Military fixed wing air transport (AT) in general and air to air refuelling (AAR) in particular are assessed as critical capability shortfalls.
On the occasion of the European Defence Agency Steering Board meeting in Brussels on 22 March 2012 Defence Ministers declared the willingness to support the further development of European AAR capabilities and a better coordination of current and future capabilities. Among other it was stressed, that for the short-term the wider use of existing European AAR capabilities - building on existing procedures and models - is foreseen.
Furthermore the representatives of the four EATC nations agreed during the MATraC (Military Air Transport Committee) meeting in Eindhoven on 9 May 2012 to task the EATC in chairing a working group to deal with the employment / operational aspects of AAR.
As a consequence the multinational Multi Role Tanker Transport and Air to Air Refuelling Operational Employment Working Group (MRTT/AAR OEWG) almost convened for its constituting meeting at the EATC on Eindhoven Airbase.
As one pillar of the EDA initiative the MRTT/AAR OEWG’s general objective is to harmonize and where necessary to develop procedures and related processes to employ existing and future multi-role platforms in their dual AAR and AT role.
The first working session under the lead of the EATC will take place on the 26 and 27 September 2012.
Text: Francois Monard/Norbert Thomas