PLOVDIV, Bulgaria --- The third annual European Air Transport Training (EATT 14) got under way today in Plovdiv. This is the first time the event is being held in Bulgaria.
In the framework of the European Air Transport Fleet (EATF) partnership another airlift training event is organised by the European Defence Agency (EDA) in close cooperation with the host nation, the participating countries, and European Air Transport Command (EATC). EATT 14 brings together 460+ participants, 19 crews, and 10 transport aircraft of 5 different types, from 10 different countries. Greece is also supporting the training event with F-16’s and an AEW&C aircraft.
The overall objective of the training is to achieve a far reaching level of interoperability between tactical airlift users in the area of operations and training. Day and night missions will be held throughout the next two weeks, these will develop on an increasing complexity basis - starting with single ship missions and evolving to multiple ship formation and missions.
Eleven participating countries
The participating countries are Belgium, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Italy, Lithuania, The Netherlands, Spain, Norway, and Greece. Austria, Finland, Hungary, Portugal, Romania, Sweden, UK, and USA are sending observers, with some of them indicating their intention of joining the exercise next year.
Helping to fill an important gap
The aim of the EATF is to alleviate the existing airlift shortfall in the EU as well as to identify potential projects to optimize cooperation and coordination amongst air forces in the area of operations and training.
In that scope the need for airlift training is obvious with EATT 14 being the only multinational airlift training in Europe. It works along other EDA supported training initiatives such as the European Advanced Airlift Tactics Training Course (EAATTC), which will take place in Zaragoza for the first time in September 2014. It also aims to boost an important enabler for multinational missions and operations, as does the European Air-to-Air Refuelling Training (EART) which was held in Eindhoven for the first time earlier this year.
These initiatives form one aspect of EDA’s work to help Member States to fill important capability gaps in a cooperative way. This work focuses on helping countries pool their resources, raise skill levels and share best practices between participating countries, and improve interoperability for multinational operations. This is particularly important with an ever increasing number of operations being carried out jointly.
In order to better support training activities within EU, with its recent restructuring EDA established a dedicated Education, Training & Exercise Unit in the Cooperation Planning & Support Directorate.