A look at the Defence news 21 - 27 September

10-year anniversary of European Air Transport Command at Eindhoven Air Base. Other news: the wreckage of the NH90 helicopter that crashed in July has arrived in the Netherlands from the Caribbean.

“The European Air Transport Command (EATC) is the textbook example of how European striking power can be increased by smart and efficient collaboration,” said the Netherlands Minister of Defence Ank Bijleveld-Schouten on the occasion of the 10-year anniversary of the EATC at Eindhoven Air Base on 24 September.

The EATC is now the most important command and expertise centre for air transport, aerial refuelling and medical evacuations by air in Europe.

Because of scarcity, 10 years ago Belgium, Germany, France and the Netherlands decided to join forces.

“European Air Group pioneers with a healthy dose of creativity, common sense, and logistics and operational insight said to each other: together, we can do this much more efficiently,” Minister Bijleveld said at the anniversary celebration. “We are going to share our air transport fleet. We send German materiel to a mission area on a Belgian aircraft… and bring French troops back. That saves cost and effort.”

Impressive figures

Since then, Luxembourg, Spain and Italy have joined, and the EATC has unequivocally demonstrated its usefulness. The figures alone speak volumes. In 10 years: 2.9 million passengers, 3,100 aerial refuelling missions, more than 12,000 patients, 890,000 paratroopers and 168,000 tons of cargo. And almost 80,000 missions flown and 460,000 flight hours.

These impressive figures have been achieved thanks to some 200 personnel. They manage the planning, deployment and control from Eindhoven Air Base, 7 days a week, both in peacetime and in times of crisis. Today the EATC conducts some 60 missions around the world every day. 20 types of aircraft give the organisation a unique flexibility.

Corona pandemic

The EATC is also proving its worth during the corona pandemic. For example, it has already planned more than 200 missions to repatriate or relocate infected patients from all over the world.

Crashed NH90 helicopter

The parts of the crashed NH90 helicopter have arrived at Gilze-Rijen Air Base. The aircraft disappeared into the sea in the Caribbean on 19 July. The wreckage was recovered in the first week of September and shipped to the Netherlands. On 24 September it was transported by road to the air base in the province of North Brabant, where the Defence Safety Inspectorate will further investigate the circumstances of the crash which killed 2 military personnel.

Speech by minister Ank Bijleveld at the 10-year anniversary of the European Air Transport Command