Looking back at NCT PRO Challenge Europe 2022


By NCT Team

NCT PRO Challenge Europe 2022 took place in Zagreb, Croatia on 3-7 October 2022. Teams from Special Intervention Units (SIUs) from the European ATLAS network trained on combined tactical and CBRNe/EOD missions at Slatina, and on firearms at Vrbovec Police Range. These teams were supported by enablers from NATO Fire Service, Croatian National Police EOD, Zagreb Fire Department, and the Croatian Civil Defense. The event was organized by the Ministry of Interior of the Republic of Croatia, Lucko Anti-Terrorist Unit, the CBRNe Society and NCT Consultants.

The trainings took place in two locations. Stubička Slatina is an abandoned military rocket base where all the CBRN training took place. Tactical missions were executed using simunition. Each training session in Slatina lasted for four hours. Although each scenario consists of several different missions, all the teams for the different missions joined the Mission Briefing at the start of the scenario. Operators were introduced to new technology provided by the NCT sponsors during the NCT Tech Tours. During the training missions, operators could use this new technology to enable them to successfully complete their objectives.

At the Vrbovec range, operators were trained on the latest HS weapons (rifles and pistols), while the sniper teams trained different scenarios including using a helicopter platform.

The event was designed around an elaborated storyline. Methods and sources from a friendly agency led to shared intelligence that resulted in the identification of the location of a possible drugs laboratory operated by an international crime syndicate called Gruppo Alpha. The drugs lab is said to produce large quantities of Fentanyl, XTC, amphetamine, and methamphetamine for the regional market.

In accordance with Greece, Hungary, Latvia, Slovenia, and Croatia, internal operational actions have been initiated with the aim of locating and arresting the people involved in the above-mentioned illegal activities. Since one of the cells is located on Croatian territory, the Croatian Ministry of Interior and the Lucko Anti-Terrorist Unit launched an operation in cooperation with the ATLAS Command.


Intelligence led to a suspected drug laboratory and an intelligence gathering mission was planned. Subsequently, a raid on the drugs laboratory was ordered, where traces of chemical warfare agents (CWA) and explosives were found. Specialized units followed the SIUs as enablers, securing critical intelligence in the laboratory’s basement that revealed that a terrorist group was planning to execute an attack using a Vehicle Borne Improvised Device (VBIED) with a HAZMAT payload at an event in Zagreb. The decontamination of all the actors involved in the scene took place afterwards.

Intelligence led the specialized units into a café-bar suspected to be used as a safe house for several individuals involved in the plot. The units were sent to carry out a raid on the café-bar starting with a reconnaissance mission followed by a raid. The forensic phase, consisting of the gathering of intelligence and evidence led to a well-known human trafficker with ties to organized crime.

After conducting a CBRNe recon mission, it was found out that there could be a VBIED, possibly involving HAZMAT. The team was sent to investigate the car for further evidence and intelligence

SIUs were tasked with ambushing the suspected car and arresting its occupants to retrieve more intel about the terrorist network. The mission, carried out during the night and with daylight, started with SIUs taking down the vehicle and extracting the criminals from it.

One of the captured criminals was persuaded to share intelligence and provide the name of a woman who was planned to be one of the terrorists hitting the event in Zagreb. A reconnaissance mission was conducted to prepare the terrain for an assault to the woman’s apartment, to arrest her and find the intel necessary to stop the planned attack in Zagreb. During the operation to apprehend her, teams bumped into a possible biological threat, and the woman detonated a suicide vest to destroy information of the planned attack. The scenario ended with the teams’ findings in the apartment during the forensic phase.

Teams and other participants

The operators participating in the trainings were as follows:

EKAM from Greece; Omega from Latvia; TEK from Hungary; Red Panther from Slovenia; Lucko Anti-Terrorist Unit from Croatia; Command of Special Forces from Croatia; Special and Intervention Units from Split, Rijeka, Osijek, and Zagreb; Police Anti-Exsploziv Service Police Directorate from Croatia (enablers with robotic capability to move vehicles); Public Firefighting Brigade City Zagreb; NATO Fire CBRN operators (CBRN enablers with decontamination capability); and the State Intervention Forces Civil Defense from Croatia.

Actors from Croatia and the NCT team played the impersonated criminals in the training scenarios.

The observers program allowed for the participation of observers from different units in the trainings, Tech Tours and in the weapon familiarization at Vrbovec. Among them, we could find members from the Lucko Anti-Terrorist Unit of Croatia; the Atlas Support Office at Europol; the GSG9 of Germany; SIU of Switzerland; GEO of Spain; Lynx of Slovakia; the Special and Intervention Unit of Zagreb; the Civil Defense Directorate of Croatia; Unitad Iraq; the Command of Special Forces of Croatia; and the Special and Intervention Unit of Zagreb.

We counted as well on the visit of a VIP Observer Group made of diplomatic personnel from the embassies of France, Italy, and Slovenia to Croatia, as well as a representative of the European Defense Agency (EDA). They were introduced to the concept of the trainings in a comprehensive manner by BG (Ret.) William King, being guided through different sessions to fully understand the functioning of the missions.

Sponsors and supporting partners

This 2022 edition of NCT PRO Challenge Europe was sponsored by the following companies:

  • SwissP provided innovative new ammunition
  • HS provided pistols and assault rifles
  • Argon Electronics provided electronic devices to simulate a chemical/radiological source
  • DOK-ING provided demining robots
  • ECA Robotics provided a remote-control EOD robot (Cameleon)
  • Heyl provided the innovative SD1 decontamination spray
  • Meridian Medical Technologies provided CBRN medical countermeasures
  • M2DCON (distributed through Tradeways) provided decontamination products
  • OAK Defense provided the DConX spray
  • Polimaster Europe UAB provided radiation detectors
  • Polytronic provided an advanced sniper training target
  • Primalab DOO/Metrohm provided chemical detectors
  • Quicksilver Analytics (distributed through Tradeways) provided sampling kits

Additionally, NCT PRO Challenge Europe 2022 was supported by several companies that brought equipment to be used during the training sessions. This includes as follows:

  • Inert Products provided CBRN and IED training devices
  • Kappler provided Level A suits
  • OPEC provided Level B and C suits
  • Ouvry provided the simulants for the CWA scenarios
  • Paladin Safety provided rubber boots and gloves
  • Paul Boyer provided Level B and C suits
  • Proengin provided the TIMS CWA detector
  • Fevdi provided wipes for decontamination of radioactive contamination
  • Respirex provided CBRN safe rubber boots

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