Spain joins European Air Transport Command

Spanish visitors for EATC at Eindhoven. (Image © Dennis Spronk)
Spanish visitors for EATC at Eindhoven. (Image © Dennis Spronk)

Spain formally joined European Air Transport Command (EATC) on Thursday 3 July 2014 during a ceremony in Eindhoven, the Netherlands. EATC was formed in 2010 and oversees operations of over 150 transport and air-to-air refuelling aircraft from the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, France, Germany, and now also Spain. Negotiations with Italy are ongoing and the country is expected to join EATC in 2016.

The Spanish membership now means EATC has Spanish C-130 Hercules, Casa CN235 and C295 plus Boeing 707 and Airbus A310 refuelling aircraft at its disposal, next to a variety of aircraft from other participating countries.

Training course
EATC is organizing the European Advanced Air Transport Training Course (EAATTC) in Spain next September. The new course provides a higher level of interoperability, increases harmonization and knowledge of tactical training, and is quite similar to the well known Tactical Leadership Program (TLP) for fighter aircraft. Stage for the first EAATTC will be Zaragoza airbase in Spain.

Only last month, another EATC-exercise was held at Plovdiv airbase in Bulgaria. Ten aircraft en twenty aircrew from ten countries participated in this exercise, featuring Hercules, Transall en Casa transport aircraft.

The future of EATC holds the new Airbus A400M tactical airlifter, on order from France, Belgium and Germany. The air-to-air refuelling task will mainly be in the hands of Airbus Multi Role Tanker Transport (MRTT) aircraft. But first, further interoperability requires more dialogue. “Improvement will only come by dialogue,” according to EATC.

© 2014 Airheadsfly.com editor Elmer van Hest

This C-130H is impatiently waiting for it's crew, because it wants to FLY, even it already serves the Belgian Air Force for 40 years now! (Image © Dennis Spronk)
Belgian C-130 Hercules operations are also overseen by EATC. (Image © Dennis Spronk)
Flying flags in front of the ETC building at Eindhoven. (Image © Dennis Spronk)
Flying flags in front of the ETC building at Eindhoven. (Image © Dennis Spronk)