On the 1st January 2018, the European Air Group achieved a milestone of 20 years since it was first established. In 1998, the European Air Group superseded the previous Franco-British European Air Group through an inter-governmental agreement by the respective French and British Ministers for Defence. The establishment of the European Air Group laid the foundation for expansion and the organization subsequently grew to comprise its current seven Member Nations: Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain and the UK.
The Group’s mission is to provide solutions for interoperability between its Members air forces, so that they are able to operate as one across the spectrum of conflict. To do this, it operates under the direction of a Steering Group composed of the Air Chiefs of the seven Member air forces. It cooperates with its members, other nations and associated organizations to generate tangible products at the tactical and operational level that are of direct and lasting benefit to participants.
Among its many achievements during its twenty years of existence, the Group has been the catalyst for the formation of organizations such as the European Air Transport Command and European Personnel Recovery Centre. It has also grown to become a vital focal point for multinational Force Protection exercises and the coordination of the highly successful Advanced Aviation Medicine Training Course, which is the only one of its kind in Europe. A prominent feature of its work are its exercises, which are conducted under the umbrella title of ‘VOLCANEX’. This name stems from the Group’s very first exercise, which was conducted in a location that was rich in volcanic rocks.
Today, the Group is engaged in many projects across four principal domains: air operations, CIS/ Cyber, Force Protection and Logistics, and has recently embarked on a new Combined Air Interoperability Programme, which aims to address the future challenges posed by operating combinations of 4th and 5th generation air systems. The Group’s governance includes the top level Steering Group and a Working Group, augmented by a One Star Forum. It networks and cooperates extensively with other nations and multinational organizations, including HQ NATO, NATO HQ AIRCOM, the Joint Air Power Competence Centre, the European Defence Agency and many others.