European transport command opens for business

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A new organisation tasked with co-ordinating the military transport and air-to-air refuelling activities of four European air forces has begun operating at Eindhoven air base in the Netherlands.

Inaugurated on 1 September by Dutch defence minister Eimert van Middelkoop, the European Air Transport Command (EATC) is a collaboration between Belgium, France, Germany and the Netherlands. Luxembourg and Spain have also signalled their intention to participate.

The EATC's main task will be to co-ordinate, plan and task the use of roughly 200 transport and tanker aircraft, with secondary responsibilities to cover training, standardisation and maintenance activities.

 
© Michiel van Herten/Sentry Aviation News
EATC assets will include French air force C160 Transalls

To replace planning centres in each of the participating nations, the command aims to optimise efficiency, for example by avoiding empty or duplicate flights while capacity is already available.

German air force Maj Gen Jochen Both is the first commander of the organisation, which will total between 150 and 200 staff from the partner nations.

The event attracted Dassault-Breguet C160 Transalls from the French and German air forces, Lockheed Martin C-130s from Belgium and the Netherlands and a flypast by an Airbus Military A400M.