A total of 11 Nato members have joined forces to create a pilot training network across the European continent.

The initiative comprises Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Montenegro, Greece, North Macedonia, Portugal, Romania, Spain and Turkey.

The Defence Ministers of these countries have signed a letter of intent (LoI) to establish the Nato Flight Training Europe (NFTE) initiative.

As agreed, the 11 nations will now explore the options in setting up a network of training facilities for fighter jet, helicopter and drone pilots. The initiative will also leverage existing training infrastructure in participating nations.

In a statement, Nato said: “Several smaller European Allies have annual pilot training requirements at a scale that does not justify the establishment or continuation of national flight centres.

“The multinational NFTE initiative will address the requirements of these nations.”

Additionally, the step is expected to reduce training costs as well as increase interoperability among participating forces.

Nato deputy secretary-general Mircea Geoană said: “This multinational cooperation will increase European training facilities and enable air-crews to train closer to home.

“As such, it serves as an excellent example of transatlantic burden sharing.”

Nato is an intergovernmental military alliance, which includes 30 North American and European countries.

Last month, Nato agreed to increase Covid-19 testing capacity in Afghanistan. The move involved delivering an additional GeneXpert 16 Covid-19 testing laboratory, along with three technicians.

Nato troops also took part in a training programme with the British Royal Air Force (RAF) and Spanish Air Force last month.