The Operational Division manages all processes related to the execution of EATC Air Transport missions. This encompasses the complete process of planning, tasking, controlling and analyzing missions to meet the Participating Nations’ needs. During the process, the most suitable air assets under the EATC’s operational control are selected and tasked to execute AT missions while striving to fulfill the received requests as efficiently as possible. The Operational Division consists of different branches, each dealing with specific aspects of the Air Transport Mission cycle.
Long Term Plans Branch
The Long Term Plans Branch assesses and processes Air Transport (AT) and Air-to-Air refuelling (AAR) requests and standing requirements to produce AT plans accordingly. A bi-yearly conference with the EATC Participating Nations (PNs) is held to pre-determine future AT requirements and consider them as far in advance as possible to assure an efficient use of available assets. Possible shortfalls or overlapping requirements are identified and actions are taken to negotiate them.
Incoming AT requests (ATRs) with an execution date of more than 5 weeks in advance are processed and checked for correctness and completeness by the personnel. When validated, the ATR receives the status “in planning” and the planning and tasking process starts.
Due to the large number of ATRs handled by the EATC it is also necessary to prioritize the incoming requests. Understandably, the whole process requires close links with the involved National Movement and Transportation Coordination Centres (NMTCCs). In summary, the work done in the Long Term Plans Branch is the first step to generate synergies and guarantee the best use of the assigned resources in order to fulfill the task given to the EATC by its member nations.
Five weeks before the intended execution of an air transport mission the Tasking Branch takes over further mission preparation. Within the Tasking Branch the final Air Transport Mission Order (ATMO) is produced, specifying in detail timings, payload, diplomatic clearances, routings, handling information etc. Then the ATMO is forwarded to the executing units. All the work put into the ATMO provides the basis for a successful mission execution.
In order not to waste precious and always critical planning time, ATRs received within 5 weeks before the desired execution date are directly handed over to the Tasking Branch after having gone through initial checks by the designated Long Term Plans personnel.
The Tasking branch is divided in two regions: one takes care of missions in Europe as well as all VIP and Air-to-air refuelling (AAR) flights, the other handles missions outside Europe. On the one hand, this distribution provides about an equal share in the work load and on the other hand, it maximizes the situational awareness of the planners to make the best use of assigned assets.
Finally 24 hours before the planned take off, all missions are handed over to Mission Control (MSCN) for execution.
Mission control Branch
The Mission Control Branch is manned 24/7 around the year. Mission Control or “Micon”, as it is known through the EATC, monitors all flight activities under the responsibility of the EATC. Should a mission not run according to plan, which is quite frequently the case, Micon takes charge and troubleshoots and by doing so brings missions to a successful end.
Micon also plays a crucial part in handling unforeseen events or urgent ATRs reaching the EATC 24 hours before the intended execution. In a shortened cycle Micon is capable to plan flights and produce ATMOs to provide air transport on short notice whenever the need arises.
Analysis and Reporting Section
The Analysis and Reporting (A&R) section is the tool of the division head to constantly improve the air transport processes conducted within the EATC. It studies and analyses mission reports and produces statistics which are made available to the nations and the EATC commander. Shortfalls are indentified and critical indicators are established and monitored in order to increase the efficiency of the assets assigned to the EATC by its member nations.
On top of this, A&R is also responsible for the ATARES accountancy of exchanged flying hours and services between the EATC nations.
The Intel Branch monitors the security situation around the world and more particularly in the areas EATC assets are employed or which are possible future destinations. The Intelligence Branch already advices the planners during the planning phase. With a constant watch on the intelligence picture, the Intel Branch provides warnings to Mission Control over the often fast changing security situations and by doing so, they play a crucial role for a successful mission execution and the safe return of the crews.
Aeromedical Evacuation Control Center (AECC)
To plan transports or more urgent evacuations of injured or sick personnel by air assets, a team of Flight Surgeons is permanently available at the EATC. Taking into account the specific requirements of aeromedical transports, the AECC Team assesses and approves possibilities to conduct aero medical flights. Then, in close coordination with the other EATC branches, our doctors match the medical requirements for the transport and treatment of patients with the specific airlift capabilities available. After that, aircraft are tasked and controlled to provide the best means of transport in regard to the support needed . Beside the mostly urgent aeromedical evacuation missions, the branch also contributes on a wider spectrum to the development of standardized procedures and cross national certifications in the aeromedical evacuation domain. The expertise assembled in the EATC in this field of work is widely recognized and respected.
The MEAT Branch consists of a team of IT developers and application managers who develop and maintain a unique software that is at the heart of the EATC’s AT process: MEAT, as it is known or in long the “Management of European Air Transport” tool is constantly improved to adapt to the needs arising from the ever changing air transport world but also out of the ongoing enlargement process of the EATC.
Deployed throughout the EATC nations, MEAT is the tool to manage and support the whole AT process – from ATR to ATMO – to Analysis and Reporting.
To find out more about Operational Division's branches turn over to our chapter Competence.