Multinational training exercises increase interoperability among participating Member States; they are an efficient way to prepare armed forces for CSDP operations. This year, the European Defence Agency is organising in close cooperation with the respective host nations, contributing Member States and Air Transport Organisations four training exercises in the areas of Air-to-Air Refuelling, transport aircraft and helicopters.
First European Air Refuelling Training
While the fighter community has trained to operate together for years, the same cannot be said for Air-to-Air Refuelling. From 31 March to 11 April 2014, EDA together with the European Air Transport Command and the Netherlands are organising the first multinational Air-to-Air Refuelling (AAR) training opportunity in support of the Dutch Frisian Flag exercise. To this date, the Netherlands (KDC-10), Germany (A310) and Italy (KC-767) have confirmed to send their tankers to the flying event which will be an excellent opportunity to train dedicated AAR scenarios embedded in a highly recognised fighter exercise. The Air-to-Air Refuelling planning cell will be split between Eindhoven and Leeuwarden air base to foster overall air refuelling planning and tanker operations.
Third European Air Transport Training
Belgium, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Germany, Spain, France, Italy, Lithuania, the Netherlands and Norway will participate in the third edition of EDA’s European Air Transport Training flying event with ten transport aircraft of four different types; Greece will support the training with fighters and AWACS. Taking place from 16 to 27 June 2014 at the International Airport in Plovdiv in Bulgaria, the training offers participants a unique opportunity to plan and execute missions within a multinational framework and achieve flexible training objectives. The crews will be trained in a variety of airlift disciplines. The aim is to increase interoperability, to consolidate existing qualifications or to regain them in a short period of time and with dedicated assets.
European Advanced Airlift Tactics Training Course
The new European Advanced Airlift Tactics Training Course (EAATTC) aims at achieving a higher level of interoperability between airlift crews from different nations; at increasing harmonisation of advanced tactical training that will lead to higher effectiveness and survivability in operations; at sharing knowledge and providing cost efficient airlift training in Europe. Based on an agreed syllabus Belgium, the Czech Republic, Germany, Spain, France, Italy, the Netherlands and Norway will participate in the first course with eight aircraft of five different types. The flying event will be hosted by Spain at Zaragoza airbase from 22 September to 03 October 2014. This permanent training event is developed in close cooperation with the European Air Transport Command and EDA Member States; it is similar in set-up to the advanced airlift tactics training course that has been offered in the US since 1987.
Hot Blade 2014
Between 16 and 30 July, the Ovar Air Base in northern Portugal will host the third sequel of the successful series of Hot Blade exercises, powered by the Helicopter Exercise Programme (HEP). Currently, some 30 helicopters, four fast jets, three transport aircraft and one Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance platform have been committed by Austria, Belgium, Germany, Netherlands, Portugal, Sweden and United Kingdom. Additional to Portuguese ground forces, 450 ground troops from the Netherlands, Germany and the United Kingdom are scheduled to participate as well allowing for a more integrated mission planning and execution. So far, roughly 50% of participant to one of the previous helicopter exercises organised in France, Spain, Italy, Portugal and Belgium have later been deployed to operations.