Most of 2020 EATC training programme had to be cancelled because of Covid-19 restrictions. What are EATC’s plans for 2021 and the intention to offer practical and effective training and exercises to the member nations’ air forces and to partners?
We talked to EATC’s Head of Training and Exercise, who gave us a first insight into his plans. He also offered us a glance into the planned list of 2021 events.
Lieutenant-Colonel Guillaume, EATC was obliged to cancel most trainings and exercises for 2020. How did this cancellation impact EATC and the nations?
It is very unfortunate that we had to cancel most activities, such as our AAR* training. We planned to run EART** for the first time out of Eindhoven and had started a close coordination with the Spanish air force to pool EART with a multinational Spanish fighter exercise. The cancellation entails that we will have a delay on the planned training objectives that are now planned for 2021.
On the other hand, we are glad that we can support ETAC during two ETAP-I*** courses this November and December 2020. This is only possible because ETAP-I is conducted with simulator, thus gathers a very limited number of trainees.
What about the 2021 programme?
EATC plans to run the training and exercise programme throughout the whole year 2021. We will do our utmost to adapt to pandemic situation and to avoid further delay. As an example we intend to organize both CATT and ACATT**** courses twice in 2021 in order to compensate 2020 cancellations.
And how do you meet the challenges that the pandemic puts on you and the trainings?
The challenge is different for simulator or classroom events and for multinational live trainings. The latter put a major challenge on us as they entail close interaction with a large number of participants. So for instance EATC is currently looking closely into the possibilities to increase the offer on e-learning for trainings such as EART or DART*****.
We rely on host nations to organise these events in cooperation with EATC and propose adequate protocols to comply with COVID. My team is in direct contact with the multinational and national counterparts to find solutions that include for example running the courses in less infected regions.
* Air to air refuelling
** EART - European Air Refuelling Training
*** course for instructor pilots
**** (Advanced) Combined Air Terminal Training
***** Disabled Air Recovery Training