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Announcement: We have now made this conference a virtual event. All speakers, attendees and sponsors will be able to access the full conference and its materials and will be able to log on remotely via the internet. Please contact a member of the SMi Team for more information customerservices@smi-online.co.uk

SMi’ Group’s Helicopter Technology Central and Eastern Europe 2021 conference is returning for its sixth successful year on the 19th - 20th May 2021 as a Virtual Event. 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. Please note all agenda times are in Central European Time.

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.

Helicopter Technology Central and Eastern Europe 2021 Highlights:

  • Keynote briefings from senior officers from Central and Eastern Europe
  • A unique focus on multipurpose helicopter technology and joint force interoperability
  • Briefings on: Rotary Procurement, Platform Upgrades and Modernisation, Interoperability, and National Defence Priorities and Capabilities
  • High level panel discussions featuring technical managers and project engineers from military as well as industry
  • Focused discussion groups tackling key challenges facing helicopter programme managers in the region
  • Informal networking time so you can gather insight from peers and colleagues also shaping and influencing regional helicopter programmes today


1. Network virtually: Create a profile and connect with other attendees, speakers, sponsors and media partners.
2. Watch live briefings: Get online access to the latest strategies and case studies from your market.
3. View on-demand: Re-watch presentations or catch-up on those you missed, up to 6 months after the event has taken place.
4. Learn in safety: Stay informed on the market and broaden learning opportunities from the comfort of your own home, without the added costs of travel or overnight stays.

Military Helicopter Programme Managers and Leaders
Helicopter Manufacturers
Helicopter Engine Manufacturers
Integrated Mission Systems
Sensor Technology Providers
Weapons System Experts
Protective Systems Engineers

Airbus; AOBP; Aselsan As; Association Of The Defence Industry Of The Czech Republic; Astronautics; Austrian Air Force; Axnes Aviation ; Bell Helicopter; Bell Helicopter Textron; Boeing Defense, Space and Security ; Croatian Air Force; Czech Air Force; Czech Armed Forces; DEFENCE ATTACHE OFFICE; Defense Express; Embassy of Ukraine; European Defence Agency; FlightSafety International; Heli-one Norway As; Jeppesen Gmb H; Joint Helicopter Command; Keystone Turbine Services; Lockheed Martin; M International Inc.; Ministry of Defence Czech Republic; NAHEMA (NATO Helicopter Management Agency); Omnipol Ltd; Pall GmbH; Pall Internation SARL; Pall Italia srl; Pinnacle Solutions Inc; Polish Armed Forces; Royal Danish Air Force; Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation; Slovenian Ministry of Defence ; Summit Aviation Inc.; Swedish Air Force; TenCate Advanced Armour; The Boeing Company; The Shephard Group; Trakka; UK MOD; unical Defense Inc; Unical Defense Inc.; University of Defence;

Conference programme

All timings are in Central European Summer Time (BST+1)

9:00 Chairman's Opening Remarks

Colonel Tamás Bali

Colonel Tamás Bali, Deputy Base Commander, HDF 86th Szolnok Helicopter Base, Hungarian Air Force
View Bio

9:15 Transforming the Hungarian Air Force Helicopter Capabilities

Brigadier General József Koller

Brigadier General József Koller, Base Commander, HDF 86th Szolnok Helicopter Base, Hungarian Air Force

 • Modernising HDF Helicopter capabilities under the Zrínyi 2026 defence development program
• Update on the HDF procurement of the Airbus H145M and H225M platforms
• Overview of the future goals of the Hungarian Defence Forces helicopter capabilities and the actions taken to achieve these

9:45 The Importance of Modern and Capable Rotary Wing Platforms in Supporting the Achievement of Mission Objectives

• The role of the 1st Aviation Brigade in providing support to the Polish Armed Forces
• Evaluating the integration of 4 new AW101 multi-role helicopters and 4 new S-70i Black Hawk helicopters into the Polish fleet in 2019
• Underlining plans to modernize and renew Polish rotary combat capabilities in the near future – addressing and realizing potential platforms

Colonel Piotr Kowalski

Colonel Piotr Kowalski, Commander of the 49th Aviation Base, 1st Army Aviation Brigade, Polish Armed Forces
View Bio

10:15 The Role of the Multinational Aviation Training Centre (MATC) in Enhancing Interoperability Across the V4 Nations

Colonel Karel Valvoda

Colonel Karel Valvoda, Director Multinational Aviation Training Centre (MATC), Czech Air Force

• Providing a broad spectrum of training for aircrews and maintenance specialists by optimizing the use of existing capacities and capabilities offered by V4 participants
• Harmonising and standardising aviation training and education whilst enhancing the quality levels of pilots
• Improving the capabilities of participating forces and fostering interoperability between them
• Facilitating the establishment of multinational task forces and their joint deployment to areas of operations led by NATO, the EU or the UN

10:45 Morning Coffee

11:15 The Italian Air Force HH-139 Multirole Helicopter

Colonel Gianluca Spina

Colonel Gianluca Spina, Head, Rotary Wing Section, Second Office – Logistics Department, Italian Air Force (invited by Leonardo)
View Bio

  • Benefits of selecting the AW139M platform
  • Overview of the helicopter configurations and new mission capabilities
  • A true multirole platform
  • 11:45 Multipurpose Attack Helicopters

    Senior Representative

    Senior Representative, , Airbus Helicopters
    View Bio

  • H145M equipped with HForce is a true multipurpose helicopter
  • It performs as a Light Attack (LAH), a Light Utility (LUH) , a Service Public and Advance Training helicopter
  • Best helicopter in its class for performance and agility
  • Affordable and best operating cost-efficiency ratio
  • 12:15 Updating Latvian Legacy Helicopters to Ensure Mission Effectiveness

    Colonel Viesturs Masulis

    Colonel Viesturs Masulis, Commander, Latvian Air Force

    • Updates on the procurement of four UH-60M Black Hawk helicopters
    • Predicted challenges of integrating new platforms into existing infrastructure
    • The importance of effective rotary wing capabilities for military and civilian duties, in particular search and rescue

    12:45 Networking Lunch

    13:45 Black Hawk of Today and Tomorrow: Mission, Modernization & Growth of the World’s Most Combat Proven Helicopter

    Mr Eric Scheiber

    Mr Eric Scheiber, Director of International Military and Commercial Sales, Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation
    View Bio

  • Black Hawk helicopter is a combat-proven, multi-mission, modern platform
  • With 4000+ in service, in 34 countries, 15+ million flight hours, 3+ million combat flight hours
  • Now on 3rd Generation, the Black Hawk will be sustained by the US Army for the next 50 years
  • Flexibility for FMS or DCS purchase, as well as production and support from PZL Mielec in Poland
  • 14:15 Update on the HDF’s H145M Fleet and the Challenges Experienced with the Fleet Change

    Lieutenant Colonel Simon Zsolt

    Lieutenant Colonel Simon Zsolt, H145M Squadron Commander, 86th Szolnok Helicopter Base, Hungarian Defence Forces
    View Bio

  • Overview of the H145M Fleet and capabilities
  • What are the main challenges of transitioning from one rotary fleet platform to another?
  • How have the HDF overcome these challenges?
  • 14:45 Afternoon Tea

    15:15 Industry Panel: How Industry is Delivering Rotary Superiority for Central and Eastern European Nations

  • Delivering cost-effective rotary wing platforms 
  • How innovation and technology are driving successful military helicopter operations 
  • Future plans and priorities for industry
  • What part will Unmanned Air Systems play in the future?
  • Colonel Tamás Bali

    Colonel Tamás Bali, Deputy Base Commander, HDF 86th Szolnok Helicopter Base, Hungarian Air Force
    View Bio

    Mr Louis Wilson-Chalon

    Mr Louis Wilson-Chalon, Product Marketing Manager, Leonardo

    Mr M. Brant Stephenson

    Mr M. Brant Stephenson, Global Military Sales and Strategy Manager, Bell

    Mr Hector Gonzalez

    Mr Hector Gonzalez, International Lead for Army and Air Force Systems, Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation

    15:45 Developing Next Generation Rotary Capabilities

    Mr Pat Collins

    Mr Pat Collins , Technology Team Leader, Helicopters Operating Centre , DE&S, UK MOD
    View Bio

    • Update on NATO Next Generation Rotary Capability (NGRC)
    • Evaluating future rotorcraft requirements to achieve operational requirements
    • Outlining technology drivers and plans for the future

    16:15 Chairman’s Closing Remarks and Close of Day One

    Colonel Tamás Bali

    Colonel Tamás Bali, Deputy Base Commander, HDF 86th Szolnok Helicopter Base, Hungarian Air Force
    View Bio

    9:00 Chairman's Opening Remarks

    Colonel Tamás Bali

    Colonel Tamás Bali, Deputy Base Commander, HDF 86th Szolnok Helicopter Base, Hungarian Air Force
    View Bio

    9:15 Efforts to Modernise the Croatian Air Force’s Rotary Capabilities

    Brigadier General Michael Križanec

    Brigadier General Michael Križanec, Commander, Croatian Air Force

    • Discussing the present Rotary wing capabilities of the Croatian Air Force
    • Appraising the importance of working with partners and allies in modernization efforts
    • Providing an update on future plans and priorities for creating modern and effective Rotary Wing capabilities

    9:45 Planned Upgrades to Romanian Helicopter Capabilities in the Areas of Reconnaissance, Navigation and Armament

    Air Flotilla General Valerica Vrajescu

    Air Flotilla General Valerica Vrajescu, Deputy Commander, Joint Forces Command, Romanian Air Force
    View Bio

    • Appraising the Optical Electronic Reconnaissance and Anti-Armour System (SOCAT)
    • Upgrading navigation systems across Romanian Platforms to include integrated GPS and inertial navigation
    • Developing Armament sub-systems for the modern Romanian helicopter
    • Enhancing situational awareness through modern cockpit displays and capabilities to improve mission effectiveness

    10:15 Interoperability and Standardisation in European Military Helicopter Training

    Mr José Pablo Romera Martín

    Mr José Pablo Romera Martín, EDA Project Officer Rotary Wing, European Defence Agency (EDA)

    • EDA helicopter portfolio and training activities
    • Pooling and Sharing of multinational capabilities
    • The future Multinational Helicopter Training Centre

    10:45 Morning Coffee

    11:15 Enhancing Albanian Rotary Wing Capabilities Through Collaboration with NATO Allies

    Colonel Ylli Pulaj

    Colonel Ylli Pulaj, Deputy Commander (Acting Commander), Albanian Air Force

  • The importance of the alliance for Albanian security
  • The challenges of upgrading ageing Soviet rotary wing platforms
  • Integrating the incoming UH-60 Blackhawk helicopters into the Albanian Air Force
  • Future overhaul and procurement plans to enhance the rotary capabilities of the Albanian Air Force
  • 11:45 Transformation of The Netherlands Helicopter Force to Accomplish Strategic Goals in an Increasingly Challenging Environment

    Colonel Peter Arts

    Colonel Peter Arts, Chief Helicopter Branch, Royal Netherlands Air Force (RNLAF)

    • Overcoming the challenges of operating in an increasingly complex and challenging environment
    • Utilising a 5th Generation Air Force to successfully fight and win within this new reality, by ensuring effective deployment of Apache, Chinook, Cougar and NH-90 helicopters
    • Transforming into an information-driven, agile, operational and tactical Air Force

    12:15 Networking Lunch

    13:15 Innovation in Vertical Flight - Future Battlespace

    Mr Steve Mathias

    Mr Steve Mathias, Vice President, Global Military Sales and Strategy, Bell
    View Bio

  • Bell’s 85 Year History of Innovating Vertical Flight Solutions
  • Bell’s Current Array of militarized and para-public platforms dominate modern operating environments
  • Bell is leading into the future with the V-280 Valor, Bell 360 Invictus, M-247
  • We’re visionaries, we’re innovators, we’re developing new technologies and rediscovering flight every day
  • 13:45 Creating a Family of Survivable and Interoperable Rotorcraft to Provide Greater Reach, Lethality and Protection

    • Future Vertical Lift (FVL) as a modernization priority for Army Futures Command
    • Increasing Reach and Standoff to maintain vertical lift dominance
    • Analysing potential FVL projects, including the Future Long-Range Assault Aircraft (FLRAA) and integrated Rotary Wing-UAS platforms

    Colonel Matthew L. Isaacson

    Colonel Matthew L. Isaacson, Operations Officer, Future Vertical Lift Cross Functional Team (FVL CFT), United States Army
    View Bio

    14:15 Enhancing US Rotary Wing Capabilities through the US Army Aviation Centre of Excellence

    Colonel Joshua P. Higgins

    Colonel Joshua P. Higgins, Director, Aviation Capability Development and Integration Directorate, US Army Futures Command
    View Bio

    • The role of the US Army Aviation Centre of Excellence in training, educating, and developing agile and adaptive Army Aviation leaders
    • Integrating aviation capabilities and requirements across the warfighting functions to guarantee victory
    • Future plans and developments for the US ACE in the field of rotary wing capabilities

    14:45 Afternoon Tea

    15:15 Enhancing Helicopter Capacities in the German Armed Forces

    Mr Joachim Sucker

    Mr Joachim Sucker, Chief of Division, Equipment/In-Service Support Air, German Federal Ministry of Defence

    • Transition of the German helicopter fleet - from Quantity to Quality
    • How each rotary asset enables the Bundeswehr to operate as an efficient fighting force: LUH SOF, NH90, AH TIGER
    • Increasing Mission Readiness - Improving Availability by Performance Based Contracts

    15:45 Chairman’s Closing Remarks and Close of Day Two

    Colonel Tamás Bali

    Colonel Tamás Bali, Deputy Base Commander, HDF 86th Szolnok Helicopter Base, Hungarian Air Force
    View Bio



    Air Flotilla General Valerica Vrajescu

    Air Flotilla General Valerica Vrajescu

    Deputy Commander, Joint Forces Command, Romanian Air Force
    Brigadier General József Koller

    Brigadier General József Koller

    Base Commander, HDF 86th Szolnok Helicopter Base, Hungarian Air Force
    Brigadier General Michael Križanec

    Brigadier General Michael Križanec

    Commander, Croatian Air Force
    Colonel Ylli Pulaj

    Colonel Ylli Pulaj

    Deputy Commander (Acting Commander), Albanian Air Force
    Mr Joachim Sucker

    Mr Joachim Sucker

    Chief of Division, Equipment/In-Service Support Air, German Federal Ministry of Defence

    Air Flotilla General Valerica Vrajescu

    Deputy Commander, Joint Forces Command, Romanian Air Force
    Air Flotilla General Valerica Vrajescu

    Air Flotilla General Valerica Vrajescu is currently appointed as the Deputy Commander of the Romanian Joint Forces Command.
    He became an Air Force pilot in 1989, and in 2002 he graduated the High Military Studies Academy – the Interarms Faculty, in Bucharest, with a degree in Aviation and Air Defense.
    Between 2005 and 2006 he was the commander of the Romanian helicopter detachment, during the ALTHEA mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
    In 2008 he specialized in the Air Forces Command, at the National Defense University and further studied¬¬¬¬¬¬¬ transformational leadership in coalition settings, at the Air War College, in the USA.
    In 2015, he completed his PhD in Military Science and Information, emphasizing the importance of a quick response air force capability, given the array of present and future types of conflict.

    Brigadier General József Koller

    Base Commander, HDF 86th Szolnok Helicopter Base, Hungarian Air Force
    Brigadier General József Koller

    Brigadier General Michael Križanec

    Commander, Croatian Air Force
    Brigadier General Michael Križanec

    Colonel Gianluca Spina

    Head, Rotary Wing Section, Second Office – Logistics Department, Italian Air Force (invited by Leonardo)
    Colonel Gianluca Spina

    Col Spina is an Instructor Pilot with more than 4000 flying hours, including 90 combat hours. He flew several helicopters (TH500, HH-3F, AW139) and airplanes (SF260, T-37, T38 and Falcon 900), He is also qualified as a production test pilot. He spent half of his operational career as a Combat SAR Pilot. He was deployed on 2005 in Iraq and on 2013 in Afghanistan. Col Spina was assigned to Air Staff 4Th Department on 2019 as a chief of Rotary Wing Section Military Education 1996-2001 Air Force Academy - Naples 2001-2002 ENJJPT – Sheppard AFB (USA) 2009 Air War College – Florence 2018 Defence War College – Rome.

    Colonel Joshua P. Higgins

    Director, Aviation Capability Development and Integration Directorate, US Army Futures Command
    Colonel Joshua P. Higgins

    COL Joshua P. Higgins is a native of Johnstown, Pennsylvania and was
    commissioned a second lieutenant in Aviation Branch in June 1995.
    COL Higgins’ previous assignments include duty as a Platoon Leader for Bravo Company, 2nd
    Battalion, 10th Aviation Regiment; Executive Officer for Headquarters and Headquarters Company,
    10th Combat Aviation Brigade; Rear Detachment Commander for Headquarters and Headquarters
    Company, 10th Combat Aviation Brigade; Assistant Operations Officer for 17th Aviation Brigade,
    Republic of Korea; Assistant Operations Officer for 10th Combat Aviation Brigade; Commander of
    Bravo Company, 2nd Battalion, 10th Aviation Regiment during OEF 4; Commander of Headquarters
    and Headquarters Company, 10th Combat Aviation Brigade; Aviation Branch Captains Assignment
    Officer, US Army Human Resources Command; Executive Officer and Operations Officer for 2nd
    Battalion, 25th Aviation Regiment during OIF 09-11; Executive Officer for 25th Combat Aviation
    Brigade during OEF 12-13; Commander of 2-25th Aviation Regiment; Chief, Commanders Initiative
    Group, United States Army Aviation Center of Excellence. Chief, Operations and Integration Division,
    Army Aviation, HQDA G-3/5/7 (DAMO-AV), and 29th Commandant of the United States Military
    Academy Preparatory School at West Point, NY. Currently, COL Higgins is the Director of Aviation
    Capability Development and Integration Directorate for the Army Futures Command, Futures and
    Concepts Center at Fort Rucker, Alabama.
    COL Higgins holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Engineering Management from the United States
    Military Academy at West Point, a Master of Science in Continuing and Adult Education from Kansas
    State University, and a Master of Science in National Security Strategy from the National War College.
    He is a graduate of the Aviation Officer Basic Course, the Initial Entry Rotary Wing Course, the
    Aviation Officer Advanced Course, the United States Army Command and General Staff College, and
    the National War College.
    His military awards and decorations include the Legion of Merit, Bronze Star Medal with two Oak
    Leaf Clusters, the Meritorious Service Medal with three oak leaf cluster, the Air Medal, Army
    Commendation Medal with oak leaf cluster, the Army Achievement Medal with oak leaf cluster,
    Afghanistan Campaign Medal, Iraq Campaign Medal, Global War on Terror Expeditionary and Service
    Medals, Korea Defense Service Medal, and NATO Medal. He has been awarded the Master Army
    Aviator Badge and Combat Action Badge.
    COL Higgins is married to the former Allison Cummins. Their daughter, Olivia, attends graduate
    school at American University, and their son, Jack, attends Berklee College of Music.

    Colonel Karel Valvoda

    Director Multinational Aviation Training Centre (MATC), Czech Air Force
    Colonel Karel Valvoda

    Colonel Matthew L. Isaacson

    Operations Officer, Future Vertical Lift Cross Functional Team (FVL CFT), United States Army
    Colonel Matthew L. Isaacson

    COL Isaacson attended the United States Military Academy (USMA) at West Point. Upon completion of USMA in 1996, Matt Isaacson earned a BS degree in Mathematical Sciences and began his career as an Army Aviation officer. He initially served as an AH-64 Apache pilot, serving both at Weonju, South Korea and Fort Campbell, KY in multiple leadership roles including support platoon leader, flight platoon leader, and aviation maintenance company commander. As a pilot, he also served as an AH-64 mission pilot, unit trainer, and maintenance test pilot.
    In 2003, he was accepted into the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment (Airborne). He served within the 160th SOAR (Abn) from 2003 to 2010 in a variety of roles including company executive officer, aviation maintenance company commander (of two companies), and Regimental Aviation Maintenance Officer. He served both at Fort Campbell, KY and Joint Base Lewis/McChord, WA while assigned to the 160th SOAR (Abn). As a pilot, he also served as an A/MH-6 "Little Bird" and MH-47 "Chinook" pilot and maintenance test pilot.
    In 2010, he attended the U.S. Air Force Air Command & Staff College (ACSC) at Maxwell Air Force Base, AL, earning a MS degree in Military Art & Science. Upon completion of ACSC, he was assigned to the U.S. Army Special Operations Aviation Command at Fort Bragg, NC to serve as the Command’s Aviation Maintenance Officer.
    From 2015 to 2017, COL Isaacson served as the 209th Aviation Support Battalion (ASB) Commander at Wheeler Army Airfield Hawaii. While in Hawaii, he flew the CH-47F “Chinook.” The 209th ASB supported the 25th Combat Aviation Brigade, consisting of an Armed Reconnaissance Squadron of AH-64D Apaches, an Assault Helicopter Battalion of UH-60M Black Hawks, and a General Support Aviation Battalion of HH-60M Medevac, UH-60L VIP support, and CH-47F Chinooks.
    COL Isaacson has been stationed at Redstone Arsenal, AL since the summer of 2017. COL Isaacson served as the Chief of Staff for the AMCOM Logistics Center (ALC) for one year before moving to the Future Vertical Lift CFT in May of 2018 as the G3.
    COL Isaacson deployed twelve times totaling over two years deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan in support of Operations IRAQI FREEDOM and Operation ENDURING FREEDOM. COL Isaacson’s awards and decorations include the MSM (4OLC), Bronze Star Medal (2OLC), Air Medal (Numeral 2), Army Commendation Medal, Army Achievement Medal (1OLC), Afghanistan Campaign Medal (1 campaign star), Iraqi Campaign Medal (3 campaign stars), the Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, the Korean Defense Service Medal, and the following badges: Master Aviator, Airborne, and Air Assault.

    Colonel Peter Arts

    Chief Helicopter Branch, Royal Netherlands Air Force (RNLAF)
    Colonel Peter Arts

    Colonel Piotr Kowalski

    Commander of the 49th Aviation Base, 1st Army Aviation Brigade, Polish Armed Forces
    Colonel Piotr Kowalski

    Joined POL AF in 1993. Fully qualified as Mi-2 „Hoplite” PIC and IP and W-3PL „Capercaille” PIC. 2000+ flight hours.

    2020 Air War College Maxwell AFB, USA – Strategic Studies
    2015 National Defence Academy – Warsaw, Advanced Operational – Strategic Course
    2011 National Defence Academy – Warsaw, Battalion CDR Qualification Course
    2007 National Defence Academy – Warsaw, Aviation Management, postgraduate studies
    2004 US AAVN COE Ft. Rucker, USA, Aviation Captain Career Course
    2002 US AAVN COE Ft. Rucker, USA, Aviation Officer Basic / Aviation Officer Safety Course
    2001 University of Gdansk, Master Degree – Political science
    1997 Air Force Academy – Deblin, Engineer Degree

    Military Service Record:
    1993 – 1997 Air Force Academy – student
    1997 – 2000 Senior Pilot, 49th Attack Helicopter Regiment – Pruszcz Gdanski
    2000 – 2007 Section Leader, 49th Attack Helicopter Regiment – Pruszcz Gdanski
    2005 – 2006 Chief Aviation LNO Section, PMC Iraq
    2007 – 2007 Squadron Navigator, 49th Attack Helicopter Regiment – Pruszcz Gdanski
    2007 – 2011 Specialist Instructor – Pilot, POL Land Forces Command – Warszawa
    2011 – 2017 Squadron Commander, 56th Aviation Base – Inowroclaw
    2017 – 2019 Rotary Wing Aviation Branch Chief, POL General Command – Warsaw
    2019 – 2021 TDW Ministy of National Defence
    2021 – 49th Aviation Base Commander

    1997 2nd Lieutenant
    2000 1st Lieutenant
    2003 Captain
    2007 Major
    2011 Lieutenant Colonel
    2017 Colonel

    Decorations, medals & awards:
    2004 Bronze Armed Forces Medal
    2005 Bronze Medal of Merit
    2009 Iraq Campaign Medal
    2010 Silver Medal of Merit
    2011 Bronze Service Medal
    2012 Silver Armed Forces Medal
    2013 Merited Soldier Badge 2nd Grade
    2015 Gold Medal of Merit
    2015 Air Force Honour Badge

    Colonel Tamás Bali

    Deputy Base Commander, HDF 86th Szolnok Helicopter Base, Hungarian Air Force
    Colonel Tamás Bali

    Colonel Tamás Bali PhD started his military carrier as a helicopter co-pilot after completing the Hungarian Air Force Officers` Training College level education in 1996. From 2001, he was promoted to be Pilot in-command on Mi–8 transport helicopter. A half a year later, he became a staff officer and worked as an A7 officer. From 2003 he was promoted to be the commander of Air training and Operations detachment at Hungarian Defense Force’s 86th Szolnok Helicopter Wing. In this year he became instructor pilot on Mi–8 helicopter.
    He continued his military carrier from 2007 at Hungarian Joint Force Command’s Flight Training Department as a J7 officer, then became this Department’s deputy commander in 2011. Following this, he was assigned to work at the Hungarian Ministry of Defense as a J3 Staff officer on helicopter issues. Returning back to Szolnok Helicopter Base, he was promoted to be a deputy base commander. Recently (apart from a lot others), he deals with future pilot preselection program and helicopter pilot operational training.
    Meanwhile, from 2005-2007, he completed his MSc studies at Zrínyi Miklós National Defense Institute, Air Force branch, as a Military Leader and a PhD study from 2010-2017 at National University of Public Service, Faculty of Military Sciences and Officer Training, Defense Graduate School. He completed the General Staff Course in 2015, in Budapest.

    Colonel Viesturs Masulis

    Commander, Latvian Air Force
    Colonel Viesturs Masulis

    Colonel Ylli Pulaj

    Deputy Commander (Acting Commander), Albanian Air Force
    Colonel Ylli Pulaj

    Lieutenant Colonel (Ret.) Philippe Kohn

    Operational Marketing Manager, Airbus Helicopters
    Lieutenant Colonel (Ret.) Philippe Kohn

    Lieutenant Colonel Simon Zsolt

    H145M Squadron Commander, 86th Szolnok Helicopter Base, Hungarian Defence Forces
    Lieutenant 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  H145M Helicopter Squadron at the 86th Szolnok Helicopter Base where he continues to serve.  He has more than 2000 flight hours on helicopters
    and 300 hours on fixed winged aircraft.

    Mr Eric Scheiber

    Director of International Military and Commercial Sales, Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation
    Mr Eric Scheiber

    Eric Schreiber is the Director of International Military and Commercial Sales for the Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation, a Lockheed Martin Company. He joined Sikorsky in 2013 and spent the next three years as an expat residing in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. He then assumed leadership of both Europe and the Middle East for Sikorsky where he developed a comprehensive win strategy for Eastern Europe. Over the past six years, he has led sales campaigns resulting in well over $3B of new aircraft to both military and commercial customers throughout Europe, Middle East and North Africa.

    Prior to joining Sikorsky, he held various leadership positions in general management, international sales, customer service, and operations at Kidde Fire Systems, part of United Technologies Corporation. Early in his career, Eric served for ten years as a carrier based jet pilot with the U.S. Navy deploying in support of Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan.

    Eric holds a bachelor's degree in Psychology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and an M.B.A. from the Darden School of Business at the University of Virginia. He lives in southern Connecticut with his wife and three boys.

    Mr Hector Gonzalez

    International Lead for Army and Air Force Systems, Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation
    Mr Hector Gonzalez

    Mr Joachim Sucker

    Chief of Division, Equipment/In-Service Support Air, German Federal Ministry of Defence
    Mr Joachim Sucker

    Mr José Pablo Romera Martín

    EDA Project Officer Rotary Wing, European Defence Agency (EDA)
    Mr José Pablo Romera Martín

    Mr Louis Wilson-Chalon

    Product Marketing Manager, Leonardo
    Mr Louis Wilson-Chalon

    Mr M. Brant Stephenson

    Global Military Sales and Strategy Manager, Bell
    Mr M. Brant Stephenson

    Mr Pat Collins

    Technology Team Leader, Helicopters Operating Centre , DE&S, UK MOD
    Mr Pat Collins

    Following graduation in Aeronautical Engineering and Design Pat worked in the helicopter industry specialising in technologies to increase helicopter combat survivability, initially with Westland Helicopters in Yeovil followed by four years at Atlas Aviation in Johannesburg. This was followed by four years in the motorsport industry before joining the UK MOD at Farnborough in 1994.

    Pat continued to work in Defence Research for the next 17 years before, in 2011, joining the Helicopters Operating Centre providing Science & Technology advice to the 2* director. He was recognised as a DE&S Senior Fellow in 2019 and recently was elected Vice Chair of NATO’s Joint Capability Group Vertical Lift.

    Mr Steve Mathias

    Vice President, Global Military Sales and Strategy, Bell
    Mr Steve Mathias

    Steve Mathias is Vice President, Global Military Sales and Strategy at Bell. In this role, he leads Bell’s military sales, business development and strategy for current military products to the United States Government and all commercial and military products to the global military market, including the aftermarket services that support these products.
    In his previous role, Steve was Director, Global Military Business Development Advanced Tiltrotor Systems. In this capacity, Steve was responsible for developing and executing Bell Helicopter’s strategy to bring the next generation of advanced vertical lift aircraft to military, international and commercial customers. He joined Bell in July 2014.
    Steve is originally from Russell, Iowa. He graduated from Truman State University with a bachelor's degree in Business Administration. His military experience includes a Special Operations and Conventional Forces background in aviation operations, capabilities development, strategic planning, budget development, force development and training. Steve served in multiple overseas assignments and combat tours to include Korea, Germany, Saudi Arabia, Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as several other European and Southwest Asia locations. He is rated in the AH-64A/D, serving as an attack helicopter squadron commander, the OH-58D Kiowa Warrior, the UH-1H and the OH-58 A/C. Prior to joining Bell, Steve was the Deputy Chief of Staff, United States Army Special Operations Command, G8.
    Steve earned master’s degrees in Human Resource Development from Webster University and Strategic Studies from the United States Army War College.

    Senior Representative

    , Airbus Helicopters
    Senior Representative

    Philippe, José Kohn was born in Tlemcen in 30th, December 1960.
    Married with five children

    Officer in the French Army for 26 years,
    Combat support helicopter pilot in the French Army Aviation (ALAT) for 20 years (Armed Scout).
    Staff officer in multinational environment

    Knowledge of British helicopter world (liaison officer and consultant for commandement de l’aviation légère de l’armée de terre - COMALAT and Directorate Army Aviation - DAAvn).
    Battlefield helicopters employment, implementation and weapon system expert (specialist in air-to-air combat and third dimension coordination).

    Army Air Corps Wings (2005),
    Staff College (1996),
    Air to air flight instructor (1990),
    ALAT Wings (1988),
    Ecole Militaire Interarmes of Saint Cyr Coëtquidan (1985). Officer Cadet Combined School.

    Hired in 2008 as a marketing manager in charge of the promotion of AH range.

    Sponsors and Exhibitors



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    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.

    Speaker interview with Mr Joachim Sucker, German Federal Ministry of Defence


    Speaker interview with Colonel Karel Valvoda, Czech Air Force


    Speaker interview with Brigadier General Michael Križanec, Croatian Air Force


    Helicopter Technology CEE 2021 Brochure


    Short Programme


    Full Programme


    Past Attendees 2018-2019


    Sponsors and Exhibitors


    Sponsors and Exhibitors

    Airbus is a global leader in aeronautics, space and related services. In 2017, it generated revenues of € 67 billion and employed a workforce of around 134,000. Airbus offers the most comprehensive range of passenger airliners from 100 to more than 600 seats. Airbus is also a European leader providing tanker, combat, transport and mission aircraft, as well as Europe’s number one space enterprise and the world’s second largest space business. In helicopters, Airbus provides the most efficient civil and military rotorcraft solutions worldwide.

    Bell Helicopter

    Sponsors and Exhibitors

    Thinking above and beyond is what we do. For more than 80 years, we’ve been reimagining the experience of flight – and where it can take us. We are pioneers. We were the first to break the sound barrier and to certify a commercial helicopter. We were aboard NASA’s first lunar mission and brought advanced tiltrotor systems to market. Today, we’re defining the future of on-demand mobility. Headquartered in Fort Worth, Texas – as a wholly-owned subsidiary of Textron Inc., – we have strategic locations around the globe. And with nearly one quarter of our workforce having served, helping our military achieve their missions is a passion of ours.


    Sponsors and Exhibitors

    Leonardo is a leading manufacturer of multipurpose helicopters ranging from the 1.8 ton single-engine to the 16 ton three-engine. Outstanding mission flexibility to conduct Intelligence Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR), Maritime Interdiction Operations (MIO), Search and Rescue (SAR), Anti Submarine warfare (ASW) and Anti Surface Warfare (ASuW), and the best available mission training and support facilities, sets the Leonardo helicopters a step ahead. Leonardo is a world player in Aerospace, Defence, Security and Space, developing advanced components to fully integrated systems and platforms.

    Sikorsky, a Lockheed Martin company

    Sponsors and Exhibitors

    Sikorsky, a Lockheed Martin company, is a world leader in helicopter design, manufacture and service. Its military and commercial helicopters currently operate in 40 countries.

    Military aircraft in production — Black Hawk® and Seahawk® helicopters (with more than 4,000 built), the CH-53K heavy lift helicopter, and the Polish-built M28 STOL twin turboprop lead their respective class in multi-role mission performance. To support another 50 years of Black Hawk operations worldwide, new capabilities are being added and planned for. Recent additions include a fully integrated weapons system and an upgraded water tank for aerial firefighting.

    Next generation — The Sikorsky Innovations advanced products research organization is flight-testing the X2 Technology™ design. Success can be seen in two U.S. Army developmental aircraft: the S-97 RAIDER® light tactical helicopter; and the medium-lift SB>1 DEFIANT™ helicopter in partnership with Boeing. Both aircraft double the speed and maneuverability of today’s rotorcraft. Sikorsky – pioneering flight solutions that bring people home everywhere, every time, since 1923.

    Media Partners



    Airline-Suppliers.com is the global airline industry's fastest growing meeting place for Airline CEOs, Directors, Food/Beverage Managers, Purchasers, Catering Companies, Flight Kitchens, OEMs, MROs, Ground Handlers, Cargo Carriers, Airside Managers, Contractors, Consultants and System integrators. The portal encompasses all aspects of airline equipment, technology, design and services and allows potential buyers to connect with suppliers the world over. 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 airline related events, organisations and governing bodies in the world.

    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.

    Warfare Today


    Warfare.Today is an online magazine devoted to current military operations and development, technology, defence news and security analysis. We draw on a massive range of sources to deliver holistic reporting across the defence sector, but with a primary bias towards the UK Armed Forces.

    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

    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.



    Epicos is a global, multifaceted portal providing Aerospace and Defense industries around the world with business intelligence and active support to access opportunities on international procurements, industrial cooperation and offsets. Epicos has carried out extensive industry analysis and mapping of capabilities of A&D Industries and offers this knowledge to its members helping them to identify business opportunities and to build strategic alliances. Additionally, Epicos supports the global A&D industry through a wide range of on-line services and products including but not limited to: a large online procurement database, an updated Business Directory, an e-library with extensive information regarding procurement and offsets processes systems and an up to the minute news database.

    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.

    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.

    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.



    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



    Defense Update highlights worldwide defense programs, including; land warfare covering armor and infantry and support elements,aerospace, naval, C4ISR, EW, Cyber Warfare, intelligence and net-centric warfare, unmanned systems and robotics, and homeland defense. Written by experienced defense journalists from different nations, with contribution by analysts specializing in different fields, Defense Update provides comprehensive coverage of specific defense related topics, including Armored Fighting Vehicles (AFV), Future Combat Systems, Aerospace – and unmanned systems as well as robotics and Precision Strike weapons. It also covers in-depth analysis of developing trends in Command, Control, Communications and Computing, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (C4ISR).

    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

    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.


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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, SMI 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@smi-online.co.uk

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