Besides the AILMC, a week long CATO Functional Integration Training Course (FIT) is provided annually by the Italian Air Force. The FIT is targeted at junior Air Movements personnel to provide them with the skills and knowledge necessary to integrate successfully when working in a Multinational environment. The initial CATO FIT training event took place at Villafranca AB (ITA) in October 2011. In 2012, VOLCANEX provided the opportunity to train the MN Air Movements personnel who deployed to Vouziers AB (FRA) in the set up and operation of a Deployed Operating Base CATO. The 2013 and 2014 EAG and Other Logistical Focuses The EAG has been founded with the aim to improve the operational capabilities of the Parties’ Air Forces to carry out operations in pursuit of shared interests, primarily through mechanisms which enhance interoperability.
The idea behind this is that nations are able to support and/or to complement each other during operations or exercises by applying the plug-and-play principle. This should lead to a more effective operation using fewer resources and with a smaller logistical footprint, and therefore also lead to cost savings. However, that is easier said than done, as there are many interoperability challenges amongst the various nations. The EAG has always been very pro-active in the area of Air Movement, Fuels and deployed Airfield support.
FIT 2015 event took place in ITA and covered basic Air Movement operations, such as Aircraft loading/unloading and the documentation and preparation of items of air freight prior to loading. The FIT provides a key source of training for Airmen and Junior NCOs who are liable to deploy in support of MN Exercises and Out Of Area operations by providing familiarization with the equipment and procedures used by other EAG nations. In 2015, FIT provided pre-deployment training to personnel who were nominated to support the large scale NATO Exercise TRIDENT JUNCTURE where the EAG sponsored a CATO capability to one of the main APODs. Alongside with this, a couple of FIT were run during the exercise as new personnel were arriving.
There is a well-recognised need to ensure that all Movements Personnel from the EAG Nations are trained to operate in the multinational operational environment. Personnel need to be familiar with a wide variety of SOPs, Air Cargo Handling Equipment and the procedures used to support the wide range of Air Transport (AT) aircraft currently in use. As Spain and Italy recently joined the EATC some of the EAG Air Movements tasks will transfer gradually to the EATC starting with the projects related to Interoperable Load Clearance (ILC).