The European Defence Agency (EDA) has announced support for two Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO) projects to enhance the future airlift capabilities of its member nations’ forces.
The two projects, called Future Medium-Size Tactical Cargo (FMTC) and Strategic Air Transport for Outsized Cargo (SATOC), were launched in the fourth cycle of the PESCO projects.
Participating member nations in the FMTC project include France, Germany, Spain and Sweden while SATOC projects include the Czech Republic, Germany, France and the Netherlands as its project members.
EDA’s contribution, which initially spans the next two years, will involve the harmonisation of various requirements of the participating member nations for mid-sized and outsized transport platforms.
Harmonising the requirements is expected to prevent delays caused by design changes and excessive versioning, eventually cutting the overall lifecycle cost.
EDA will also draft a ‘joint document’ carrying accurate common guidance to support the research and development effort for the new platform.
Tactical transport aircraft is a crucial part of the fleet, primarily deployed to conduct various logistics, medical evacuations and special missions.
The European air forces currently operate different tactical cargo aircraft, including C-130 Hercules aircraft, C-295 transport aircraft, and C-27J aircraft, which are soon approaching the end of their lifecycle in the upcoming decade, except for A400M strategic-tactical cross-over aircraft.
The FMTC intends to develop next-generation tactical air mobility for the EU member nations’ armed forces by determining common needs and providing necessary elements for a mid-size cargo platform.
Meanwhile, the SATOC project will address participating countries’ strategic transport needs for outsized and heavy cargo.
This project has a three-step approach, including the identification of project members, harmonising requirements, and finalising a common European solution for the transport of outsized cargo.