The Airbus A400M contract was launched in 2003 to respond to the Air Transport (AT) - needs of seven nations within OCCAR (Belgium, France, Germany, Luxemburg, Spain, Turkey and UK). The versatile aircraft will offer a wide range of capabilities to the EATC Partner Nations with regard to Tactical and Strategic Air Transport, Medical Evacuation and Air-to-Air refuelling.
The EATC will be by far the biggest user of the Transall-successor and therefore has a strong interest in accomplishing a smooth introduction of the new aircraft into its assigned fleet. On yesterdays meeting at the Eindhoven Air Base the national specialistsand the EATC made a big step ahead in training matters.
While entry into service is a national responsibility, France and Germany acted early on implementing the new transport aircraft into several countries by providing an unique opportunity for future operational cooperation.
France and Germany - joined by Belgium representing Luxembourg - requested the EATC to take the lead in coordinating and harmonizing the national work on pilot- and loadmaster training and - at the same time - to work on a common operations manual.
General Valentin’s words: "This opportunity will only arrive every 30 or 40 years in transport aircraft fleets”, reflect the importance of this meeting for the EATC as well as for any single invited Air Force.
The kick-off meeting for this project took place at Eindhoven Air Base almost last week, but work will continue in an intensive matter during the next 18 months to deliver the required documents in close parallel with the arrival and capabilities of the new aircraft.
Text: Gerd Finck, Norbert Thomas
Pictures by Airbus Military