The European Defence Agency (EDA) has opened the new European Tactical Airlift Centre (ETAC) in Zaragoza, Spain.
The establishment of a permanent operational base for advanced tactical airlift training marks a major step forward in European defence cooperation and joint collaboration.
EDA stated that Zaragoza has become the home of the European Air Transport Fleet (EAFT) programme that seeks to increase the EU’s airlift capabilities by addressing shortages and increasing interoperability.
The transfer of ETAC by the EDA is said to be one of the largest project transfers to one of its Member States on a permanent basis.
EDA chief executive Jorge Domecq said: "This new centre is the culmination of six years of development in the EDA.
"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.”
Belgium, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Germany, Spain, France, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Portugal and Norway will jointly plan, organise and execute advanced airlift courses, training and symposia. This will be carried out in different locations, including France, Italy, Bulgaria, Portugal, and Sweden, by using a permanent lean command and control structure based at Zaragoza.
The ETAC will employ experts from the different participating nations on a rotational basis.
The first batch will comprise Spanish, Italian, German and French officers, who will be replaced within three to four years with staff from the remaining signatory nations.
Image: The ETAC is a permanent operational base for advanced tactical airlift training. Photo: courtesy of European Defence Agency.