… is one of the key pieces to plan and execute successful missions. It is responsible for tactical missions, complementing EATC’s tasking branch with strategic, air-to-air refuelling and corporate cells.
Italian Lieutenant-Colonel Max offers us today an insight into the tactical cell and his job.
Max, what is tactical?
First of all, “tactical” is the definition for the type of mission, or part of a mission. It is usually limited to a specific area of operations where the threat situation is significant and requires special attention. Thus an aircraft, like the C-130J, may perform a tactical mission or, depending on the specificities, a non-tactical mission.
Secondly, “tactical” refers to the type of aircraft. EATC’s portfolio includes propeller driven tactical aircraft, like the Airbus A400M, the Lockheed Martin C-130J, the Alenia C27J, the CASA 235 and the CASA 295.
And what is your job in the tactical cell?
I am a team leader coordinating a multinational team of 16 experts. Within EATC’s operational process, we are responsible to prepare in detail the tactical missions. This includes the load management and an accurate check of the mission routing.
For each individual mission, my team and I take into account, among others, national requirements, flight duty regulations*, diplomatic and air traffic rules, airfield and weather specificities. This can be very complex. And then of course destinations might be “dangerous” and we need up-to-dated risk assessment. Or we face the challenge of less than ideal ground support.
As the team leader, I facilitate the work of my team, making certain that we coordinate with our counterparts and deliver professional preparation of tactical missions.
Please elaborate more about the importance of coordination?
Coordination is everything in the pre-execution phase! We are constantly drawing on the expertise of other sections in the operational division, like mission preparation for diplomatic clearance, loadmaster for the loading plan or Intel for risk assessment.
We are also working in close cooperation with the national authorities in order to take into account their requirements at all moment. If the latter cannot be fulfilled, we look together for solutions and adapt the plans.
In short, we coordinate constantly and accurately with all counterparts
Talking about challenges, what is the biggest challenge in your job?
The biggest challenge is always to prepare the best flying mission for our member nations. That means a constant strive for high quality missions and looking for synergies to satisfy our nations.
* tactical aircraft are generally slower and with less endurance compared to wide-body strategic assets