On Thursday 18 January 2018, the European Defence Agency (EDA) achieved a significant milestone within its Education, Training and Education portfolio with the deployment and linking of Medium Altitude, Long Endurance, Remotely Piloted Air Systems (MALE RPAS) desktop simulators in France and Italy. The deployment to Italy completes the first tranche of up to nine systems, which will be distributed across European military RPAS Schools and Centres of Excellence that will allow networked collaborative training. The aim is to build over time a European MALE RPAS community of interest to improve procedures, tactics and to harmonise training approaches.
The project was developed by the EDA under the mandate of the European MALE RPAS Community (DE, EL, ES, FR, IT, NL and PO) and is a joint effort with the European Air Group (which also includes BE and UK) in which the EDA is delivering the RPAS training technology demonstrator equipment and the EAG is producing training schedules to exploit the new system. This will enhance interoperability between Member States who currently field MALE RPAS platforms and those that aspire to the capability within a 5-10 year timeframe. The roll out of the systems will run in parallel with an increasingly ambitious virtual exercise programme that will provide opportunities for joint training and the cross-fertilisation of training approaches as instructors will teach lessons across the network to students at the dispersed sites. The project will run for four years initially as a Training Technology Demonstrator and has already attracted additional interest from other Member States.
The EDA has for some time supported Member States ambitions in several areas of Education, Training and Exercise activity. The Agency is not a long-term training provider as such, but operates as a training consultancy, establishing business cases underpinning new initiatives for Member States to consider and setting up contracts on their behalf as required. Once initiatives have reached a sufficient level of maturity and are consolidated, they are transferred to a Member State or multinational organisation willing to take over administrative responsibilities and to ensure their longer term development. The Agency has achieved notable success in advanced helicopter exercises and training, airlift, energy management, armaments cooperation and its latest venture into training for unmanned systems.