JAPCC Supports 6th Straight NATO Refuelling Planning Course
Poggio Renatico, 17 March 2017. The JAPCC again supported NATO’s Specialized Heavy Air Refuelling Course (SHARC). Lt Col Markie, the newest Air-to-Air Refuelling (AAR) Subject Matter Expert at JAPCC attended as a student while Maj Thomas taught her third course. The course’s 18 openings were filled by Spain, Italy, Great Britain and the United States. Instructors representing JAPCC, HQ AIRCOM, Combined Air Operations Centre Uedem and the Movement Coordination Centre Europe augmented the Deployed Air Command and Control Centre in running the course.
SHARC is a semi-annual two-week course dedicated to training NATO Joint Force Air Component (JFAC) AAR planners. The course begins with introductions to the NATO Command Structure and JFAC battle rhythm. By graduation day, students will have paired a limited number of tankers with over 200 individual receivers while managing maintenance, aircrew rest cycles, and national or technical limitations. Graduates must be interoperable on any JFAC AAR team so instructors vary the practical groups daily to engrain the necessity of standardization and ensure maximum exposure to differing national perspectives.
While generic JFAC staffing courses are offered, only SHARC educates personnel how to operate in a specific JFAC position. Since the course’s creation in 2015, the graduate database has grown to 71 personnel from 13 nations.
After spending four years working in and training personnel for the USA’s Air Operations Centers, Lt Col Markie was impressed by the building curriculum and challenging practicals. He told course organizers, “SHARC does in two weeks almost exactly what the USA does in four. I would staff any of my AOCs with a SHARC graduate”.