NATO Helicopter Under-Slung Load (USL) Certification

By Air Operations Support Branch, JAPCC


The NATO Helicopter Inter-Service Work Group (HISWG) consist of three panels and is custodian of several helicopter STANAGS. The Helicopter Under- Slung Load (HUSLE) panel is the subject matter expert group that discusses USL standardization within NATO. The HUSLE panel is custodian of STANAG 2445 ‘Criteria for the Clearance of Helicopter Underslung Load Equipment (HUSLE) and Underslung Loads (USL)’. This STANAG defines the minimum criteria for the clearance, rigging and lifting of helicopter underslung loads and permits interoperability. At the present time national agencies produce load clearances with STANAG 2445 as the overarching NATO document but still nations do not accept clearances from other nations. NATO interoperability is severely hampered when nations do not accept other nations helicopter USL.


The aim of this project is to investigate the feasibility of forming a NATO accepted USL certification system using STANAG 2445 as the reference standard.


Producing a NATO USL Clearance system that will:

  • Increase interoperability in helicopter operations during NATO-led operations;
  • Allow nations to accept each other Underslung Loads;
  • Improve USL clearance acceptant;
  • Accept NATO clearances and reduce costs by avoiding a duplication of effort by creating identical national clearances;
  • Minimize the occurrence of flight safety incidents;
  • Improve NATO commanders´ ability to integrate available aviation capabilities;
  • Allow combined joint aviation forces to conduct operations together rather than being separating long national lines.


The study will provide guidance to the HISWG and HUSLE panel as well as to NATO nations that have established helicopter clearance organizations on what would be required to establish a NATO USL certification system. The scope will be progressively elaborated as more information is gained during analysis of the study. This is to ensure the scope of the effort does not become unmanageable or result in an unusable product.


The deliverable will consist of a JAPCC White Paper that will provide recommendations and requirements for individual member states to enhance their national USL certification system. The white paper will also suggest solutions to NATO how better helicopter interoperability can be achieved and will provide a helicopter underslung load clearance guide and a test plan procedures. The JAPCC will also produce a slide presentation to accompany the White Paper to be used to present the study finding to relevant forums.

Project Team

Project Manager
Colonel Galgani, ITA AF

Project Leader
Maj Jos Kaijen, NLD AF


Project Status

Last Update 25 January 2017
Project Definition Report
Research and Data Gathering