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European Tactical Airlift Centre opens in Spain
A400M military transport aircraft. © Airbus DS

European Tactical Airlift Centre opens in Spain

The European Tactical Airlift Centre (ETAC) in Zaragoza will constitute a permanent operational base for advanced tactical airlift training in Europe.

Head of the European Defence Agency (EDA), High Representative and Vice-President of the European Commission, Federica Mogherini, and Minister of Defence of Spain, Dolores de Cospedal, officially opened the European Tactical Airlift Centre (ETAC) in Zaragoza, Spain on 8th June.

The centre, which will be a permanent operational base for advanced tactical airlift training in Europe, represents the largest transfer of a project, created and developed by the EDA, to one of its Member States on a permanent basis.

Eleven nations (Belgium, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal and Spain) will share the burden to plan, organize and execute Advanced Airlift Courses, Training and Symposia in different locations (France, Italy, Bulgaria, Portugal & Sweden) by using a permanent lean command and control structure based at Zaragoza. ETAC will be manned by experts from the different participating nations on a rotational basis.

In parallel to the ETAC opening, the graduating crews of the third European Advanced Airlift Tactics Training Course for 2017 (EAATTC 17-3) were also presented with certificates by members of the visiting delegation. Four crews, representing three Member States (Germany: C160; Poland C130 and Spain: C295 and C130) received their certificates following the completion of the two-week training course.

EDA’s “Additive Manufacturing Feasibility Study & Technology Demonstration” project successfully deployed a 3D-printing lab to Zaragoza for the duration of EAATTC 17-3. The project aims to assess the areas where Additive Manufacturing (3D-printing) can have a positive impact on defence capabilities and to demonstrate the feasibility of on-site critical component manufacture.

On May 31st, the lab was loaded on a Spanish C-130 and successfully completed a 30 minute flight. This test was pivotal to examining the feasibility of the facility to be deployed by air. After landing, the lab and its equipment was inspected and found to have encountered no issues from the airlift.

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