The opening of ETAC marked the largest ever transfer of a project from the EDA to a host nation on a permanent basis. The project, the European Air Transport Fleet (EATF) Training Programme, was created by the EDA in 2011 and signed by 20 participating nations. EATF had a simple rationale: increase the EU’s airlift capabilities by addressing shortages and increasing interoperability. Following six years under the guidance of the Agency, EATF saw 87 aircrews trained, 50 tactical instructor pilots graduate, and 94 European transport aircraft involved.
ETAC: The new home of European tactical airlift
The official transfer from the EDA to ETAC was marked by a flag handover ceremony between the EDA Chief Jorge Domecq and Colonel Jose Luis Romero, the ETAC Commander.
In his address, Mr Domecq commented: “This new centre is the culmination of 6 years of development in the EDA. ETAC demonstrates exactly how the EDA enables positive defence collaboration and delivers real capability improvement for our Member States.”
Visiting delegations also attended a tactical display, followed by the graduation of 4 aircrews from three Member States (Spain, Germany, Poland) of the latest edition of the European Advanced Airlift Tactics Training Course (EAATTC 17-3), and visited the EDA’s innovate 3D-printing in defence project. The main ceremony was also addressed by HR/VP Federica Mogherini and Minister Dolores de Cospedal.
Following the establishment of ETAC, the 11 nations who are the owners of this agreement (Belgium, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Germany, Spain, France, Italy, Luxemburg, The Netherlands, Portugal and Norway), will now share the burden to plan, organize and execute Advanced Airlift Courses, Training and Symposia in different locations (France, Italy, Bulgaria, Portugal & Sweden) by using the lean command and control structure based at Zaragoza.
ETAC will be manned by experts from the different participating nations on a rotational basis. The first composition will be made up from Spanish, Italian, German and French officers, who will be replaced within 3 to 4 years with staff from the remaining signatory nations.
The EDA’s 3D-printing lab successfully deployed
As described in this magazine’s cover story (page 24), the EDA has launched in December 2016 the ‘Additive Manufacturing (AM) Feasibility Study & Technology Demonstration’ which aims to raise awareness and promote better understanding of AM’s application and potential in different military contexts, and contribute to the timely and effective implementation of 3D-printing in defence specific areas.
In creating this ground-breaking project, the EDA contracted the research centre Fundación Prodintec and MBDA France, to support a three work strand approach to AM. First of all, a desktop study was conducted which placed AM and its potential in a defence context. This first step summarised the cutting edge abilities of relevant technologies, identified existing R&T and manufacturing capabilities in Europe, and set out areas where further defence activities in different domains, such as R&T, logistics or training, should be carried out.