Aircrews and air transport aircraft from eight nations have been training together in Spain, in a bid to boost interoperability across Europe.

European Air Transport Training (EATT) is a European Defense Agency (EDA) project designed to harmonize and enhance airlift procedures and processes across the European member countries.

The exercise, taking place now at Zaragoza AB, Spain, involves 350 personnel, and 11 aircraft from the eight participating countries.

This is the second such EATT event, and has been designed to improve interoperability across the European member countries. The EDA points out that although such training in the fighter aircraft communities has been taking place for many years, the same cannot be said for air transport.

“Airlift training in Europe is very much done on a national level and since operating together becomes more the rule than the exception, the need to train together has grown as well,” the EDA says.

Training harmonization is crucial to the EDA’s plan to establish a European air transport fleet where, through pooling and sharing, member countries can share their transport aircraft with other member nations. Key areas of training include building skills in mission planning, airdropping of cargo and personnel, tactical navigation, threat reaction, tactical operations and short-field landings.

Countries taking part with their aircraft include Belgium, the Czech Republic, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain and Sweden. Bulgaria, Finland, Greece, Luxembourg, Norway, Portugal, the U.K. and the U.S. participate in the event as observers. The EDA says the training will become more critical as more countries take delivery of their new Airbus Military A400M Atlas transporters, which will be operated by most countries in a single configuration.

The aim is to eventually form what EDA officials call a European Advanced Air Tactical Transport Course similar in philosophy to the Tactical Leadership Program set up by 10 NATO nations. EDA officials plan to expand the scope of the exercise from next year with two EATT exercises, one again held in Spain and a second to be held in Bulgaria.