After almost two weeks of intensive training, six crews coming from five different Member States have graduated from the first-ever edition of the European Advanced Airlift Tactics Training Course (EAATTC) which took place in Spain from 21 September to 3 October. In total, 29 students from Spain, Czech Republic, Germany, Italy and the Netherlands completed the course.
Over the course of the exercise, 56 sorties were flown accounting for about 100 flight hours, 31 drops were conducted as well as 92 tactical approaches and 15 landing on unprepared airstrips.
A combination of academic lessons and actual flights, this first edition of EAATTC was hosted by the Spanish air force on Zaragoza airbase. “Spain provided great support to the event”, Michele Rega, EDA Project Officer Fixed-Wing Aircraft and EAATTC14 exercise director, points out. “We were able to deliver high-level training to our first class of crews and this successful first edition paves the way towards future EAATTC events”, he adds. Three additional courses, including single-ship, multiple-ship, and night vision goggles (NVG) training, are expected to take place in 2015 in Bulgaria, France, and Spain.
Designed at the request of Member States to provide European air transport crews with an advanced academic and flying training syllabus, EAATTC was initiated by the European Defence Agency in close cooperation with the European Air Transport Command (EATC), which brought major support to the course in terms of human resources and expertise.
The course is intended to become a European alternative to the American AATTC initiative, a rendezvous that has been attended for decades by airlift crews from the US and allied nations. However, European Member States are now seeking different ways to provide their crews with this much-needed training. EAATTC is the perfect answer to that ever-growing challenge, with European air forces now able to benefit from a high-level training closer to their home bases, thus saving the cost of a return trip across the Atlantic.
EAATTC is one of the tangible outputs of the wider European Air Transport Fleet (EATF) partnership launched in 2011 and now gathering 19 Member States plus Norway (AT, BE, BG, CZ, DE, EL, ES, FI, FR, IT, LT, LU, NL, PL, PT, RO, SK, SE and HU). A perfect example of pooling resources and sharing knowledge and expertise, this initiative aims to achieve a higher level of interoperability between airlift crews from different nations and to increase harmonisation of advanced tactical training. Other activities undertaken as part of EATF include the European Air Transport Training (EATT) series of events as well as the European Air Transport Symposium, both organised once a year by the European Defence Agency; the further development and management of the diplomatic clearances technical arrangement; and the development of a common maintenance and training project for operators of the C-27J Spartan transport aircraft.