Since the beginning of the month, a Belgian detachment of roughly 130 persons is located at the French Airport Francazal in the vicinity of Toulouse. The European Air Transport Command (EATC) was able to share permanently some three to four Belgian Hercules - out of the 11 Belgian C130 in total - for this years Belgian Air Block Training (ABT).
Because of the harmonization process initiated by the EATC, cross participations from one nation to another gets more and more reality: For the first time, also a French C160 participates in training.
The aim of the training is to permit young pilots to obtain qualifications in the tactical domain and to become “combat ready”. More than this also consolidating of existing qualifications or regaining them is important issue.
“The maintenance detachment has done a good job”, says Major Passagez, director of operations of ABT. “ The availability of the aircrafts are really good and we succeed in making two to three waves per day. With six to seven crews available every day, we can train here in one month more than we can train in one year in Belgium.”
One of the ABT crew members seconded: “On Friday we leave France, then - the week after - I have a short week off. And on the following Monday we already start for European Air Transport Training. Let’s hope that the weather in Plovdiv is as good as here in Toulouse and that we can fly as much in Bulgaria as we did here in France …”
The harmonization of standards will also be one the scopes of the EATT – the third European Air Transport Training which will take place from 16 to 27 June 2014 at the International Airport in Plovdiv (Bulgaria). The next training event is also already on scope: For the first time EATC runs - initiated by the European Defence Agency (EDA) - the European Advanced Air Transport Training Course (EAATTC) at Zaragoza Air Base end of September.
Find more about ABT on the Belgian Air Force website here.
Words: Pascal Ballinger
Picture: Belgian Air Force