Embedded in the Cooperation Planning & Support (CPS) Directorate, EDA’s Airworthiness, Standardisation & Certification (ASC) Unit currently counts six staff from five EDA Member States: three working on airworthiness related topics, one on standardisation, one on defence test & evaluation and one on RPAS integration into regular air traffic. The unit coordinates and facilitates European collaborative activities between national airworthiness authorities, national test centres and standardisation organisations.

“All three areas are closely intertwined which means that the unit has to work as a genuine team”, says Edvardas Mazeikis, a Lithuanian Major General who joined the Agency early 2018 as Deputy Director and new Head of Unit. He has no doubt about the importance and benefits of more European cooperation in the ASC domains. “Working towards increased harmonisation of Member States’ activities in these critical areas not only makes operational sense, but it also saves enormous amounts of time and money”, he says.


EDA’s efforts in this field primarily focus on the Military Airworthiness Authorities (MAWA) Forum bringing together experts from each of the EDA participating Member States’ National Military Airworthiness Authorities (NMAAs) with the objective of developing a harmonised approach to the regulation of military airworthiness and synergies in the area of airworthiness oversight. The forum already delivered a full set of European Militar y Air wor thiness Requirements (EMARs) – non-mandator y standards available to Member States based on the airworthiness regulatory framework for civil aviation developed by the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) – including for aircraft maintenance training. “The progressive implementation of EMARs into national regulations and the mutual recognition between NMAAs is key in paving the way for more and deeper cooperation. Since EMARs have no real equivalent outside the EU they could even become a worldwide standard for Military Airworthiness”, stresses Mr Mazeikis, referring to non-EU nations like Australia that The Enablers have adopted the EMAR’s as part of their national regulations. Once a harmonised European Military Airworthiness System will have been fully developed, further steps could be taken towards the creation of a European Military Joint Airworthiness Authorities Organisation (EMJAAO).


The general approach, Edvardas Mazeikis says, is to use civilian standards even for defence needs whenever and wherever possible. “However, that rule has its limits because available standards, by far, do not always fit military needs and requirements. That’s where EDA comes in to see what can be done to develop missing standards”. For instance, the European Defence Standards Reference system (EDSTAR) and the European Defence Standardisation Information System (EDSIS) are both managed by EDA to facilitate work in the area of defence standardisation. “Defence standardisation is an integral part of European standardisation activities, which is key for Member States’ collaborative capability development and the interoperability of their armed forces”, insists Mr Mazeikis.


Test & Evaluation

Cooperation and progressive harmonisation are also the recommended way forward for Member States’ Defence Test & Evaluation (DT&E) centres to improve synergies and avoid duplication. To that end, EDA initiated the European Defence Test and Evaluation Base (DTEB), a portal where national DT&E centres can coordinate their activities. The overarching ambition is to develop a coherent network of European Test Centres offering the full spectrum of Test & Evaluation capabilities needed in Europe. This notably entails fostering collaborative activities among test centres, creating networks of excellence and systematically relating them to EDA projects. “As a starting point, we are working on creating such a network of excellence in the land domain. Air, maritime and possibly other networks could follow in the future”, explains Edvardas Mazeikis.

Ammunition testing and certification is another domain where EDA’s ASC Unit is involved in developing harmonised requirements, in particular through ENNSA, the European Network of National Safety Authorities.



The integration of Remotely Piloted Air Systems (RPAS) into regular air traffic is another important work area for the Unit, closely related to test & evaluation, standardisation and certification. Allowing all kinds of RPAS to fly together with civilian airliners and private planes in the same shared airspace is currently the most challenging task for all international and national aviation authorities. In this regard the ASC Unit fosters dialogue between Member States, industry and other relevant civil stakeholders, aimed at identifying gaps in R&T and regulation, and considering timely solutions.

This work strand relies on close interaction with project officers across EDA and with another Unit in the Agency’s CPS Directorate mandated to ensure that the needs of the military are duly taken into account in the Single European Sky (SES) and the related Air Traffic Management Research Programme (SESAR).

More about the SES/SESAR Unit in one of our next editions!