31 Oct 2019

EDA hosts air-to-air refuelling conference

The European Defence Agency (EDA) hosted an air-to-air refuelling conference alongside NATO to discuss future challenges and technologies.

The EDA and NATO held the Air-to-Air Refuelling (AAR) conference following a European event held last year. The event was opened by the Dutch Minister of Defence Ank Bijleveld and was attended by EDA Chief Executive Jorge Domecq and NATO’s Assistant Secretary General for Defence Investment, Camille Grand.

The event focussed on Euro-Atlantic interoperability and the future capability of AAR. Representatives from industry and the wider AAR community discussed the optimisation of current technology and future improvements.

Jorge Domecq, EDA Chief Executive, said: “In the short-term, the main challenge is to optimise the use of the existing AAR assets available in Europe, and we can do that through, for example, increased participation in annual European AAR Training (EART). But we can also increase interoperability by increasing AAR clearances – because a tanker without a clearance is not a tanker.”

“EDA stands ready to assist interested Member States in the process to explore their potential participation in this important project.”

The conference looked at the strong possibility of the future automation of AAR processes. The EDA has made progress in AAR capability in recent years, including AAR exercises, lead by the European Air Transport Command, the establishment of a multinational MRTT fleet, and the inclusion of the A440M into service.

Work has begun to implement the priorities laid out at the conference. The EDA will organise a workshop for any interested Member States on 28 January to discuss the future based on what has been raised.

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