News BlogReport

It's summer, the European pilots are training

Family photo of the crews participating in the EATT 2012 (© EATC European Air Transport Command 2012)(BRUSSELS2) A large-scale joint exercise brought together several air transport aircraft pilots, from six different countries (*), in Zaragoza, from June 4 to 15. A first ! Called EATT 2012 (European Air Transport Training Event), this exercise aimed toimprove interoperability, test in flight the concepts, techniques and strategies developed in the “cocoon” of the European Defense Agency and the EATC, the European Air Command in Eindhoven.

During these two weeks, several tactical scenarios were simulated, at the rate of two daily sorties: dropping packages, launching an assault on rough terrain, low altitude navigation, patrol flight or even night operations. The second week focused on direct combat scenarios, including extraction missions and mid-air attacks by Spanish F-18s to test defense capabilities. An exercise carefully observed on the American and NATO sides, which « widely encouraged » this exercise. For Americans, interoperability of its allies, both in terms of skills and equipment, is indeed essential. Harmonizing at European level thus represents for them “considerable interest” not only at the strategic level but also at the financial level, as explained by a European officer who participated in the exercise. The aim of the exercise was therefore equalment to test compatibilities with NATO, for example by carrying out landings on NATO markings.

But there is still a long way to go

At the material level, there are big differences between nations and the exercise only points the finger at them. We must then resolve “ these differences ". At the level of skills, the same observation: there is no “ european certificate » which would ensure that pilots have the same skills. But the European Defense Agency “ work ". From 2014, training will be provided on a permanent basis at European level (European Advanced Airlift Tactics Training Course, EATTC) based on the model of what the United States has been doing since… 1984! And the EATT should be larger in 2013, with more participants but also even more varied scenarios. The Agency is also working with Member States to develop a European skills certification system. It remains to be seen at what level of security, explains our officer: because between patrol, search and rescue, and direct combat, the level of skills required is not the same!

(*) Six Member States participated in this joint exercise: Belgium with a Hercules C-130, the Czech Republic with a CASA 295, France with a Hercules C-130, Germany with two Transall C-160s), the Low with a Hercules C-130 and finally the host country, Spain with a Hercules C-130 and a Casa 235, as well as four F-18s for simulated air attacks. Austria, Bulgaria, Italy and Norway were also present as observers. In total, around 200 people were directly involved in the exercise.

Here is a video of the exercise:

Article to follow on the HOT BLADE 2012 exercise: It's summer, European pilots are training (2).

Read also: Roaring engines in Zaragoza

B2 Writing

© B2 - Bruxelles2 is a French online media that focuses on political Europe (powers, defence, foreign policy, internal security). It follows and analyzes developments in European policy, unvarnished and without concessions. Approved by the CPPAP. Member of SPIIL. Please quote "B2" or "Bruxelles2" in case of recovery