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May 10 2021

Transition of Presidency for the Multinational Special Aviation Programme Executive Board

MONS, Belgium – The first President of the Multinational Executive Board for the Multinational Special Aviation Programme Training Centre handed over Chairman responsibilities on Wednesday, May 5, 2021, at the Lieutenant Colonel Mirko Vukusic Barracks, Zemunik Donji, Croatia.

Croatian Colonel Dean Kranjčec transferred his responsibilities to Bulgarian Colonel Peyo Donchev, which he will assume for the next two years. The hand over occurred during the Multinational Executive Board (MEB) meeting where Colonel Kranjčec welcomed participants for the first time in person after a year of video teleconferencing held due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Colonel Donchev, on behalf of the Bulgarian Armed Forces and Bulgarian Air Force, expressed gratitude to the Multinational Special Aviation Programme (MSAP) community for the trust that was given to him as a new MSAP MEB President. Colonel Donchev emphasized he is determined in achieving the four nations' common goal by following the core values of the MSAP Training Centre: to keep MSAP multinational rather than national; to cooperate rather than to compete; to be open and to share knowledge, experience and lessons learned amongst the community. Most importantly, ensuring the programme is driven by the same procedures and standards increasing interoperability across the Alliance.

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Members of the Multinational Executive Board for the Multinational Special Aviation Programme Training Centre - Photo by NSHQ

During the meeting, among other topics the attendees focused on the upcoming first Special Operations Air Task Unit (SOATU) flight training provided by experienced Polish instructors in September 2021. The first SOATU flight training managed by MSAP Training Centre will support Croatian helicopter air crews designated for SOATU. From 2022, the plan is that other MSAP countries start with SOATU flight training as well.

Additionally, the Annual Reports for 2019 and 2020 were discussed followed by ongoing and future training activities.

The MEB representatives of Bulgaria, Croatia, Hungary, and Slovenia will rotate the MSAP MEB President every second year in an alphabetical order. As the Host Nation, Croatia assumed the honoured role first.

The Multinational Special Aviation Programme is supported by the NATO Special Operations Headquarters, NATO International Staff, SOCEUR and benefits from informal ties with the Special Operations aviation communities of selected Allies. This cooperation of Special Operations Forces is unique in NATO. By applying NATO standards, it will increase interoperability amongst the participants, throughout the Alliance and with NATO partners. As such, additional Allies and partner nations may decide to join MSAP in the future, which could lead to a further expansion of the centre's scope.

Story by NATO Special Operations Headquarters

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