NATO and EU Jointly Conclude 1st-Ever Table Top Exercise on Air-to-Air (AAR) Clearance Request/Approval Training
Eindhoven, NLD, 23-25 January 2017. Successful transfer of fuel in mid-air is a risky business requiring agreements, known as ‘clearances’, between the entities that own the receiver and the tanker. The JAPCC, in conjunction with several other agencies, is working to streamline the complex process nations must use to establish clearances and conduct AAR.
Participants to the 1st-ever NATO and EU Air-to-Air (AAR) Clearance Request/Approval Training and Table Top Exercise (TTE) came ready to learn and collaborate. JAPCC AAR SMEs, Lt Col Edwin Markie and Maj Victoria Thomas, supported by NATO HQ/International Staff-Defence Investment, the European Defence Agency, Movement Coordination Centre Europe, and the Dutch Test Centre crafted a 3-day event aimed at education and networking.
Open to military and industry partners from the tactical to strategic levels, 74 personnel representing 16 Nations and 40 organizations were graciously hosted by the European Air Transport Command (EATC) at their Headquarters in Eindhoven, NLD. Participants learned about the technical, operational, legal and financial aspects of bi-lateral AAR clearances.
Using the knowledge gained over the first two days, attendees were divided into small groups on day three that were specifically designed to force international and inter-organizational discussions. Each group used NATO, national and TTE materials to verify the compatibility and capability of at least three sets of tankers and receivers.
Participants and facilitators compiled 10 major lessons identified, including the need for better standardization of national publications as well as more empathy and contact building between nations and organizations engaged in the AAR clearance process. Participants requested a TTE be held every year and in more Nations. Simultaneous with the TTE, EATC hosted a separate Seminar open to their seven member nations which addressed the future of EATC AAR coordination.
TTE facilitator, Capt Edward Blaauw of Movement Coordination Centre Europe (MCCE) remarked, ‘With a common mind-set and a collective approach we can all improve interoperability within our network. When working with outside agencies, proactivity and responsiveness are key elements in the AAR domain – don’t wait for others to solve interoperability challenges if you can make a difference yourself’