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EDA opens new European Tactical Airlift Centre in Spain

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World Aviation Defense & Security News - EDA
 
 
EDA opens new European Tactical Airlift Centre in Spain
 
The Head of the European Defence Agency (EDA), High Representative and Vice-President of the European Commission, Federica Mogherini, and Minister of Defence of Spain, Dolores de Cospedal, today officially opened the European Tactical Airlift Centre (ETAC) in Zaragoza, the agency said in a statement.
     
Head of EDA HR/VP Federica Mogherini opening new ETAC in Zaragoza, Spain
(Credit: EDA)
     
The opening of ETAC marks a significant step forward in European defence cooperation and joint collaboration with the establishment of a permanent operational base for advanced tactical airlift training.

Today (June 8) Zaragoza officially became the home of the European Air Transport Fleet (EATF) Training Programme in a ceremony marking the transfer of this project from the EDA to Spain. The newly created European Tactical Airlift Centre (ETAC) will serve as the permanent home for this project. Created by EDA in 2011, and signed by 20 participating nations, the EATF partnership aims to increase the EU’s airlift capabilities by addressing shortages and increasing interoperability. A flag handover ceremony between EDA Chief Executive, Jorge Domecq, and the ETAC Commander, Colonel Jose Luis Romero, marked the official project transfer of EATF training activities from the EDA to ETAC.

The opening of the ETAC represents the largest transfer of a project, created and developed by the EDA, to one of its Member States on a permanent basis. Speaking about what this transfer means, EDA Chief Executive, Jorge Domecq, said:

This is significant moment for European defence cooperation and the EDA. This new centre is the culmination of 6 years of development in the EDA, I am proud that this project has reached maturity and will be transferred to the leadership of Spain as a new and permanent host nation. ETAC demonstrates exactly how the EDA enables positive defence collaboration and delivers real capability improvement for our Member States.”

In parallel to the ETAC opening, the graduating crews of the third European Advanced Airlift Tactics Training Course for 2017 (EAATTC 17-3) were also presented with certificates by members of the visiting delegation. Four crews, representing three Member States (Germany: C160; Poland C130 and Spain: C295 and C130) received their certificates following the completion of the two-week training course. Over 120 personnel were involved including support personnel from Italy, Belgium, the European Air Transport Command (EATC) and JAPCC.

The training provided air transport crews with a focused airlift tactics training syllabus specifically designed to enhance interoperability between European air forces. Nine missions were executed, including very low level tactical flights, fighter engagement and evasive maneuvers from ground-to-air threats all trying to stop the air drops of critical cargo and paratroopers. Each crew flew an average of 20 hours in a particularly demanding environment and completed several successful tactical flights to successfully graduate from the course.