, airshow info and reportages made in close contact with the international armed forces. Blog Before Flight combines technical concepts with a common language to reach everyone wants to know more about aviation.

    Wojsko i Technika


    This is a professionally edited magazine which focuses on the most important problems of the Polish military, security and defence industry. Much attention is paid on the current political and military situation in the region, new models of armament and military equipment, weaponry exhibitions, current tenders and laid contracts.

    Army Technology


    Army-technology.com brings you up-to-date international news and features on the defence industry, covering military projects, trends, products, services and more in the army sector. With a team of journalists around the world, army-technology.com, along with sister sites naval-technology.com and airforce-technology.com, is the only business service that focuses on the technologies required by military personnel and companies working in this important field. When you combine this with one of the most comprehensive and detailed listings of military equipment suppliers, products and services, free white paper downloads and company press releases, you see why army-technology.com is the key point of reference for the defence industry.

    Homeland Security Research Corporation


    HSRC provides premium off-the-shelf market reports on present and emerging technologies and industry expertise, enabling global clients to gain time-critical insight into business opportunities. All reports include in-depth information and analysis of emerging markets, technologies, and industries broken down by geography, market, vertical, technology, product, and revenue stream. Our reports support Homeland Security & Public Safety communities worldwide in their strategic decision-making process, providing up-to-date market knowledge, analysis, and insights. HSRC offers customized research services geared towards providing our clients with clear, actionable recommendations designed to empower decision-making and to help exploit emerging opportunities in the market. The customized research services provide a deep analysis of specific markets and eco-systems, target geographies, strategic segments and verticals, competitor analysis and technological benchmarks. The custom research services are provided as an ad hoc assignment or as an ongoing service.





    The DEFENCE SUPPLIERS DIRECTORY is an authoritative online information resource for all defence purchasers. This comprehensive listing of Defence Suppliers has enabled thousands of purchasing professionals to find exactly what they are looking for - in seconds. THE DEFENCE SUPPLIERS DIRECTORY provides a total overview of all the UK's Armed Forces - with a wealth of valuable information about the organisation and structure of the UK's Defence Services, as well as useful facts about developments in the UK Defence Industry Contact us: defenceenquiries@armedforces.co.uk Tel: 01743 241962 website: www.armedforces.co.uk

    Asian Military Review


    Asian Military Review is ABC audited publication, read & discussed by key decision makers & advisors to Asia Pacific militaries. Published since 1993 it’s widely recognised as authoritative provider of unbiased & objective information to Asian military. Editorial content comprises capability analysis, special reports & relevant news coverage from the region. AMR provides information, opinion & facts allowing military professionals to track & understand defence developments worldwide, concerning equipment, training, organisation & doctrine issues. The magazine is a proven source keeping military professionals up to date on national & international defence & security issues.

    Military Systems and Technology


    Military Systems & Technology is a comprehensive web portal, design agency and publication designed for the International Defence & Aerospace Industry. It is a source of daily information for Manufacturers, OEM’S, System Integrators and Contractors. We even have Government & Military Readers. The portal encompasses all aspects of Military equipment, technology, design and services. www.militarysystems-tech.com info@militarysystems-tech.com +44 (0)1392 881545



    SecurityClearedJobs.com is an on-line job board designed and marketed to attract candidates who work within Defence, Government and Nuclear sectors. We advertise 1000’s of job opportunities both on a Permanent and Contract basis covering opportunities within all industry sectors. Visit our site www.SecurityClearedJobs.com to search for your next job opportunity.

    21st Century Asian Arms Race


    21st Century Asian Arms Race (21AAR) is an online resource for conflict and security related information specific to Eurasia. 21AAR's editorial style and open source approach to gathering public intelligence ensures a unique and independent presentation of events in real-time.


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    Vienna House Andel’s Prague

    Czech Republic

    Vienna House Andel’s Prague



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    CPD stands for Continuing Professional Development’. It is essentially a philosophy, which maintains that in order to be effective, learning should be organised and structured. The most common definition is:

    ‘A commitment to structured skills and knowledge enhancement for Personal or Professional competence’

    CPD is a common requirement of individual membership with professional bodies and Institutes. Increasingly, employers also expect their staff to undertake regular CPD activities.

    Undertaken over a period of time, CPD ensures that educational qualifications do not become obsolete, and allows for best practice and professional standards to be upheld.

    CPD can be undertaken through a variety of learning activities including instructor led training courses, seminars and conferences, e:learning modules or structured reading.


    There are approximately 470 institutes in the UK across all industry sectors, with a collective membership of circa 4 million professionals, and they all expect their members to undertake CPD.

    For some institutes undertaking CPD is mandatory e.g. accountancy and law, and linked to a licence to practice, for others it’s obligatory. By ensuring that their members undertake CPD, the professional bodies seek to ensure that professional standards, legislative awareness and ethical practices are maintained.

    CPD Schemes often run over the period of a year and the institutes generally provide online tools for their members to record and reflect on their CPD activities.


    Professional bodies and Institutes CPD schemes are either structured as ‘Input’ or ‘Output’ based.

    ‘Input’ based schemes list a precise number of CPD hours that individuals must achieve within a given time period. These schemes can also use different ‘currencies’ such as points, merits, units or credits, where an individual must accumulate the number required. These currencies are usually based on time i.e. 1 CPD point = 1 hour of learning.

    ‘Output’ based schemes are learner centred. They require individuals to set learning goals that align to professional competencies, or personal development objectives. These schemes also list different ways to achieve the learning goals e.g. training courses, seminars or e:learning, which enables an individual to complete their CPD through their preferred mode of learning.

    The majority of Input and Output based schemes actively encourage individuals to seek appropriate CPD activities independently.

    As a formal provider of CPD certified activities, SAE Media Group can provide an indication of the learning benefit gained and the typical completion. However, it is ultimately the responsibility of the delegate to evaluate their learning, and record it correctly in line with their professional body’s or employers requirements.


    Increasingly, international and emerging markets are ‘professionalising’ their workforces and looking to the UK to benchmark educational standards. The undertaking of CPD is now increasingly expected of any individual employed within today’s global marketplace.

    CPD Certificates

    We can provide a certificate for all our accredited events. To request a CPD certificate for a conference , workshop, master classes you have attended please email events@saemediagroup.com

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