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European Defence Agency Reflects on the Need for Greater Harmonisation in Military Airworthiness

Paris - 19 June, 2013

Greater harmonisation in military airworthiness between European Member States could lead to significant cost and time savings as well as improved interoperability and other operational benefits. A common approach to the type-certification of military aircraft, together with approvals of airworthiness organisations and personnel, is essential for future Pooling & Sharing activities. During the high-level seminar on military airworthiness, organised on 18 June by the European Defence Agency (EDA) at the Paris Air Show “Le Bourget”, key European decision-maker’s discussed the enablers and perceived barriers to increased cooperation.

European Member States previously operated military aviation safety systems independently from each other, with each Member State being individually responsible for the regulation of their own military and state aircraft. As a result, military airworthiness activities were conducted and regulated on a national basis, with European harmonisation only being achieved at an individual programme level and having to be repeated and developed for each new programme. This generated many challenges for multinational aircraft programmes and has been identified as one of the primary causes of delays and additional costs. 

The EDA Military Airworthiness Authorities (MAWA) Forum was established by Defence Ministers in 2008 to harmonise the European military airworthiness regulations of Member States through the establishment of European Military Airworthiness Requirements (EMARs) for implementation into national military regulations. The MAWA Forum comprises of representatives from the Military Airworthiness Authorities of Member States and industry representatives. It is chaired by the EDA.

High-Level Seminar

The Agency’s high-level seminar aimed at increasing key European decision-maker’s awareness and visibility of the achievements made to date in the area of military airworthiness and exploring the next steps. The EDA MAWA Forum has for example approved three European Military Airworthiness Requirements (EMARs): EMAR 21 for the initial and continued certification of military aircraft – including the approval of the design and production organisations, EMAR 145 covering the approval of maintenance organisations and the activities they undertake and EMAR 147 detailing the responsibilities of organisations responsible for the training of maintenance personnel. The EDA MAWA Forum has also approved other supporting documents and is on-track to deliver the complete set of EMARs by the end of 2015. 

Panellists in the seminar included high level representatives from the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), European aerospace industry, Ministries of Defence and National Military Airworthiness Authorities. The event also provided an opportunity to reflect on the progress made towards delivering the ‘Roadmap Objectives’ given to the EDA MAWA Forum by European Defence Ministers. 

The discussions addressed the political implications of this activity, areas for closer cooperation with EASA, together with governmental, industrial, and European National Military Airworthiness Authorities’ views on the positive impact that increased harmonisation will have on current and future military airworthiness activities.

Basic Framework Document

Additionally, several Member States provided their national approval and restating their commitment to the principles of the updated “European Harmonised Military Airworthiness Basic Framework Document” which defines the role and functions of the MAWA Forum. The previous version of the document had been nationally approved by 20 Member States and with the addition of Poland today brings the total to 21 Member States. Further national re-approvals are anticipated over the next few weeks. The document clarifies the principles of a common approach to military airworthiness and addresses issues such as the mutual recognition between National Military Airworthiness Authorities which is essential to realise the expected benefits from regulatory harmonisation. 

“EDA has received the mandate by Defence Ministers to work towards the harmonisation of military airworthiness. In close partnership and cooperation with the MAWA representatives from the National Military Airworthiness Authorities, we have created the necessary regulatory framework and principles. What we need now is additional political will for the next step: the implementation of the EMARs into national military regulations in order to achieve mutual recognition between Member States”, said Giampaolo Lillo, Armaments Director of the European Defence Agency, during the meeting.

Thumbnail photo credits: Cassidian Air Systems

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Participating Member States

  • Belgium
  • Bulgaria
  • Czech
  • Germany
  • Estonia
  • Ireland
  • Greece
  • Spain
  • France
  • Croatia
  • Italy
  • Cyprus
  • Latvia
  • Lithuania
  • Luxembourg
  • Hungary
  • Malta
  • Netherlands
  • Austria
  • Poland
  • Portugal
  • Romania
  • Slovenia
  • Slovakia
  • Finland
  • Sweden