The year 2023 started with a change in EATC’s command group: on 09 January, Belgian Brigadier General Patrick Mollet, took up his position of Deputy Commander. A few months later, in September, EATC welcomed the new Commander and Chief of Staff, French Major General Franck Mollard and German Brigadier General Frank Thomas Best.
…were not long in coming. Over the year, EATC conducted nearly 8.000 missions, including support in the context of the war in Ukraine and redeployments from theatre of operations, particularly from Mali and Niger. Following the terrible earthquake that hit Türkiye and Syria in February and the devastating floods in Libya in September, EATC stood ready to facilitate to support the nations’ efforts, transporting rescue teams, supplies, humanitarian aid or field hospitals. EATC also increased its efforts to support the nations to evacuate nationals from Sudan in April and Israel in October. Accurate organization to fly the evacuees back to Europe was required.
In summer, exceptional operational assignments showed up, such as the exclusive support to the multinational exercise Air defender 23, led by the German Air force. A few months later, EATC supported the complex and elaborate deployment of ten Italian assets over 10.000 km to Japan, including air-to-air refuelling missions. And of course, the opposite direction, back home. What a challenge!
Lighthouse Project, training events, and much more…
…were also at the top of the agenda. Throughout the whole year, EATC continued to organise and lead various multinational trainings and courses. A special highlight was the air-to-air refuelling training, EART, which took once again place in Lanzarote in combination with the Spanish fighter exercise Ocean Sky 23.
2023 was definitely the year of EATC’s “Lighthouse Project” with the first official event performed within the framework of the ETAP-C in France. This was a decisive milestone for A400M cross activities! The second event took place in September, in connection with the US Green Flag 23 exercise.
More is to come in 2024. One of EATC’s challenges will be the huge Indo-Pacific deployment of French, German and Spanish air forces. Taking advantage of a intermediate stop in Alaska, EATC plans to lead, for the first time, an out-of-Europe EART and to step-up the implementation of the “Lighthouse-Project”. Stay tuned!
“A fantastic opportunity for EATC to support fleets through
multinational maintenance and ground handling.”
Major General Mollard, Commander EATC
…distinguished the year 2023. First of all the EATC nations and the EU signed a unique technical arrangement giving the EU quick and first-hand access to the EATC air mobility portfolio. In this framework, EATC tasked and controlled the first mission in November, transporting humanitarian aid mission for the benefit of the Gaza strip population.
Another highlight was EATC’s first aeromedical evacuation day, gathering 80 medical experts from the member nations, NATO Allies and international organisations. EATC also offered a static display of various assets in medical configuration, including the MMU A330 MRTT that was, no later than June 23, officially declared ready to execute aeromedical evacuation missions. EATC’s portfolio of about 150 assets also saw the arrival of the new Dutch Gulfstream, five additional A400Ms* and three A330-MRTT for France. In 2024, ten additional C-130Js, A400Ms and A330 MRTTs will be delivered to the nations and in due time included into the EATC portfolio.
Concepts and interoperability…
….complete EATC’s successful year 2023. EATC celebrated the 10th anniversary of the “Ground Operational Manual” (EGOM). Congratulation! The new edition 2024 has just been published this January on our webpage. Moreover the first A400M “Cross-Maintenance Operations Manual” (EXOM) was released in 2023. This manual is an important step into multinational cooperation and in particular into options to share maintenance teams. Another important milestone was the approval by the seven member nations of EATC’s “Concept of Operations”, giving a clear view on EATC's role from planning to execution of operating air mobility assets.
*2 DEU, 2 FRA, 1 ESP