IN THE EUROPEAN AIR GROUP’S 20TH ANNIVERSARY YEAR, AIR CHIEFS MEET TO DISCUSS INTEROPERABILITY, IN BRUGES, BELGIUM, ON 6 JUNE 2018
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 in Bruges in Belgium on 6 June. This year is particularly significant for the European Air Group, as it is the Twentieth Anniversary since it was established in its current form in 1998, and this milestone was celebrated in a ceremony conducted during the Meeting.
The Steering Group is the highest governance body for the European Air Group and provides top level direction and guidance for its work. This latest Meeting was hosted by the Belgian Air Force, which was represented by Major General Vansina and was conducted under the Chairmanship of Lieutenant General Vecciarelli (Italy) who is the current Director of the European Air Group and Chief of Staff of the Italian Air Force.
The aim of the Steering Group Meeting was to discuss the progress and development of the European Air Group’s many projects and activities across the four Air Group domains of current interest, which are Air Operations, Force Protection, Logistics and CIS/ Cyber. The discussions included the Combined Air Interoperability Programme, which the Steering Group endorsed in 2017 to address the challenges resulting from integrating new 5th generation weapon systems with existing 4th generation technologies in multinational operations. The Meeting also discussed the development of a common vision on future training and military requirements in the context of the Single European Sky initiative. The outcomes of this meeting will enable work in these domains to move forward with confidence and direction and will be put into action by the Permanent Staff and specialists from the seven Nations during the coming year and well beyond.
The current Director, Lieutenant General Vecciarelli emphasized that: ‘4th generation technologies will continue to constitute over 70% of our combined airpower assets for many years to come, while the process of introducing 5th generation assets and bringing them to operational maturity continues. The EAG plays a vital role in addressing all of the interoperability issues related to this combination of capabilities, which will be crucial for delivering integrated effects, and for setting the conditions for success in future coalition operations. This work also contains a positive and concrete narrative for joint and political decision makers, providing leverage for the incredible potential and synergies in 4th-5th generation operations that we are responsible for implementing’.
The primary purpose of the European Air Group is to promote interoperability among its seven air forces, and it primarily focusses its efforts on delivering tangible outputs at tactical and operational levels. During the past twenty years, it has generated many highly successful air power initiatives across a spectrum 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 also formed the basis for subsequent developments on a substantial scale, including the European Air Transport Command and the European Personnel Recovery Centre.
Much of the Air Group’s day-to-day work is carried out by the Permanent Staff, based at RAF High Wycombe in the United Kingdom, comprising representatives of the seven participating air forces. For more information about the European Air Group, visit its Website at www.euroairgroup.org