The European Air Group Steering Group, comprising the Chiefs of Staff or their representatives of the Air Forces of Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, and the United Kingdom, met virtually on 07 July.
The Steering Group is the highest governance body for the European Air Group and meets annually to provide high-level direction and guidance for its work. The 2021 Meeting was due to be hosted in Madrid by the Chief of Staff of the Spanish Air Force and chaired by the Belgian Air Component Commander, who holds the current directorship. Regrettably, due to the response to the COVID-19 pandemic, which continued to enforce travel restrictions across Europe, the decision was taken to convene the Steering Group utilising video-teleconferencing between the seven Nations, enabled by the Permanent Staff of the European Air Group, based at RAF High Wycombe (UK).
The primary purpose of the European Air Group is to enhance operational capabilities among its seven Air Forces, focussing its efforts on delivering tangible outputs primarily through improving interoperability at the tactical and operational levels. Since 1998, it has generated many highly successful air power initiatives, ranging from technical enablers and training through to air operations, many of which have been tested and improved during the highly successful VOLCANEX exercises. Some of its work has formed the basis for subsequent developments, including the European Air Transport Command and the European Personnel Recovery Centre.
The work of the European Air Group is spread across the four European Air Group current domains of interest, which are Air Operations, Force Protection, Logistics and CIS / Cyber. The aim of the Steering Group Meeting was to discuss the progress of the European Air Group’s many projects, and for direction to be given to the Permanent Staff for future work. The requirement to continue this important work was emphasised in order to overcome difficulties imposed by COVID-19, and the Steering Group was updated on the changes to ways of working in response to the pandemic. Looking forward to the next 12 months, the EAG has put a focus on developing 12-month plans for each project with defined outputs, timeline and specific activities to ensure that the European Air Group is in the best possible position for the future ‘post COVID-19’ World. Notwithstanding the pandemic, several projects have moved to the next phase and new proposed projects have been approved such as an initiative to support TACEVAL evaluation and to hold an Air Warfare Centre (or equivalent) Symposium later in 2021. The outcomes of this Steering Group meeting will enable work in these domains to move forward with confidence and direction, and will be put into effect by the EAG Permanent Staff and specialists from the seven Nations during the coming year and well beyond.
For more information about the European Air Group, visit our Website at www.euroairgroup.org