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20 juin 2014 5 20 /06 /juin /2014 12:50
EATT 2014 : entraînement des unités des transports tactiques



19/06/2014 Armée de l'air


Sous l’égide de l’agence européenne de Défense, la 3e édition d’EATT (European Air Transport Training - entraînement européen du transport aérien) se déroule du 15 au 27 juin 2014 à Plovdiv, en Bulgarie.


Dix nations, soit près de 300 personnes se sont réunies pour participer à cette 3e édition. Parmi elles, l’armée de l’air met en oeuvre d’un Hercule C130. Deux équipages et des mécaniciens de l’escadron de transport 2/61 «Franche-Comté» de la base aérienne 123 d’Orléans-Bricy, ainsi que des instructeurs du centre d’instruction des équipages de transport (CIET) et trois aviateurs de l’escadrille aérosanitaire «Étampes» de la base aérienne 107 de Vélizy-Villacoublay sont déployés.

L’EATT est un exercice dédié à l’entraînement des avions de transport dans le domaine tactique. Il est basé sur la mutualisation et le partage des moyens «pooling and sharing». Son objectif principal est de promouvoir l'interopérabilité entre les nations participantes. Des entraînements communs dans un contexte international sont ainsi réalisés.

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18 juin 2014 3 18 /06 /juin /2014 07:50
EATC Change of Command 03 July 2014


4 June - EATC Press Release


On Thursday 03 July 2014 at 11:00h the European Air Transport Command will conduct a Change of Command (CoC) ceremony at Eindhoven Airbase.


The EATC is the leading Air Transport Command of France, Germany, Belgium, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and – since 03 July 2014 – also of Spain: right before the ceremony, the respective Air Chiefs will confirm the accession of Spain as sixth EATC member-state.


The ceremony itself will take place in front of the EATC building in the presence of the respective Air Chiefs or their representatives, military as well as civilian authorities and guests. Lieutenant General Alexander Schnitger, the Commander of the Royal Netherlands Air Force - in his function as Chairman of the Military Air Transport Committee - will hand over the command from the acting French Commander Major General Pascal Valentin to German Major General Christian Badia.


An engagement with media / press offering the possibility for statements and interviews with both Generals and the respective Air Chiefs is foreseen.

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18 juin 2014 3 18 /06 /juin /2014 07:50
DGA meets EATC (3 June)


3 June - EATC News & Press updates


This Tuesday (3 June), a delegation from the French DGA (Direction générale de l'armement/General Directorate for Armament) visited Eindhoven Air Base within EATC premises. The Commander of the EATC, Major General Pascal Valentin, welcomed the delegation under the lead of Mr. Tanguy Lestienne, Chief Engineer of the DGA Armament Division. From EATC aside the visit was prepared by LTC Stefan Wilmers, Secretary of the Operational Users Group A400M and LTC Marc Liboureau, Deputy Head of EATCs Technical and Logistics Branch.


A400M cockpit


The scope of the visit was to share the French experiences concerning the entry into service of the A400M and to identify possible opportunities for common multinational activities between the EATC and the A400M user nations.

The EATC, as a future central actor for the common use of the A400M, is already now deeply involved in the writing of a common A400M concept and a common A400M doctrine. Moreover since 2011 the EATC provides the chairman of the Operational Users Group A400M.

The DGA explained the role and organisation of the different French entities and gave a lookout on the increased capabilities of the new aircraft.

Furthermore the current and future French service and support organization has been presented and the A400M configuration management has been discussed.

The participants underlined the importance of sharing experience between the EATC, OCCAR and the different A400M user nations and identified common configuration management, common data and information management as well as common spare parts management as most promising fields of cooperation.


Who is who on the A400M introduction

The A400M program is a cooperative development of seven European countries and NATO members Germany, France, Spain, Great Britain, Turkey, Belgium and Luxembourg. Program management (project) is provided by the Organisation for Joint Armament Cooperation (OCCAR). Program development and production of the A400M is under the direction of Airbus Defence & Space.

Together with the Staff of the French Armed Forces the DGA provides the capabilities essential for military sustainment, structures military needs, proves and recommends solutions for military equipment. In this regard the DGA is responsible for the A400M testing phase together with the MEST (Multinational Entry into Service Team) – before the aircraft is approved/licensed for operational military service.

EATC finally works on several working groups and concepts to accelerate the A400M employment into the EATC Participating Nations Air Forces. As far as each national owned aircraft finish successfully the national testing phase and join the national operational service, EATC shall consequently take over the aircraft under operational Command (OPCON) via Transfer of Authority (ToA). This way EATC will run the biggest A400M fleet on the continent within just one decade.


Read more about the EATC involvement in A400M matters here.

DGA meets EATC (3 June)
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17 juin 2014 2 17 /06 /juin /2014 17:50
“Pooling and Sharing” on 56 pages


16 June EATC


Only few years after inauguration the EATC is already recognized as a European reference and enabler in air transport (AT). No wonder, because EATC is gathering experienced subject matter experts from all its participating nations within its premises at Eindhoven Air Base, guiding from here over 60 world-wide missions per day while relying on the commitment of our comrades working at all EATC assigned national airbases.

EATC’s first online issue is a wide-spread overview of what the organizations stands for.  The 2014’s issue contains

-    welcome words of Belgian Air Chief and the Commander EATC

-    the operational work EATC stands for

-    different functional achievements and involvements

-    EATC guided training/exercises 

-    EATC’s role in A400M employment

-    Presenting EATC competence in different military aviation matters

-    The upcoming accession of Spain

-    EATC involvement in world wide- and mission scenarios

-    Many facts and figures…


Find the first EATC online issue here.

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17 juin 2014 2 17 /06 /juin /2014 16:49
EATT has begun


16 June Norbert Thomas EATC

Starting officially on 16 June 2013, the third serial of the European Air Transport Training - the EATT 2014 - took up action at Plovdiv Airport (Bulgaria). EATT 2014 is a Pooling & Sharing initiative by EDA, being supported by the European Air Transport Command (EATC) and aiming at enhancing interoperability between tactical airlift users in the area of operations.
EATT is furthermore to develop an innovative Air Transport training opportunity on a close location within Europe, saving thus flying hours and resources by reducing the travel distance and the logistical footprint. Like in the former serials of EATT, the training activities stick to the nations requirements and strive to optimize the training opportunities. EATC itself deploys about 20 soldiers to support the training.

Find some impressions about last years EATT (in Zaragoza/Spain) here.


Pictures: EATC, SIRPA Air, Norbert Thomas

EATT has begun
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11 avril 2014 5 11 /04 /avril /2014 11:50
The soldiers of EART at their daily workstation


Date: 9 April 2014 EATC


It is the people who finally make this pioneering training a success. Have a look at their working place and share a few moments at Eindhoven Air Base with the multinational EART-team out of Italy, Germany and the Netherlands.


All pictures HERE



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11 avril 2014 5 11 /04 /avril /2014 07:50
Not colored, but real: F-16 approaching within the clouds


Date: 9 April 2014 EATC


It is not always shiny when provider and receiver meet each other. But this is also live - and training. Jet pilots and tanker crew learn how to cooperate effectively also on bad weather conditions - with the North Sea below them possibly not a surprise, but a challenge for better performance.


Find a gallery of German photographer Bjoern Trotzki here - with pictures that sometimes look unreal and coloured; F-16 in the mist.

Not colored, but real: F-16 approaching within the clouds
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11 avril 2014 5 11 /04 /avril /2014 07:50
The future of European AAR


Thursday 10 April EATC


At the 10th of April 2014 the European Air-to-Air Refuelling Training - the first of its kind - celebrated its Distinguished Visitors Day (DVD). VIPs out of whole Europe found its way to Eindhoven Air Base in order to find out more about this EDA initiative, orchestrated with EATC assets and planning, conducted by the Eindhoven Air Base.

It was first Base Commander and Colonel von Soest to welcome his guests and to “prepare the floor” for the following speakers by introducing the VIPs and further guests into the programme.

Dutch Air Commodore Luyt took over and welcomed the audience on behalf of the Dutch Air Chief. In his welcome words he congratulated Eindhoven Air Base for its success within EART 2014 and remarked that the Netherlands - as a small country - have a comparably wide experience in Air-to-Air Refuelling matters.


EDA takes the floor

The future belongs to multirole capable aircraft


Giampaolo Lillo, EDA Director of Cooperation, Planning and Support, took the words to emphasize the necessity to overcome the EU Tanker shortfall. While the US - as a comparison - operate with more than 500 tankers, the EU works with rather than 50. Therefore EDA recommended to the nations four initiatives under one EDA umbrella that aims to remain Europes capabilitiy to assist worldwide remote airborne operations and deployments: with MRTT AAR solutions.

Major General Valentin, Commander of the EATC, described the European Air Transport Command as the heart and engine of the military Air Transport as well as Air-to-Air Refuelling within Europe. Though EATC runs actually just a dozen of tankers, this number will rise definitely with Spains accession this year and the potential accession of Italy the years after. With regard to the number of new MRTT aircraft, that France plans to introduce as well as the 29 AAR-kits for the A400M - while this aircraft will anyway been driven by the EATC under operational command - the amount of available tankers/MRTT can rise to more than fifty aircraft by the end of the decade - solely within EATC Participating Nations.

Colonel Lokman, as chairman of one EDA initiated important pillar to overcome the EU tanker shortfall, took now the floor and explained several strategies to fulfill the “Optimisation of existing assets and organizations”, answered afterwards the journalists questions, why and how the EART training was created for. He emphasized the need of a concept of better use of current and future TT assets and focused also on the establishment of a European AAR planners course. As a direct result, representatives of the JAPCC within the delegation announced, that this course will take place in the near future.

The long term search for the ultimate future MRTT aircraft was again Colonel van Soests responsibility. “His” project - also an EDA pillar - combines the need of not less than ten European nations to enhance their AAR-capabilities. Nations signed in 2012 already a letter of intent (LOI) to acquire a new MRTT aircraft by end of this decade/ beginning next decade.


Two multirole capable aircraft

EART in theory and praxis

Finally it was Major Frölichs turn on the stage, Exercise Director of EART and surely also the focal person between EART and Frisian Flag. He introduced the audience into the training objectives and mentioned the advantages to merge both training and exercise. As both locations (Air Base Leeuwarden and Eindhoven Air Base) are not far away from each other, the tanker formations of the Dutch, German and Italian AAR-fleet were able to operate two missions a day within the exercise, making the whole sequence of AAR-actions very efficient. No wonder, that he recommends to repeat EART next year – again with connection to Frisian Flag.

After this marathon of speakers and speeches the event turned over to the practical part: Meanwhile all tankers were back from their first (morning) missions – and presented each a static display for the audience out on the tanker platform.
As final part of the DVD the guests took part in an AAR-mission within the Dutch KDC-10, where the astonished audience watched several F-16 aircraft approaching to be supplied. Moreover the German and Italian Tanker performed several formation maneuvers along the KDC-10, making the scenario the first of its kind within European skies.


FInd out more about EART here


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11 avril 2014 5 11 /04 /avril /2014 07:50
Air-to-Air Refuelling photo Luftwaffe

Air-to-Air Refuelling photo Luftwaffe


Eindhoven - 10 April, 2014 European Defence Agency

A Distinguished Visitors (DV) Day is held as part of the first European Air-to-Air Refuelling training (EART14) at Eindhoven Air Base on 10 April 2014. The day brings together high-level military figures to witness and learn about the ongoing training.


EART14 runs from 31 March to 11 April, with German and Dutch aircraft and crews present for the entire period and Italy joining for the second week. The training was developed by the European Defence Agency (EDA) in close cooperation with the European Air Transport Command (EATC) and Dutch armed forces. It runs alongside the highly recognised Dutch fighter exercise Frisian Flag, to provide crews with the opportunity to take part in dedicated Air-to-Air (AAR) scenarios embedded in realistic combat situations.


Experiences so far

In the first week the Dutch KDC-10 and German A-310 flew 15 sorties  between them, off-loading more than 135,000 Kilos of fuel. The training has allowed tanker and logistic crews to enhance their skills in realistic AAR scenarios, helping ensure that crews remain proficient in areas outside of their daily AAR tasks. Crews have built up knowledge of the characteristics of aircraft used by other EU countries, while flying sorties in the morning and afternoon has allowed them to practice their quick turnaround procedures.


Multinational cooperation

Speaking about the training, Giampaolo Lillo, EDA Director for Cooperation Planning & Support, commented “this first European Air-to-Air Refuelling training is a prime example of how Europe can optimise the use of its existing assets through multinational cooperation. The EDA has a role to play as an enabler, however the success of the training is thanks to the Netherlands as host nation, EATC, and the participating Member States.”



The EDA has a comprehensive plan to improve the AAR capabilities in Europe. Mandated by Defence Ministers, EDA is engaged in four work strands in this domain: short-term gap filling; optimisation of existing assets; optimisation of AAR capacity offered by the future A400M fleet and enhancement of Europe’s strategic tanker capability by creating a multinational Multi Role Tanker Transport (MRTT) capability.

As part of this global approach, the EDA, Italy and the Movement Coordination Centre Europe (MCCE) jointly organised the first collective European Air-to-Air Refuelling (AAR) clearance trial on the Italian KC767 in September 2013. This enhanced AAR capabilities, as technical and operational clearances are mandatory to provide or receive fuel and they are thus a prerequisite to interoperability in multinational operations. Aircraft from France and Sweden participated in the campaign to obtain technical and operational AAR clearances against the Italian strategic airlift tanker. 


More information:

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11 avril 2014 5 11 /04 /avril /2014 07:50
German Eurofighters approaching Picture by Maurice Hendriks

German Eurofighters approaching Picture by Maurice Hendriks


Wednesday 9 April - EATC


More than sixty aircraft take part at Frisian Flag and EART in different roles: Interdiction, Close Air Support, AWACS, Air-to-Air Refuelling - and many more roles that fit together in different Combined Air Operations (COMAO) scenarios. Find a few pics around Air-to-Air Refuelling shot at Eindhoven Air Base as well as few airborne impressions of aircraft being refueled to immediately turn back into FF action.


Gallery to be found here

More information to be found at our EART website here


Pictures by Bjoern Trotzki, Joris van Boven, Ulrich Metternich, Norbert Thomas, Maurice Hendriks, Olivier Chevalier


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8 avril 2014 2 08 /04 /avril /2014 07:50
Pictures: Dirk Pleger, Italian Air Force

Pictures: Dirk Pleger, Italian Air Force


Monday 7 April - Norbert Thomas EATC


The first European Air-to-Air Refuelling Training (EART 2014) is running for one week now; A German Airbus A310 MRTT, a Dutch (RNLAF) KDC-10 and the Italian KC-767A are complement on each other to achieve the best results within the given training.

Aim and objectives
Overall aim of EART14 is to get 100% of participants current in their qualifications in a short amount of time and with their dedicated assets, to consolidate existing qualifications or regain them if necessary.
Added training value and derived objections will be:
• Different RV procedures
• Multiple AAR formations
• Tactical AR/Cell procedures e.g. Link16, EMCON 3
• Bailout procedures, SAR
• Involvement in planning processes
• Achieving further Italian KC-767 certification process
• Implementing successfully Eindhoven AFB as a tanker FOB and to build up an AAR cell.
• Assist Frisian Flag 2014 (FF 2014) in all aspects of AAR


Italian KC-767A with Eurofighters

The theoretical approach
But where does the need for a highly professional training comes from ?
The deduction from pure military theory bridged over to actual lessons learned and other mid-term developments with international training could be summarized like this:
In general UN/EU/NATO lead missions from crisis establishment up to a nature catastrophe can make it necessary to move forces to remote areas while one of the most important characteristics in the AT-World is the capability to cover large distances within short time: Range capacity. In view of globalization and in concern of worldwide operations it is necessary for an Air Force being either able to operate on large distances or being able to accomplish several tactical operations in parallel - while being supplied with fuel in the air. But not only the transport of personal and material, also the AAR must assist the forces to build up in any thinkable remote theatre, necessarily being self tailored to the mission.
While most of the transport aircraft as well as fighter aircraft are not able to cover intercontinental distances to remote areas in just one sortie, with AAR they are able to reach the far away mission area in adequate time.


Norwegian F-16 shot out of Dutch KDC-10 while FF2014

While the fighter community has trained to operate together for years (e.g. Tactical Leadership Program (TLP), Flag exercises, large NATO exercises in European airspace, etc.), the same cannot be stated for AAR, a special kind of Air Transport. But with regard to the lessons learned out of Unified Protector over Libya 2011, the need to supply and train together became bigger every day: not only is Europe lacking on tanker aircraft, also its AAR personnel lacks on international experience: First Objective is therefore to develop and conduct a multinational exercise dedicated to AAR inside Europe.


This need was recogniced by the European Defence Agency (EDA) and hence addressed to all EDA Participaing Nations. Convened by all the nations responds, EDA took over the lead to recommend different measures to overcome the EU tanker shortfall.
The running EART 2014 is one important outcome of a cooperation of EDA and EATC: the training will deliver AAR training over a two-week period duration, offering participants a unique opportunity to plan and execute missions within a multinational framework.
EART itself is merged into Frisian Flag. Both training/exercise are tactically organised and conducted by the Host Nation, the Netherlands.
During EART14 training development, FF 2014-bound as well as independent scenarios will be played for each mission according to its specific AAR characteristics and training requirements.
EART14 will be developed on an increasing complexity basis, starting from single ship missions and evolving to being part of COMAO missions within Frisian Flag 2014.


Find much more about EART 2014 here.


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6 avril 2014 7 06 /04 /avril /2014 13:50
Pictures of Air-to-Air Refuelling Training EART 2014


Sunday 6 April - EATC


EDA, EATC and the Eindhoven Air Base implemented and now conduct the first European Air-to-Air Refuelling Training, EART 2014.


Find first pics from the plattform, the Air Base as well as some airborn impressions. The gallery is to be found here.


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5 avril 2014 6 05 /04 /avril /2014 22:50
source EATC

source EATC


Apr. 5, 2014 - By MARCUS WEISGERBER – Defense News


WASHINGTON — A European Defence Agency (EDA) effort to jointly purchase and share aerial refueling tankers with a number of nations could advance the NATO strategic weapons and equipment collaboration projects pushed by US and UK leaders.


NATO leaders for years have touted pooling and sharing projects, such as Smart Defense. However, efforts have not yielded substantial cooperation as countries have expressed national sovereignty concerns.


“It’s a realistic thing to say. It’s a difficult thing to deliver,” said Douglas Barrie, senior fellow for military aerospace at the International Institute for Strategic Studies.


But European leaders gave their blessing to the air-to-air refueling program and three other EDA projects that might change that trend, experts say.


“That could make a real difference because that’s the very level on which these capabilities, the big stuff, could be provided well,” James Hackett, an analyst with the International Institute for Strategic Studies in London, said of the tanker initiative.


A March EDA report said the goal is to have tankers flying by 2020; the Netherlands is leading the project. Belgium, Greece, Spain, France, Hungary, Luxembourg, Poland, Portugal, the Netherlands and Norway all signed a letter of intent in 2012.


Many existing tanker aircraft in Europe have been flying for decades and are based on Boeing 707. The UK Royal Air Force has purchased Airbus A330 Voyager tankers and the Italian Air Force has purchased Boeing KC-767 tankers.


US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel used a February address at the Munich Security Conference to emphasize the need for European allies to invest more strategically in military projects, particularly as NATO’s mission in Afghanistan comes to an end and many nations reduce defense spending.


“We’re developing strategies to address global threats as we build more joint capacity with European militaries,” Hagel said.


“In the face of budget constraints here on the continent, as well as in the United States, we must all invest more strategically to protect military capability and readiness,” he said. “The question is not just how much we spend, but how we spend together.”


UK Defence Secretary Philip Hammond echoed those comments during a visit to the US late last month.


“We both agree … that we have to look for additional areas where we can work closely together in order to maintain and enhance military capabilities and our interoperability,” Hammond said March 26 at the British Embassy in Washington.


“These will be areas around equipment procurement, around science-and-technology collaboration as well as ensuring that we have continuing opportunities for our militaries to exercise together to maintain the interoperability that we’ve built up in Afghanistan, but not just in Afghanistan, around the world in other areas where we work together.”


NATO’s militaries are preparing to end more than a decade of fighting together in Afghanistan. Over those years, many nations have achieved a high-level of common equipment and fighting techniques.


Hammond and Hagel discussed ways to advance their goals during a meeting at the Pentagon. Hammond said he hopes the meeting generates “momentum across the machine to get the work going in the various areas.”


NATO and other partner nations have successfully stood up a C-17 “Strategic Airlift Capability” at Pápa Air Base in Hungary. NATO members Hungary, Bulgaria, Estonia, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Romania, Slovenia and the United States and NATO Partnership for Peace nations Finland and Sweden all buy aircraft flying hours and jointly operate the cargo planes.


US and NATO officials have touted the program and some have said there would be benefits to including tankers and other types of airlift aircraft in the mix.


Another area for collaboration could be high-end intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, particularly since European countries are running a lot of operations in Africa, Hackett said.


Beyond the tanker effort, EDA is working to integrate unmanned aircraft into the European air traffic control system. EDA is also pushing satellite communication and cyber defense projects.


The military capabilities of nations across Europe varies, with some nations possessing a full complement of capabilities while many other nations have unique specialties, Barrie said.


Beyond collaboration on high-end projects, pooling and sharing could work among countries that have mutual security interests locally, Barrie said.


But, Hackett noted that there have been problems even among countries with similar interests and security concerns.


“Nations next door to each other just have different requirements,” he said. “They’re going different places. They’re wanting to use it for different things.”


Any real agreement in terms of getting equipment or capabilities has not centered on high-dollar items, Hackett said.


“The fundamental issue is about sovereignty and use of these [is a lot to trust],” he said

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4 avril 2014 5 04 /04 /avril /2014 11:50
Finalizing the EATC Ground Operations Manual


4 April 2014 by Norbert Thomas - EATC


With a start-up meeting on 6 February 2013, EATC Participating Nations (PN) - represented by their subject matter experts (SME) - decided to start a study with the aim to harmonize the handling of passenger and cargo regulations.

PN supported the idea agreed that the further development of the EATC Ground Operations Manual - in short EGOM - needs to incorporate more involvement of national experts.


Sharing the workload in six different working groups, ambitious timelines were set and EATC produced a first draft of the EGOM by August 2013 in order to send it to nations for a robust scan - and with the idea to receive respective comments in order to optimize the product.


To reach the common goal - ground handling personnel of the EATC PN should be able to load and unload any aircraft without asking for national advice - and to adjust final remarks within the plenum, therewas this week at EATC the need to go through all the content in detail - 360 pages(!) – and to implement a final writing session at EATC.

Therefore, the respective national SME’s in the different working groups as well as the responsible POC’s were invited to attend this intensive five-day working-meeting  from Monday 31 March on until today.

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4 avril 2014 5 04 /04 /avril /2014 07:50
Most advanced to join EART

3 April 2014 by Norbert Thomas - EATC


The Boeing KC-767A derives from the commercial aircraft Boeing 767-200ER (Extended Range). By conceptual design it ensures a superior range and payload capability, as well as a superior range for air-to-air refueling (AAR) - as receiver or tanker. The Italian Air Force acquired four KC-767A aircraft as replacement for its Boeing 707T/T fleet. The first KC-767A has officially entered into service on the 17th May 2011. Upon the entry into service, the first two assets have supported NATO operations in Afghanistan (ISAF) and Libya (OUP). The other  two tankers were delivered in late 2011.
The KC-767A is one of the few aircrafts able to supply fuel to all type of receivers (hose and drogue as well as boom receivers) through wing tip air Refuelling pods and centerline hose station as well as through the aerial boom.


The different Refuelling systems are compatible with all Italian and allied aircraft:
- the boom refueling system, a rigid telescoping tube with flow capability of up to 900 gallons     (4.091 liters) per minute;
- the centerline hose and drogue system, with a flow capability of up to 600 gallons (2.727 liters) per minute;
- the wing tip AAR-system with a flow capability of up to 400 gallons (1.818 liters) per minute.


Nowadays, the Boeing KC -767A is one of the most modern AAR-aircrafts in service worldwide. As strategic transport aircraft, the KC-767A can be set up in different configurations, with different loading capabilities:
-    “Passenger”: up to 200 passengers can be boarded with their respective luggage;
-    “Combi”: up to 100 passengers and 10 NATO standard military pallets;
-    “Freigther”: up to 19 NATO standard military pallets.
Moreover, the KC-767A is able to be refueled by other boom equipped tankers, in order extend its operational range.

With a loading capability of up to 25 tons (55.115 lb) and being able to be refueled in the air, the aircraft can reach nearly every point on this planet.


Pictures: Italian Air Force


The aircraft will be participant at the first European Air-to-Air Refuelling Training at Eindhoven Air Base. Find out more about it here.

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2 avril 2014 3 02 /04 /avril /2014 07:50
Picture: German Air Force

Picture: German Air Force


2 April - EATC


Few weeks ago a German Airbus A310 MRTT with Aeromedical Evacuation configuration flew two dozen injured Ukrainian people from Kiev to Germany for a better intensiv care, while another aircraft is permanently stationed at the military part of the Cologne airport to guarantee 24/7 readiness for action, e.g. to evacuate wounded soldiers out of Afghanistan/Usbekistan.


Last year another aircraft with Air-to-Air Refuelling equipment cruised of Western Africa to sustain the French air superiority for "Operation Serval": the MRTT (Multirole, Tanker, Transport) is not just a strategic carrier, but with all its conversion alternatives a flexible mean for the German Air Force, the EATC Participating Nations and all other Allies within EU and NATO to facilitate remote operations abroad.


In our new serial about military air transport aircraft read more about this MRTT here.


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1 avril 2014 2 01 /04 /avril /2014 11:50
Dutch Air Force Media/EATC MSCN

Dutch Air Force Media/EATC MSCN



01.04.2014 Ballinger/Thomas - EATC


Under the operational control of the EATC, two Dutch KDC-10 are used to refuel the NATO E3-A executing surveillance at the Eastern NATO borders. Operating solely from its main operating base at Geilenkirchen (Germany), the NATO E-3A Component will fly a line of tasking every day to Romania as well as a second one every other day above Poland. These surveillance missions will be shared with the E-3D Component, who will fly out of Waddington, United Kingdom.
The employment will enhance situational awareness and reassure NATO Allies in the region. All AWACS surveillance flights will take place solely over Alliance territory and no flights will take place over Ukraine. It was the North Atlantic Council (NAC) to decide on March 10, 2014 to employ NATO AWACS (Airborne Early Warning and Control Aircraft) surveillance aircraft over Poland and Romania.

The EATC concept of Pooling & Sharing constitutes an excellent means to support that kind of operations, moreover for the fact that the KDC-10 Tanker Transport aircraft can also execute a further mission to enhance efficiency. As an example the Dutch aircraft returned last week after its tanker mission also with personnel coming back from Adana, Turkey, where the Dutch missile contingent is stationed to protect Turkey from potential Syrian air threads – not to forget the ten tons of freight on board which also belonged to the Dutch contingent.


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31 mars 2014 1 31 /03 /mars /2014 21:50
Launch of First European Air-to-Air Refuelling Exercise Today


Eindhoven - 31 March, 2014 European Defence Agency (EDA)

The first ever European Air-to-Air Refuelling Training (EART14) taking place at the Eindhoven Air Base in the Netherlands starts today. Between 31 March and 11 April aircraft and crews from Germany, Italy, and the Netherlands will participate in realistic Air-to-Air Refuelling training scenarios within a modern air combat environment. 


EART14 offers participants a unique opportunity to plan and execute missions within a multinational framework. The exercise has been developed by the European Defence Agency (EDA) in close cooperation with the European Air Transport Command (EATC) and the Dutch armed forces.


Critical force enabler

As most transport and fighter aircraft are not able to cover intercontinental distances in just one sortie, Air-to-Air Refuelling (AAR) is a critical force enabler and is a requirement for sustained air combat operations. Despite the importance of AAR, European armed forces have suffered from both a lack of equipment and a lack of interoperability in this field. This has led EU countries to rely heavily on US assets in past operations. 

In 2011, Defence Ministers tasked the EDA to propose measures to mitigate the capability gap in European military AAR-matters. The EDA has since developed and implemented a global approach to tackling the shortfall of AAR capabilities, which involves increasing the overall AAR capacity, reducing fragmentation of the fleet, and optimising the use of assets.

This approach was endorsed by the European Council in December 2014, where Heads of State and Government approved the Agency’s roadmap on AAR.


Dedicated AAR scenarios

Eindhoven Air Base will be used as Tanker Forward Operating Base (FOB) during the exercise period. The exercise will be done in cooperation with the Dutch Frisian Flag 2014 to provide crews with the opportunity to take part in dedicated AAR scenarios embedded in a highly recognised fighter exercise. EART14 will be developed gradually with exercises becoming increasingly complex in nature over the two weeks, starting from single ship missions and evolving to become part of COMAO missions within Frisian Flag.



The EDA has a comprehensive plan to improve the AAR capabilities in Europe. Mandated by Defence Ministers, EDA is engaged in four work strands in this domain: short-term gap filling; optimisation of existing assets; optimisation of AAR capacity offered by the future A400M fleet and enhancement of Europe’s strategic tanker capability by creating a multinational Multi Role Tanker Transport (MRTT) capability. 

As part of this global approach, the EDA, Italy and the Movement Coordination Centre Europe (MCCE) jointly organised the first collective European Air-to-Air Refuelling (AAR) clearance trial on the Italian KC767 in September 2013. This enhanced AAR capabilities, as technical and operational clearances are mandatory to provide or receive fuel and they are thus a prerequisite to interoperability in multinational operations. Aircraft from France and Sweden participated in the campaign to obtain technical and operational AAR clearances against the Italian strategic airlift tanker. 


More information

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31 mars 2014 1 31 /03 /mars /2014 21:50
EART 2014 has begun


31 March by Norbert Thomas – EATC


The first multinational European training on Air-to-Air refueling (AAR) began Saturday afternoon at precisely 3pm with the German tanker aircraft Airbus A310MRTT landing at Eindhoven Air Base.


The day after, Dutch and German soldiers got their first in-brief on the new created training, a coproduction of the Dutch Air Force and the European Air Transport Command, initiated by the European Defence Agency (EDA). The overall briefing was introduced by Colonel JMH (Howard) Colson, Squadron Commander of the 334th Squadron which runs the Dutch KDC-10 and same time hosts this first training event. Within his welcome words he underlined the necessity to expand and exchange the experience in AAR-matters.


Having done this, he gave over to Dutch Major Fred Frohlich, Exercise Director of EART 2014, who introduced some specialists at the briefings beginning: After a short look on the weather forecast, it was a Flight Safety Officer of the Eindhoven Air Base Tower Control to introduce the delegations into the Air Base itself as well as into the complex air traffic environment at and around Eindhoven Air Base, especially with regard to the fact, that the neighbored civil Eindhoven Airport represents the second biggest airfield of the Netherlands.

Next “on stage” was the Intelligence Officer who explained the overall scenario, Frisian Flag 2014 as well as EART 2014 are acting upon, followed by the Chief Flight Safety Officer of Eindhoven Air Base who described the air space boundaries and emphasized the necessity of precise communication among the acting players.

While an in-brief was given in parallel 250 km north at Leeuwarden Air Base for the Frisian Flag participants, it was at Eindhoven Air Base again Major Frohlich who took the floor and outlined the tactical scenarios in his operational EART in-brief. After presenting the training objectives and the exercise set-up, he explained the rules of engagement (ROE) as well as the training rules to be tackled for specific scenarios or situations for a training that takes place over Dutch, German and Danish ground, though mainly operating over the North Sea.


EART 2014 started its first mission today punctually at 9.00 local with the Airbus A310 rising again...

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25 mars 2014 2 25 /03 /mars /2014 17:50
photo SEDE

photo SEDE



Presentation by General Pascal Valentin, Commander, European Air Transport Command

EATC presentation - SEDE meeting on 19 March 2014
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13 mars 2014 4 13 /03 /mars /2014 12:50
European Air Transport Command - Subcommittee on Security and Defence


13-03-2014 SEDE


The Subcommittee will exchange views on the European Air Transport Command with its Commander General Pascal Valentin.


When : 19 March 2014

Further information meeting documents

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23 février 2014 7 23 /02 /février /2014 12:50
Againt the EU tanker shortfall

23 February 2013 EATC

During the NATO-lead operation UNIFIED PROTECOR over Libya in 2011, which was - in terms of air-to-air refuelling (AAR) - very much depending on the United States Air Force’s assets, it became evident that there is a critical capability shortfall in regard to AAR - especially within the European Union member states (MS),
To make matters even worse, the United States Air Force plans to move major parts of its AT fleet from the European towards the South East Asian theatre. This will include also AAR assets, a potential resource European Nations were always able to lean on in the past.

European AAR capability gap
Air-to-air refuelling is becoming more and more important for contemporary air operations. It is a force multiplier and ensures the effective deployment of forces as well as an efficient employment of expensive and scarce fighter aircraft within the theatre of operations. It could be argued that, today, MS are unable to contribute sufficient AAR assets to satisfy the capability goals for future operations: Only six MS contribute to the AAR capability today: France, Germany, Italy, Spain, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom. Their contribution makes up less than 30% of the agreed upon requirement of the 2010 headline goal. Some of those tankers are, for a variety of reasons, even not made available to the EU forces. Also, when taking a closer look at the current assets, it becomes apparent that the inventories of the MS feature quite a number of different aircraft types like the KC-135, KDC-10, A310 MRTT and Boeing 707. Those aircraft are equipped with different systems for fuel-delivery (boom or drogue) that are not always suitable for every receiver aircraft. In regard to interoperability not the most favourable situation, especially since the certification procedures of e.g. fighter aircraft to receive fuel from a foreign nation’s tanker are complicated and sometimes very time consuming. The situation becomes even more critical when considering that the AAR fleets of the MS are, in parts, reaching the end of their lifetime cycles. This often is accompanied by a decreasing availability rate due to their maintenance status. To sum it up: This capability shortfall could potentially have a very significant negative impact upon any EU-led operation.

German Airbus A310 MRTT

“Project Team AAR”
Step by step MS have taken first actions to overcome this capability gap: The first step was to identify and verbalise that there actually is a deficit. The European Ministers of Defence did this on 22 March 2012 by formally acknowledging that, within the MS, the domain of AAR is suffering from a critical capability shortfall, requiring a European solution. As a second step, based on this declaration and further discussions with the MS, the European Defence Agency (EDA) started in May 2012 an initiative to propose, to facilitate and to support opportunities that could mitigate this capability gap. Within this initiative, the “Project Team AAR” was established. It rests on four pillars:
-    Pillar 1 “Short Term Gap Filling” (lead by the EDA),
-    Pillar 2 “Optimisation of Existing Assets & Organisations”

     (EATC, EDA, MCCE and Italy with EATC in the chairman position),
-    Pillar 3 “A400M Tanker Kits” (lead the by EDA) and last but not least
-    Pillar 4 “Strategic Tanker Capability” with the Netherlands in the lead.

The EATC’s role in pillar 2 of the “Project Team AAR” is to look into possibilities to optimise the use and the employment of existing AAR assets. To achieve this goal, a working group, the “Multi Role Transport Tanker (MRTT) and Air-to-Air Refueling Operational Employment Working Group” (MRTT/AAR OEWG), led by the EATC has been established in June 2012. EATC Participating Nations (PN), Italy, Poland, Spain and the UK are participating in the working group. Representatives of the European Air Group (EAG), the Movement Coordination Centre Europe (MCCE), the Joint Air Power Competence Centre (JAPCC) and the Military Staff of the European Union (EUMS) participate with an observer status. The objective of the MRTT/AAR OEWG is to harmonise and where necessary to develop procedures and related processes to efficiently and effectively employ existing and future multi-role AT-platforms in their dual AAR and AT-role. EATC focuses on the harmonisation of the current EATC AAR employment processes and will assess and recommend changes with respect to:

-  The transfer of authority over additional AAR assets,
-  Responsibilities and structure of the EATC AAR employment organisation,
-  MRTT/AAR planning and tasking procedures based on lessons identified and lessons learned with the current AAR capability and configuration change management (procedures to switch asset from AT into AAR-configuration).

In the mid- and long term the working group will focus on required and adapted employment procedures and processes with a view on the introduction of the A400M AAR-capable aircraft and other MRTTs. It will also support the EDA initiative on a pooled approach for A400M tanker-kits by investigating operational benefits. And finally, the working group will also support the EDA in the acquisition/pooled operation of a MRTT fleet by investigating the possible added operational value.


French Transall C-160 NG and its successor A400M

Preparing for future AAR requirements
As stated before, the EATC has the task to manage the employment of its assigned fleet, including AAR assets, as effectively and efficiently as possible. Currently one German Airbus A310 MRTT (in general two aircraft - not counting two further A310 MRTT right now in AirMedEvac configuration), four French C-160s and two Dutch KDC-10s are under the operational control (OPCON) of the EATC. Consequently the EATC needs to take care of the entire planning and tasking of the missions for these assets. Since the establishment of the EATC, the EATC organised more than 750 AAR missions so far, both training and ferry flights. Also, the amount of missions performed under the aegis of the EATC has increased. That is why the EATC will establish an AAR-cell, manned with dedicated specialist within the Operational Division of the EATC.

However, now and even more in the future the EATC needs to be involved as a facilitator. This includes being proactive in increasing the European interoperability of EATC Nations’ AAR assets as well as strengthening relations with the EATC Participating Nations (PN) and other military organisations dealing with AAR. As first measures the EATC will support EATC PN with the certification of their AAR assets for new aircraft types and will start a study and discussions with France regarding the possible transfer of operational control over their KC-135s to the EATC as well as increasing EATC’s interactions with the AAR-cell of the MCCE.



EART as a direct consequence
For the reason that interoperability is a prominent key factor in the EDA AAR initiative, the EATC encourages other air forces to join with their tanker capabilities to participate in this training event , as it will be an excellent opportunity within Europe to operate with dedicated AAR scenarios embedded in Frisian Flag - a highly recognized fighter exercise . At this moment the Netherlands (KDC-10), Germany (A310) and Italy (KC-767) agreed on sending their tankers to participate.
Recommending Eindhoven Air Base as ideal for tankers to participate in the exercise, the Netherlands approved to use this airfield as a Tanker Forward Operating Base (FOB) during  EART  exercise period, 31 March - 11 April 2014.
Considering the increase of AAR activity and the fact that EATC PNs will introduce new assets with an AAR-capability (A400M and A330 MRTT replacing the aging current tanker assets) into their fleets within the coming years, the EATC’s aim is to further develop its expertise and to consolidate its role in AAR in order to help EATC’s PNs in the best possible way to master the challenging employment of those new assets.


Pictures: EATC PN Photographers

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22 février 2014 6 22 /02 /février /2014 22:50
OCCAR Director visits EATC Commander

January 2014 OCCAR


On 23 January 2014, the OCCAR Director, Tim Rowntree, visited the Commander of the European Air Transport Command (EATC), Major General Pascal Valentin, at his premises in Eindhoven (NL).

The meeting was held in order to address common fields of interest in the air transport domain. EATC presented its current set up and status and potential future developments while OCCAR-EA briefed on the status of the A400M programme. The first A400M aircraft has been delivered in August 2013 to the French user and has recently been on Operation in Mali. The aircraft will be a major European capability in terms of strategic and tactical air transport. In the future, some user states will provide A400M aircraft under operational control of EATC, allowing a coordinated multinational use of this key capability.

Thus discussions mainly concentrated on the preparation of the use of A400M aircraft. OCCAR-EA briefed on its outline global support strategy, which is currently being developed together with the A400M Participating States. This strategy is based on five key enablers: Common configuration control, common maintenance and repair organisation, a shared logistic support service, common enhancement clearances and the maximum use of the civil certification basis. EATC presented their preparations for the future operation of the A400M and the A400M interoperability framework, which were fully in line with the OCCAR-EA support strategy, making it clear that there was a very closely aligned strategic vision for the aircraft between the two organisations.

Both parties agreed to continue their fruitful exchange on a regular basis.

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19 février 2014 3 19 /02 /février /2014 13:50
Le général Valentin visite l’équipe de marque A400M à Orléans

Le général Pascal Valentin, commandant l'EATC, en visite au sein de l'équipe de marque A400M


19/02/2014 Armée de l'air


Le général Pascal Valentin, commandant l’EATC (European Air Transport Command - commandement européen du transport aérien) s’est rendu sur la base aérienne 123 d’Orléans, mercredi 12 février 2014, au sein de l’équipe de marque A400M (Multinational Entry into Service Team - MEST).


Au cours de ce déplacement, le général Valentin a visité les installations abritant le nouvel avion de transport de l’armée de l’air. Le général Valentin a également recueilli les premières impressions des aviateurs ayant pris part à la série d’expérimentations menées depuis l’arrivée du premier exemplaire de série de l’A400M dans l’armée de l’air, à l’été 2013.


À terme, l’EATC doit devenir le plus grand utilisateur de l’A400M Atlas. En effet, plusieurs dizaines d’appareils européens de ce type opèreront sous le contrôle opérationnel de l’EATC.


L’EATC est un commandement multinational dont le but est de mutualiser les moyens de ses pays membres dans le domaine du transport aérien militaire. La Belgique, l’Allemagne, le Luxembourg, les Pays-Bas et la France mettent une partie de leur flotte à disposition de ce commandement.


Retrouvez plus d’informations sur l’implication de l’EATC dans la mise en service de l’A400M ici.




Le général Pascal Valentin, commandant l'EATC, visite la cabine du simulateur A400M en compagnie du Lcl Creuset, chef de la MEST

Le général Pascal Valentin, commandant l'EATC, visite la cabine du simulateur A400M en compagnie du Lcl Creuset, chef de la MEST

Le simulateur de soute d'A400M présenté au général Valentin

Le simulateur de soute d'A400M présenté au général Valentin

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4 décembre 2013 3 04 /12 /décembre /2013 10:50
Rapport d’information sur l’Europe de la Défense (synthèse)


27 novembre 2013 Assemblée Nationale


Déposé en application de l’article 145 du Règlement par la Commission des Affaires Etrangères sur l’Europe de la Défense, et présenté par Mme Elisabeth GUIGOU, Présidente





Lors du prochain Conseil européen, les 19 et 20 décembre 2013, les 28 chefs d’État et de Gouvernement de l’Union européenne examineront les moyens de relancer l’Europe de la Défense. Ce rapport a pour objet de permettre à la Commission des affaires étrangères d’apporter sa contribution à cette réflexion collective.


L’émergence de l’Europe de la défense est difficile, mais absolument nécessaire pour au moins cinq raisons :


1. Le « pivot » américain doit conduire à un engagement européen plus important dans la gestion des crises.


2. Les nouvelles menaces appellent une coopération européenne.


3. Les contraintes budgétaires exigent davantage de mutualisation et de coopération.


4. La base industrielle de défense européenne doit être préservée et consolidée.


5. Enfin et surtout, l’Europe de la défense contribue à l’influence de l’Europe dans la mondialisation.


Les avancées qui ont été réalisées dans les années 90 et au début des années 2000, du traité de Maastricht au traité de Lisbonne, ont malheureusement fait long feu.


Des décisions ont eu le mérite de faire avancer l’Europe de la Défense dans le passé.


Par exemple, les relations avec l’OTAN sont désormais clarifiées, puisque, selon ce cadre, il est admis que l’Union puisse intervenir militairement, soit avec les moyens de l’OTAN, soit avec des moyens nationaux, mais toujours de manière autonome par rapport à l’Alliance atlantique.


Autre avancée importante sur le plan conceptuel, le Royaume-Uni a, par la déclaration de Saint Malo, reconnu en 1998 qu’une politique de défense commune peut se développer au sein de l’Union européenne.


Le Conseil européen d’Helsinki, en 1999, a fixé l’objectif à l’Union d’être capable de mener à bien les missions de Petersberg, avec des forces devant atteindre l’effectif de 50 à 60 000 hommes, dotées des capacités nécessaires de commandement, de contrôle et de renseignement, ainsi que, en cas de besoin, d’éléments aériens et navals.


De réelles avancées au plan industriel ont été réalisées comme la création d’EADS à l’été 2000, ou le lancement, en 1991, des études du programme A400M.


Le traité de Lisbonne offre à la PSDC  une panoplie complète d’instruments (SEAE, coopération structurée permanente, etc.).


Ces difficultés ne sont pas propres à l’Union européenne. Il n’y a pas d’un côté une Alliance atlantique qui marche et une Europe à la traîne.


Tout d’abord, les interrogations croissantes sur l’opportunité du recours à la force concernent aussi bien les États-Unis que l’Europe. Une sorte de brouillard stratégique s’est levé progressivement depuis la crise irakienne. Cette guerre a ouvert un cycle de défiance croissante à l’égard des interventions extérieures qui a pris de l’ampleur au gré des crises : afghane, libyenne puis syrienne. L’intervention au Mali constitue une exception, dans la mesure où les objectifs militaires de l’intervention se sont accompagnés d’une stratégie politique et de développement crédible.


La baisse des budgets de défense en Europe a par ailleurs atteint un seuil critique et conduit à des ruptures capacitaires chez certains de nos partenaires, le Royaume-Uni en particulier. La rapporteure formule le vœu que la loi de programmation militaire soit respectée, sans quoi les capacités françaises pourraient elles aussi être mises en cause.


Enfin, la nouvelle stratégie américaine se caractérise par la fin de la guerre contre le terrorisme, mais aussi par un pivot vers l’Asie et un moindre engagement des États-Unis au Proche et Moyen Orient. L’envoi de troupes américaines sur des théâtres extérieurs est devenu plus qu’improbable. Les Américains demandent en conséquence aux Européens d’assurer davantage leur propre sécurité et celle de leur voisinage.


À ce contexte général s’ajoutent bien entendu les difficultés propres à l’Union européenne, l’absence de consensus entre ses membres sur les questions de défense.


Le Royaume-Uni est toujours sur une opposition de principe à l’intégration européenne ce qui n’empêche pas une coopération bilatérale très forte entre ce pays et la France. La crise budgétaire a conduit à de sérieuses réductions des capacités militaires britanniques.


La Pologne est entrée dans une phase de prise de distance à l’égard de l’Alliance atlantique qui l’a conduite à se rapprocher de l’Europe. C’est aussi l’un des rares pays européens à avoir une politique d’équipement ambitieuse. Mais la vision stratégique polonaise demeure essentiellement continentale, la Russie demeurant perçue comme une menace.


Quant à l’Allemagne, c’est une sorte de puissance militaire en sommeil. En effet, elle s’est, à partir des années 1990, engagée dans le maintien de la paix au-delà de ses frontières, mais l’emploi de la force demeure un tabou qui inhibe les dirigeants allemands, partagés entre le pacifisme et la conscience des responsabilités que l’Allemagne devrait assumer. Néanmoins, l’Allemagne dispose d’un budget militaire appréciable et la transformation de l’armée allemande est réelle.


Ce sont les raisons pour lesquelles l’avenir de l’Europe de la défense se situe au moins autant de l’autre côté du Rhin que sur l’autre rive de la Manche.


Les propositions sur les trois volets du Conseil européen de décembre 2013


Volet 1 : inciter l’Europe à davantage s’impliquer dans la gestion des crises, y compris dans leur dimension militaire.


Un consensus a émergé en faveur de ce que l’on appelle « l’approche globale », c’est-à-dire l’idée que la gestion des crises suppose la mobilisation et la coordination de divers instruments militaires et civils. La France soutient naturellement cette orientation, mais défend aussi la ligne que les outils militaires ne doivent pas être dilués ni dénaturés par cette approche.


Quatre sujets sont particulièrement importants.


1. L’avenir des groupements tactiques européens


Les groupements tactiques (Battle groups) de l’Union Européenne sont les seuls instruments de projection militaire de l’Union Européenne. Comme ils n’ont jamais été utilisés, certains États veulent les transformer en outils civilo-militaires alors que la France souhaite qu’ils demeurent des outils combattants, aptes à entrer en premier sur un théâtre d’opération. Ce rapport propose que l’on examine la possibilité de mettre ces groupes à la disposition de l’ONU, dans la phase préalable au déploiement d’une Opération de maintien de la paix (OMP) de l’ONU.


2. La plateforme d’aide à la décision


L’Union européenne et ses États membres devraient disposer d’une appréciation unique et commune de la situation de niveau stratégique, afin de faciliter la prise de décision, de permettre une meilleure synchronisation des actions de l’Union sur le terrain et de mesurer la performance de celle-ci. L’Allemagne et la Pologne sont favorables à ce projet ; en revanche les Britanniques sont réservés en raison de leur prévention à l’égard de tout ce qui ressemble à un état-major européen.


3. La rationalisation des moyens européens


Le Conseil doit réfléchir aux moyens de renforcer les pouvoirs de coordination de la Haute Représentante afin que l’Union puisse perfectionner les instruments qu’elle utilise pour mettre en œuvre l’approche globale de gestion des crises. Le fait, par exemple, que le SEAE planifie et conduise des actions de gestion de crise sans avoir le contrôle des instruments financiers de gestion de crise limite considérablement l’efficacité de son action.


4. Se préparer aux défis opérationnels


Le Conseil n’a pas pour objet de décider de nouvelles opérations, mais d’essayer de définir des stratégies ponctuelles.


Ainsi, la France propose une Stratégie de sûreté maritime de l’Union européenne afin de valoriser une approche globale et cohérente des sujets maritimes en capitalisant sur le succès de la mission Atalante. La nouvelle stratégie aurait comme champ d’intervention le golfe de Guinée où l’on constate un développement de la piraterie.


Le Conseil est également saisi de propositions dans les domaines de la cyberdéfense, du spatial et de la sécurité des frontières.


5. La question de la mutualisation financière des opérations extérieures


Cette question ne sera pas abordée lors du Conseil européen de décembre mais il serait logique d’aboutir à une plus grande mutualisation des dépenses induites par les opérations militaires qui contribuent à la défense européenne (élargissement du mécanisme Athena ou contributions volontaires à un fonds OPEX).


Volet 2 : améliorer le développement des capacités


La diminution des budgets militaires n’a pas spontanément abouti à une mutualisation des moyens. Le réflexe naturel lorsque les budgets baissent est de les réserver à l’industrie nationale. Il est paradoxalement plus facile de faire de la coopération dans le domaine des programmes d’armement lorsque les moyens sont en hausse.


Trois sujets sont particulièrement importants.


1. Le ravitaillement en vol et l’extension de l’EATC


L’initiative européenne sur le ravitaillement en vol est un projet emblématique de la démarche qui vise à optimiser le processus d’acquisition d’équipement et à mutualiser leur emploi. Elle peut se combiner avec une extension de l’EATC, structure de mutualisation des moyens de transport aérien militaire.


En proposant que l’EATC prenne en charge le ravitaillement des appareils qui assurent la composante aérienne de sa dissuasion, le ministre français de la Défense fait preuve d’une réelle volonté de faire progresser la mutualisation.


2. Les drones


La France a choisi d’acquérir 12 drones Reapers fabriqués aux États-Unis, décision qui, le Royaume-Uni, l’Allemagne et l’Italie disposant déjà de Reapers, ouvre la possibilité de créer un « club d’utilisateurs européens » et de coopérer sur l’entrainement et la formation. Cela a été acté le 19 novembre 2013, entre le ministre français de la Défense et ses collègues allemand, grec, espagnol, italien, néerlandais et polonais. L’objectif, à terme, est de développer, à l'horizon 2020, un drone MALE européen de nouvelle génération, dans le cadre de l'Agence européenne de défense (AED).


3. Il serait utile de mettre en place des incitations fiscales qui n’existent pas dans l’Union.


Volet 3 : renforcer l’industrie de défense européenne


La Commission européenne a préparé un texte qui comporte un aspect positif, celui de mettre l’accent sur les concepts d’autonomie stratégique, de l’accès aux technologies et de la sécurité d’approvisionnement. Cela répond à la demande française de définition de la base industrielle et technologique de défense européenne (BITDE).


Il faut être vigilant à ce que la Commission ne produise pas de nouvelles normes, par exemple sur le contrôle des exportations. Cette logique bureaucratique, qui conduit à un empilage de normes, est dommageable pour les industries européennes car elle constitue un frein à l’initiative et à l’innovation et affecte in fine la compétitivité.


Enfin, certaines pistes proposées dans la communication de la Commission européenne présentent le risque de traiter la défense comme les autres marchés, alors que sa spécificité est incontestable puisque les Etats sont les seuls clients.


Les propositions pour une « feuille de route »


Le Conseil européen de décembre doit amorcer une nouvelle dynamique de la politique de défense au plus haut niveau politique de l’Union européenne, en prenant des décisions immédiates et concrètes mais aussi en définissant des objectifs et le calendrier des étapes à franchir dans les années qui viennent.


Le Conseil européen de décembre ne sera un succès que s’il propose une vision politique à moyen et à long terme, avec une « feuille de route » ambitieuse que les Etats s’engagent à respecter.


Le suivi des évolutions rend nécessaire de mettre en place des rendez-vous réguliers du Conseil européen consacrés à la défense, au moins tous les ans.


Cinq éléments devraient être présents dans cette feuille de route.


1. Faire le bilan de ce qui existe déjà et de ce qui fonctionne


Il faut éviter les débats trop institutionnels ou philosophiques qui ne débouchent au mieux qu’à très long terme et se concentrer sur les possibilités que nous offrent les traités pour avancer efficacement (possibilités offertes par la coopération structurée permanente ou l’article 44 du traité sur l’Union européenne), sur les opérations civiles et militaires achevées ou en cours, et sur les progrès concrets réalisés dans le domaine industriel.


2. L’élaboration d’une nouvelle stratégie européenne de sécurité


Le rapport sur la Stratégie européenne de sécurité, rédigé sous l’autorité de Javier Solana, remonte à 2003. Cette stratégie a été actualisée en 2008, et c’est aujourd’hui le seul texte de référence sur le rôle de l’Union européenne dans le monde et sur une conception commune des menaces.


Il serait souhaitable que le Conseil européen donne un mandat aux institutions de l’Union européenne qui seront renouvelées en 2014 et de les charger d’ici 2015 de définir une stratégie européenne de sécurité.


3. Clarifier la relation entre la Commission européenne et les Etats membres


Aujourd’hui la Commission européenne intervient à deux niveaux dans le domaine de la défense : dans le domaine industriel et dans le domaine de la gestion de crise. Au niveau industriel, il faudra à l’avenir chercher à mieux coordonner les Etats membres, la Commission européenne et l’Agence européenne de défense et à ne pas traiter la défense comme les autres marchés, alors sa spécificité est incontestable puisque les Etats sont les seuls clients. En matière de gestion de crise, les capacités de l’UE sont donc réparties entre différentes entités de la Commission et non regroupées au sein du SEAE.


Il serait donc utile que ce Conseil européen initie une réflexion sur la clarification des relations entre la Commission et les Etats membres sur ces deux sujets, car cette absence de cohérence globale entre la politique et les moyens d’action est dommageable pour l’efficacité et la visibilité de l’action extérieure européenne.


4. Relancer de grands programmes en coopération.


Actuellement, la coopération en matière d’armement est faible. Or, c’est une nécessité pour les Etats européens, afin qu’ils puissent acquérir des équipements de défense, et pour les industriels, afin de maintenir des compétences technologiques de pointe.


5. Approfondir le partenariat euro-américain


La politique des États-Unis constitue l’un des facteurs majeurs d’évolution de la donne stratégique mondiale, qu’il s’agisse de leur positionnement énergétique ou de leur plus grand intérêt pour la zone asiatique. Pour l’Union européenne, les États-Unis restent le partenaire prioritaire.


Le Conseil européen devrait charger le SEAE d’initier une réflexion sur les options possibles pour approfondir le dialogue stratégique entre l’Union et les États-Unis, sur tous les aspects de leurs relations, bien au-delà de la relation classique et nécessaire entre l’Union et l’OTAN.


La France a donc une responsabilité historique lors de ce Conseil européen : présenter des propositions, lancer des initiatives concrètes et s’assurer que les décisions prises ne resteront pas sans lendemain.


Pour cela, trois conditions doivent être préalablement remplies. D’une part, la volonté politique des autorités françaises doit être suffisamment forte pour saisir cette opportunité. D’autre part, la France doit être à l’écoute de ses partenaires, afin de déceler les ouvertures possibles et éviter de générer des blocages par des propositions qui seraient mal perçues. Enfin, la France doit faire œuvre de pédagogie pragmatique pour expliquer les enjeux et les risques d’un déclassement stratégique de l’Europe.

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