Eurofighter/Typhoon Interoperability Exercise – Albacete AB (Spain)
Four nations (Germany, Italy, Spain and UK) of the European Air Group (EAG) conducted a multinational exercise, VOLCANEX Eurofighter Typhoon Interoperability Project (ETIP) LIVEX 15, from 14 – 18 September at Albacete Air Base (Spain). The aim was to strengthen Eurofighter/Typhoon interoperability and standardization between the EAG nations through the use of common Standard Operating Procedures (SOP), and to familiarize ground crews on other nations AGE (Aircraft Ground Equipment) ,“Turn around” and QRA procedures. The key to success in multinational operations is a common understanding and efficient coordination and communications between nations of what to do and how to do it. The EAG, consisting of the Air Forces of Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, The Netherlands, Spain, and the United Kingdom, seeks to improve the operational capabilities of the Parties’ Air Forces to carry out operations in pursuit of shared interests. One way of achieving this goal is by developing common doctrines and procedures. VOLCANEX is the European Air Group’s name for current and future multinational exercises on which it seeks to refine and validate its developed products and procedures.
AIM OF VOLCANEX ETIP LIVEX 15
VOLCANEX ETIP LIVEX 15 was a week-long exercise primarily focused on achieving a common EAG SOP for Air Operations and to improve familiarisation through the exchange of best practices among aircrew and maintenance personnel of the Eurofighter/Typhoon community. The live Air Operation Exercise was conducted under the ‘Eurofight Technical Agreement’ at the Spanish Air Force Base of Albacete, taking advantage of the concomitant deployment of nation’s aircrafts for the Tactical Leadership Programme Flying Course. The exercise, hosted by the 14 ALA of the Spanish Air Force, was directed by EAG personnel, together with the senior national representatives. The level of experience amongst the participants allowed to the exercise objectives to be achieved quickly and in particular to establish a usable and valid SOP for Eurofighter/Typhoon operations. A ‘bottom-up’ / operator-led approach encouraged participants to explore the specific tools needed for further development of interoperability within the community. A full week’s programme focused on interoperability where daily aircrews compared, discussed, and validated in flight, common procedures throughout the missions spectrum. Meanwhile goundcrews had the opportunity to familiarise with launch and recovery (see off/in) and QRA procedures and to demonstrate their own national AGE.
A total of 8 very highly experienced pilots and more than 18 engineers/groundcrew personnel took an active part in VOLCANEX ETIP LIVEX 15 and 28 total sorties were flown. ‘The achievement of a Common SOP is a milestone in the development of future combined training and operations for the Eurofighter/Typhoon community. `For instance, we are providing a useful tool for the operators to be employed in the Baltic air-policing mission where the four nations are currently involved.` said Lt Col Jacobo Lecube, member of the EAG permanent staff and Exercise Director. It was also the first time that this Exercise was focused on 1st line maintenance interoperability issues, providing not only the opportunity to discuss and share best practices, but also to observe and practice together in order to identify possible tools and ways ahead for a better interoperability on future combined scenarios.