European air-to-air refuelling training delivers results

The 2015 edition of the European Air-to-Air Refuelling Training (EART), which was hosted by the Netherlands from 13 to 24 April in Eindhoven airbase, has allowed tanker crews from four European nations to benefit from a dedicated training event in a realistic environment.

Initiated by the European Defence Agency and run by the European Air Transport Command (EATC), EART15 gathered air-to-air refuelling (AAR) aircraft from France, Germany, Italy and the Netherlands.

Over the course of the event, 56 sorties were flown by the tankers which conducted over 240 contacts with receiver aircraft. These included F-16s, F/A-18s, F-15Cs and Eurofighters – all involved in the multinational fighter exercise “Frisian Flag” on the back of which EART15 had been set up.

This exercise is about increasing interoperability by working together”, Peter Round, EDA Capabilities, Armament and Technology Director, stressed during a Distinguished Visitors (DV) Day organised on 23 April in Eindhoven. “AAR is a critical enabler for all operations, and only through cooperation will we be able to increase European capabilities in this domain”, he added.

Fruitful cooperation

Brigadier General Pascal Chiffoleau, EATC Chief of Staff and Deputy Commander, also provided comments on the successful event: “EART15 is the result of a fruitful cooperation between EDA and EATC working together to develop common knowledge”, he said. “We must continue staging exercises such as this one to further develop AAR but also air transport capabilities in Europe”, he added.

Other activities are ongoing to increase European AAR capabilities, such as the Multinational MRTT Fleet (MMF) initiative led by the Netherlands and supported by the EDA and EATC.

Late last year, the Netherlands, Poland and Norway agreed to enter negotiations with Airbus for the purchase of four A330 MRTT multirole tanker/transport aircraft which will be commonly owned, operated and supported. “This initiative will provide access to a cost-effective MRTT capability in support of EU, NATO and national operations”, Johan Van Soest, Eindhoven airbase commander and Chairman of the MMF Steering Group, explained during the DV Day.


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