EATC Assisting International Missions
The European Air Transport Command’s (EATC) potential is constantly rising. With a whole (assigned) fleet of 21 different aircraft types in stock, the multinational command of the seven Participating Nation’s (PN) AT- fleet located at Eindhoven Air Base, the EATC has risen to an important player in the European military AT- domain.
Today the EATC has an enormous impact on military AT, providing a fleet which is flying worldwide to support all important missions like ISAF in Afghanistan, KFOR, UNIFIL or ATALANTA - to name a few. Moreover, EATC assigned aircraft also share assets in the framework of AFISMA, EUTM Mali, ACTIVE FENCE in Turkey and - finally - Operation SERVAL. Although EATC may not allways carry out operational control (OPCON) in some area of operation (AOR), it is always a major player for transporting material from Europe to the African continent and back.
An example: Assistance for Operation Serval: As of end of November 2013, precisely 207 missions have been carried out under EATC OPCON, transporting 33.272 passengers and 2410 tons of cargo to the four airport hubs at Dakar (Senegal), Bamako (Mali), Abidjan (Ivory Coast) and N’Djamena (Chad).
To support the strategic transport close to the mentioned African hubs (see map above) French wide-body Airbus A340 and A310 as well as EATC assigned Hercules and Transall have been charged several times to deploy troops for Operation SERVAL, Belgian A330 deployed troops to Africa and Turkey on EATC assets, a German Airbus A310 MRTT tanker aircraft as well as three C-160 Transalls were made available for MINUSMA/AFISMA in order to supply French fighter aircraft with fuel and to deploy ECOWAS troops to Mali. Therewith the EATC expresses its will, not only to offer effective tools (aircrafts), but also its engagement to share its aircraft for important mission purposes.
Finally the Netherlands sent their KDC-10 and Hercules to Bamako and N’Djamena. Within these EATC assets the Dutch Air Force did not only transport own personnel and goods, but also German soldiers and material for their missions abroad.
An EATC assigned KDC-10 supplies an AWACS aircraft
on the way to the Ukraine/Russian border
EATC was also in charge within other military operations during its small history. Even on “non military”- assets EATC was used as provider, e.g. to fly out Japanese citizens hit by the Fukushima disaster, to transport and build up a field hospital on the Philippines (Hurricane Hayan) or to evacuate European citizens out of South-Sudan.
But especially the support to Operation Unified Protector (Libya) proved the validity of the EATC concept - with all EATC Participating Nations contributing to the overall effort.
The EATC is already a reference in the AT-domain. The above given figures prove the importance of the EATC for operations far abroad - simultaneously on different continents. The EATC’s successful example of Pooling and Sharing (of assets) will become even more improved with the arrival of the A400M. As biggest operator of the new aircraft the EATC will be able to optimize its whole assigned fleet in the field of both effectiveness and efficiency.
Words: Norbert Thomas
Pictures and grafics: Dutch Air Force, EATC