2017-03-12 There are many ways to burden share within NATO.
An especially good one is to enhance operational support through joint investments and joint support commands.
This is clearly the case with the European Air Transport Command.
The European Air Transport Command (EATC) is the command centre that exercises the operational control of the majority of the aerial refueling capabilities and military transport fleets of a consortium of seven Western European countries.
As of January 2015, the combined fleet under the authority of the EATC represents 75% of the European air transport capacity. Located at Eindhoven Airbase in the Netherlands, the command also bears a limited responsibility for exercises, aircrew training and the harmonisation of relevant national air transport regulations.
The command was established in 2010 with a view to provide a more efficient management of the participating nations’ assets and resources in this field.
According to a story on the EATC website, recently the EATC supported Spanish Eurofighters on their way to Red Flag 2017 and transport assets supported them to Nellis AFB as well.
On 18 February 2017, eight Spanish Eurofighters (EFA2000) took off from Morón (Spain) to Nellis Air Force Base in Nevada in order to participate in the US multinational training RED FLAG 2017.
On the way to the US, they were air-to-air refuelled over the Atlantic sea by two Italian KC-767A tankers, providing about 360.000 pounds of fuel to the eight fighters.
Moreover, a French A400M and three Spanish C130 assets transported personnel and cargo to Nellis Air Force Base.
RED FLAG 2017 will end on 11 March 2017 and at the end of the training, the Italian tankers will again escort the Eurofighters refuelling them for their return to Spain.
Payment by Spain to Italy and France will be done through the ATARES (Air Transport & Air-to-air Refuelling and other Exchange of Services) arrangement.
This arrangement facilitates mutual support through the exchange of services without any monetary exchange. ATARES is the main currency used among the EATC member nations to support each other.
The pivot point of this excellent multinational cooperation lies with EATC: EATC commanded and controlled the Italian, French and Spanish air transport and air-to-air refuelling assets on behalf of Spain, thus enabling an effective interaction between all partners and executing a successfully coordinated mission.
And this is exactly what EATC stands for: effective pooling and sharing between its member nations. Spain expressed the need for air-to-air refuelling and additional air transport assets.
Sharing the complete EATC multinational fleet among the seven member nations, the needed air-to-air refuelling and transport capabilities were pooled together and put at the Spanish disposal.
EATC facilitated the cooperation by choosing the asset which fitted the requirements of the Spanish mission best and by running the mission on behalf of Spain.
Another example of successful and efficient pooling and sharing of air transport assets among EATC member nations.