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The EATC Annual Fleet Review 2021*

In a nutshell, the year 2021 was ... again ... characterised by the COVID-19 pandemic. Although major exercises were once more cancelled or sized down, 2021 showcased an increase of almost 10% in flight hours compared to 2020, outperforming the number achieved in the pre-COVID 2019 year (+2.5%).  One of the reasons is the redeployment of ISAF and the evacuation missions out of Kabul, characterised by an intensified mission generation.

2021 was marked by a decrease of the total number of aircraft in the portfolio. This decrease, combined with a larger number of total flight hours, is mainly due to ...

The tactical fleet ...
... that realised an increased amount of flight hours, while keeping the number of missions nearly constant. As a matter of fact, the new state-of-the-art assets are more capable and more efficient than the legacy types. Or in other words, you need less assets for the same output.

In 2021, Germany, Spain and Belgium bid farewell to the respective C160 and C130 assets. The French C160 era came to an end in 2022. On the other hand, nine new A400M aircraft joined the EATC portfolio: three each for Belgium and Spain, two for Germany, and one for France. Today, the EATC portfolio comprises a total of 75 A400M aircraft from these four nations plus one asset from Luxembourg.

The wide body fleet …
has a higher availability than the tactical fleet. This is mainly due to the different role and less demanding employability of the aircraft and consequently a lower maintenance burden. In 2021, the fleet executed more flight hours than in pre-COVID times.

While the Dutch KDC-10 and Germany A310 were decommissioned, the EATC portfolio welcomed two new A330 MRTT aircraft in 2021, imbedded with the multinational MRTT unit (MMU). Another two are expected for 2022.

The narrow body fleet …
… is composed of only three assets permanently under EATC authority: two Belgian Falcon 7X and one Dutch Gulfstream G4, that is planned to be replaced in 2023. In 2021, this small fleet reached nearly the same level again as pre-COVID.

A focus on air-to-air refueling…
The fleet is composed of strategic and tactical assets. In 2021, most of the missions were performed by the A330 MRTT from the MMU (38.4%) followed by the Italian C130J and KC767 assets (35%).

2022 and beyond…
A continued challenge in tactical capabilities is expected. Primary reason being that deliveries and maintenance requirements cannot compensate immediately the decommissioning of the C130/C160 fleets in numbers. Regaining the same level or higher is a build-up process, already on the right track. On the other hand, new prospects are opened with a further expansion of the more capable A400M fleet and the ramp-up of the binational C130J squadron in Evreux.

With the MMU ramping up and reaching IOC in 2022, the wide body fleet will offer multiple opportunities to the member nations. The MMU is confirmed as the main provider for AAR missions. Moreover with the A400M reaching full AAR clearances with all the user nations, EATC’s portfolio will offer an increased AAR capability.


* The EATC “Annual Fleet Review 2021” details the employability of each type of aircraft, also specifying the availability, executed flight hours and number of missions performed during the year 2021.


The EATC Annual Fleet Review 2021*

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