PICTURED: EU army military exercise as operation Black Blade launched in Belgium

Belgian army Special Forces are seen during the Black Blade military exercise (Reuters)


HELICOPTERS and dozens of special ops troops have taken part in operation Black Blade, a military exercise organised by the European Defence Agency.

Belgian army special forces were pictured abseiling from a chopper at Florennes airbase near the border with France.

Several other European Union countries were also taking part in the drills, which came on the same day that Brussels unveiled its biggest defence funding and research plan in more than a decade.

EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini was at the airbase to observe the exercise involving NH90 helicopters.

The European Commission has proposed a 5 billion euro (£4.2 billion) fund to let governments club together to buy new helicopters and planes at lower costs.

Another plan to let the EU’s common budget and its development bank invest in military research would open the door to new drones, cyber warfare systems and other hi-tech gear, EU officials said.

During the US election campaign, Donald Trump questioned whether America should protect allies seen as spending too little on their defence, raising fears that he could weaken support for NATO at a time of heightened tensions with Russia.

Full article: PICTURED: EU army military exercise as operation Black Blade launched in Belgium (Express)

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