European Air Transport Command

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European Air Transport Command
Coat of arms of the European Air Transport Command.svg
Coat of arms
Active since 1 July 2010
(predecessor founded September 2001)
Country Belgium
Type Military Air Transport
Role multinational command center
Size 160–200
Part of subordinate to Multinational Air Transport Committee
Garrison/HQ Eindhoven Airbase
Motto(s) Integrated, Innovative, Efficient
Engagements 2011 military intervention in Libya
2012 intervention in Mali
Major General Christian Badia (Germany)

The European Air Transport Command (EATC) is the command centre that exercises the operational control of the majority of the aerial refueling capabilities and military transport fleets of a consortium of seven Western European countries. As of January 2015, the combined fleet under the authority of the EATC represents 75% of the European air transport capacity.[1] Located at Eindhoven Airbase in the Netherlands, the command also bears a limited responsibility for exercises, aircrew training and the harmonisation of relevant national air transport regulations.[2][3]

The command was established in 2010 with a view to provide a more efficient management of the participating nations' assets and resources in this field.


Franco-German initiative[edit]

In 1999 France and Germany started a politico-military initiative to “prepare the establishment of a European Air Transport Command”. The conclusions from the meeting of the European Council in Helsinki the same year, mentions the expressed will of the Union's member states to develop collective coals for rapid capability, including in the area of strategic transport. This was to be achieved voluntarily, to better co-ordinate national and international efforts for the carrying-out of the full range of so-called Petersberg tasks.[4]

A study conducted by the European Air Group (EAG) in 2000 came to the conclusion, that it would be beneficial to co-ordinate the international military airlift requirements and the means to meet them between the EAG nations to exploit all possible synergies. It finally recommended to establish a permanent co-ordination element managing the airlift co-ordination needs of nations in an evolutionary approach by smoothly transferring competencies from existing national structures. This multinational management structure should be developed step by step from purely co-ordination to a combined entity with full command authority.

Airlift Coordination Cell[edit]

The member states of the EAG decided in June 2001 to establish the European Airlift Coordination Cell (EACC) as a first step on this way with the objective to improve the efficiency by identifying spare military airlift capacities and sharing this information with interested nations as offer for additional opportunities. The idea was to improve the utilisation of European military air transport and aerial refueling capabilities and hereby gaining synergetic effects. This entity proved its success as the savings exceeded the operating costs of this cell in the first year.[5]

Airlift Centre[edit]

Consequently, as a next step EACC member Nations decided in June 2003 to further develop this cell by increasing the mission scope and responsibility. The European Airlift Centre (EAC) was established, which indeed on paper received an increased responsibility over the planning of air transport requests and additionally in the field of harmonisation of air transport related regulations. However the political will to transfer adequate levels of authority towards the EAC to fulfil these additional tasks was not strong enough.[6] Therefore, France and Germany agreed on the next step expressing their aspiration for the creation of a multinational air transport command.

On the seventh Franco-German Ministerial Council on 12 October 2006 it was decided to create a common strategic command for airlifts. Other member states of the EAC (Belgium, Spain, the United Kingdom, Italy, the Netherlands and Norway) were invited to join. Belgium and Netherlands did so by signing a note of accession. In May 2007 the chiefs of defence staffs of the four participating nations approved the EATC concept which set the framework for the working process as well as the defined levels of responsibilities and gave the stimulus for further negotiations for the implementation of this new headquarter.[7] An international implementation team based in Beauvechain (Belgium) facilitated the final decision to locate the command in Eindhoven, as well as in getting the Technical Arrangement as the interim legal framework signed by the nations in summer 2010.


The new seat of the command, which will be inaugurated in 2016[8]

The European Air Transport command was officially established on 1 July 2010. On 1 September 2010 the inauguration took place at Eindhoven, in the presence of political and military leaders of the four participating nations; France, Germany, the Netherlands and Belgium. 22 November 2012, Luxembourg acceded to the EATC, and in July 2014 Spain followed suit.[9][10] Italy formalised in December 2014 to join EATC with 37 aircraft per January 2015 raising the EATC managed fleet to approx. 220 aircraft.

Participating nations[edit]

Italy Spain Luxembourg Netherlands Germany France Belgium

The following countries have signalled their interest in joining the EATC:


The command rotates biennially between France and Germany.[12]

List of Commanders[12]
Name Country Took office Left office
Major General Jochen Both Germany July 2010 July 2012
Major General Pascal Valentin France July 2012 July 2014
Major General Christian Badia Germany July 2014 July 2016
List of Deputy Commanders[12]
Name Country Took office Left office
Brigadier General Alain Rouceau France July 2010 July 2012
Brigadier General Jörg Lebert Germany July 2012 July 2014
Brigadier General Pascal Chiffoleau France July 2014 July 2016


EATC Peacetime Establishment

On 1 September 2010 the EATC took over the operational control of most of the participating nation's military cargo aircraft (excluding helicopters) of which the existing fleet of Transall C-160 and Lockheed C-130 Hercules form the largest part. In the future all Airbus A400M shall be put under the command of the EATC (beginning with the official delivery to the nations). A strong motivation for the establishment of the EATC was the limited availability of assets and the operational necessity to co-operate very closely. The A400M is considerably delayed while the inclusion of European troops in combat missions has increased over the years including many overseas missions.

Germany reorganises its Lufttransportkommando (LTKdo) in Münster – the aircraft personnel will be assigned back to the Luftwaffendivision air combat groups and the LTKdo command center itself will retire on 31 December 2010. The EATC takes over authority on 15 October 2010 after being implemented on 1 September 2010. 65 members of the LTKdo have been moved to Eindhoven and Major General Jochen Both takes over the command of the EATC coordination center which has a total staff of 200 members.[13] The command is supposed to switch to a French air force general after two years.


As of 1 January 2016 the assigned fleet consists of[14]

Country Aircraft Active Remarks
Belgium A321 1 Will be phased out 2017
C-130 10 Will be replaced by A400M
Falcon 900 1
ERJ 145/135 4
A400M 7 on order
Luxembourg A400M 1 on order (2019), will be flown by Belgian Air Force
Netherlands KDC-10 2 Will be replaced by A330 MRTT in 2020
A330 MRTT 2 on order, 6 options
C-130 4
Gulfstream IV 1
Spain KC707 2
B707 1
KC-130 5 Will be replaced by A400M
C-130 6 Will be replaced by A400M
C-295 13
A400M 14 on order
France A340 2
A310 3
C-130 14 Will be replaced by A400M
C-130J/KC-130J 2/2 Ordered in 2016
C-160 25 Will be replaced by A400M
KC-160 3 Upgrade C-160 for Air to Air refuelling, will be replaced by A400M
A400M 8 50 on order, being introduced into service
CN-235 27
KC135 14 Being replaced by A330 MRTT
A330 MRTT 12 on order, being introduced into service
Germany A310 MRTT 4 Planned replacement by A330 MRTT
A310 1
C-160 32 Will be replaced by A400M
A400M 3 40 on order, being introduced into service
Italy KC767 4
KC-130J 3
C-130J 15
C-27J 11
Total: ~220

Coat of arms[edit]

Based on the given description,[15] the blazon is: Argent, a terrestrial globe Azure encircled by twelve mullets Or and charged in pale with the letters "EATC" Or and a bridge Argent. Blue is the main colour of the Flag of Europe, and represents the sky, which is the general domain of air forces. The bridge symbolises the creation of connections and the overcoming of gaps and distances, and is something which can be used to reach far shores quickly and safely which is the core business of military air transport. The lettering is the abbreviation of the command. The globe expresses the global reach of air bridges. The 12 mullets are also drawn from the European Flag, and are considered a symbol of completeness and perfection.[15]

See also[edit]

The participation in European defence organisations


  1. ^
  2. ^ Eindhoven regelt internationale militaire luchtvaart (in Dutch)
  3. ^
  4. ^
  5. ^ "p. 37" (PDF). Retrieved 2012-02-13. 
  6. ^ "p. 37" (PDF). Retrieved 2012-02-13. 
  7. ^ "p. 38" (PDF). Retrieved 2012-02-13. 
  8. ^
  9. ^
  10. ^
  11. ^
  12. ^ a b c "EATC Change of Command". 2012-07-12. Retrieved 2013-04-04. The change of command from German Major General Jochen Both to French Major General Pascal Valentin is being done – on command of the Dutch Air Force Commander and Chairman of the Multinational Air Transport Committee (MATraC), Lieutenant General Alexander Schnitger. [..] The positions either of Commander and Chief of staff rotate as planned every two years between Germany and France 
  13. ^ "Europe's Air Transport Command Agreements". 21 November 2011. Retrieved 2012-02-13. 
  14. ^ Major General Jochen Both (29 November 2011). "EATC an example for Pooling and Sharring" (PDF). European Parliament Subcommittee on Security and Defence. 
  15. ^ a b

Coordinates: 51°27′00″N 005°22′28″E / 51.45000°N 5.37444°E / 51.45000; 5.37444

External links[edit]