With representatives of Belgium, France, Germany and Luxembourg in attendance, the Netherlands Minister of Defence will officially open the European Air Transport Command (EATC) at Eindhoven Air Base in the Netherlands on 1 September 2010. Aim of this new multinational initiative by Belgium, France, Germany and the Netherlands is to contribute to a more efficient use of air transport and air-to-air refuelling capacity. The EATC will be responsible for all aspects of military air transport, ranging from the early planning until the end of mission execution and controlling.
The command will also ensure highest levels of standardization, training and flight safety. The command comprises of a headquarter located on Eindhoven Air Base in the Netherlands which will exercise operational control of more than 200 air transport and air-to-air refuelling aircraft of the four participating countries. The aircraft will continue to operate from their home bases. The pooling of so many assets under one single command emphasizes an unprecedented level of multinational military cooperation in Europe. This initiative will result in more efficient use and better operational output of available military airlift capacity and will be a big step forward in the integration of European military air transport.
The EATC is established in accordance with the European Security Strategy and the Headline Goal 2010 which sets common objectives for EU military capability development. After the signing of a Letter of Intent in 2006, the EATC Technical Arrangement was signed earlier this year by the four nations. The EATC is potentially open to the participation of more nations in the future. Spain has observed the establishment of the initiative from the outset, while Luxemburg has signed the Letter of Intent.
German Air Force Major General Jochen Both will become the first commander of the EATC. He will take command on 1 September after having received the commanders’ mandate from the governing body of the EATC, the Multinational Air Transport Committee. The command will have a staff of initially 160 personnel and will make use of innovative Management of European Air Transport software to direct and control all flights under its responsibility. The EATC will be initial operational capable before the end of this year and fully operational capable in 2011.