At the meeting of the Steering Board on 23 April 2013, Ministers of Defence noted the good progress some of the European Defence Agency’s key initiatives made in recent months. Notably, Pooling & Sharing priorities Air-to-Air Refuelling and satellite communications as well as the EDA’s work as regards implications of SESAR for the military were discussed.
Air-to-Air Refuelling (AAR)
EDA is facilitating four complementary and parallel work-strands for short- medium- and long-term solutions to the AAR requirement. The first pillar concerns the use of short-term commercial solutions. For the second pillar, EDA together with Italy and the Movement Coordination Centre Europe (MCCE), is promoting a multinational approach using the Italian KC767 as a test case for a collective AAR clearance campaign to be concluded in September 2013 with a flight trial. This will help establish a process for collective AAR clearances on future AAR platforms. The EDA is also working with the UK on access for other Member States to unallocated hours in the UK Voyager programme. The third pillar involves A400M kits.
For the fourth pillar - Multi-Role Tanker Transport (MRTT) – the objective is on the basis of pooled national requirements, to provide a European strategic MRTT capability from 2020. This builds on the Letter of Intent signed by nine Member States (BE, EL, ES, FR, HU, LU, PL, PO, NL) and NO at the Steering Board on 19 November 2012. This work is being led by the Netherlands..
EDA is developing a concept for “Secure Telecom by Satellite” where, through Pooling & Sharing, significant savings could be achieved. Because of the dual-use nature of satellite communications, EDA proposes to examine how jointly funded activities could be launched in close cooperation with Member States, the European Commission and ESA.
With the adoption of the Implementing Regulation on Common Projects for the deployment of SESAR, the defence community will be involved on a more systematic basis. It will also need to anticipate at political and at technical (equipment and technologies, commonalities with civilian users, funding opportunities, etc.) levels.
In this context, EDA is proposing to establish an Ad Hoc Category A (opt-out) programme for SESAR implementation to reinforce expertise in EDA, increase coordination among Ministries of Defence and with other organisations, including NATO, and generate collaborative ad hoc projects.