“Finally we received confirmation from all OUG nations regarding the signing of the Interoperability Framework”, remarks a smiling Lieutenant Colonel Stephan Wilmers, secretary of the EATC working group: “Next week - after the European Air Group (EAG) Steering Group meeting in Madrid - the OUG chairman, Belgian Colonel Mike De Coninck and Head of the EATC Operational Division, will collect the signatures of Belgium, Germany, Spain, France and the United Kingdom, represented at Air Chief - level. Luxembourg, the sixth OUG nation, not a member of the EAG nor having an air force yet, but ordered one A400M as contribution to the European Defence Capabilities, will sign at the end of July 2013. By signing this A400M Interoperability Framework nations agree, wherever possible, that the A400M is developed, managed and operated through life with interoperability at its core.
Importance of the interoperability framework
As a collaborative European project, the A400M will bring inherent interoperability advantages when working with similarly-equipped partners. It is therefore essential that partner nations maintain a common goal of interoperability across lines of development throughout the lifecycle of the aircraft.
To achieve this goal, the ETAC A400M Operational User Group (A400M OUG) will develop and maintain a living document that identifies key areas where signatory nations endeavour to work closely together to promote effective interoperability for efficient mutual support. The different parties on this framework - among them EATC Participating Nations like Germany, France, Belgium and Luxembourg as well as Spain and the United Kingdom - will reflect with this future paper their will to use together the synergistic effort the new aircraft provides, guiding the A400M OUG in the pursuit of cost savings and guarding against increasing the technological complexity of the programme or the endorsed investment levels.
Effective strategic and tactical air mobility is a key requirement for military operations abroad.
The A400M offers a method of rapidly deploying forces over strategic distance - and is therefore a key enabler for the swift response to an emerging crisis, conflict or situation that requires immediate and decisive intervention.
In this regard, the A400M will become the core of the European partners’ strategic deployment of oversize freight, of intra-theatre mobility, airborne resupply, tactical air-to-air refuelling (AAR), aeromedical evacuation (AE) and of fixed wing support to Special Forces.
Therefore, it is the intention of the A400M OUG nations to achieve interoperability and efficiencies of operation through co-operation, standardization and harmonization of procedures.
Find more about EATC involvement in the A400M issue at our webchapter A400M.
Picture taken by Bjoern Trotzki.