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European Air-to-Air Refuelling Training Delivers First Results

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. 

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