Today marks the start of the sixth European Air Transport Training (EATT2017). Hosted by Portugal, several hundred military personnel from Portugal, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Poland, Romania and the United Kingdom will train from June 19 to 30 at Air Base 11 (AB11) in Beja. This multinational exercise was initiated within the framework of the European Air Transport Fleet Programme of the European Defence Agency (EDA) and will be executed by the newly founded European Tactical Airlift Centre (ETAC) and supported by the European Air Transport Command (EATC).
The overall objective of this exercise is to achieve a high level of interoperability among air transport capable EDA Member States by exposing their crews to a complex operational environment, in which to practice their procedures and tactics and to gain the necessary qualifications to perform tactical operations in current theatres of conflict and humanitarian relief.
EATT2017 is set up to give the participating aircrews a variety of training, from basic tactical elements like practicing assault landings and air drop procedures to complex multi-ship combat mission profiles. The planning and execution is assisted by mentors, ensuring proper application of the common tactical guidelines. In parallel, training of Combined Air Terminal Operation (CATO) personnel is taking place on the ground, dealing with cargo preparation, loading of aircraft, and administrative procedures.
Around 100 paratroopers from Germany, France, the Netherlands, Poland, and Portugal will be deployed daily by mission aircraft. From the multi-organisational staff to the multi-national contingents, EATT2017 focuses on the overarching goal of increasing the interoperability of European airlift assets through training based on agreed common procedures. With already over 100 crews having received European tactical airlift training and over 2,000 hours flown in the past five years, EATT2017 follows in this spirit, and is a tangible example of improving Europe’s military airlift provision for a strong European defence.
Assets and staff from seven Member States participate in EATT2017: Germany (C-160 Transall and A400M Atlas), France (C-130H Hercules), the Netherlands (C-130H Hercules), Poland (C295), Portugal (C-130H Hercules), Romania (C-27J), and United Kingdom (C-130J Hercules).