Eleven NATO Defence Ministers launched on Friday (19 June 2020) an initiative to create a network of training facilities for pilots across the European continent. The Ministers of Defence of the Czech Republic, Greece, Bulgaria, Hungary, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Croatia, Portugal, Romania, Spain and Turkey signed a Letter of Intent confirming the establishment of the NATO Flight Training Europe (NFTE) initiative, in order join forces for the training of fighter jet, helicopter, fixed wing and drone pilots.
The signature of the corresponding Letter of Intent was added virtually from the capitals of participating nations, just after the conclusion of the meeting of NATO Defence Ministers this week. Under this agreement, the eleven Allies will investigate options for setting up a European network of training facilities for air-crews, benefiting as much as possible from already existing training structures. The multinational NATO Flight Training Europe initiative will address the requirements of these nations.Several smaller European Allies have annual pilot training requirements at a scale that does not justify the establishment or continuation of national flight centres.
“This multinational cooperation will increase European training facilities and enable air-crews to train closer to home. As such, it serves as an excellent example of transatlantic burden sharing”, highlighted the Deputy Secretary General Mircea Geoană. The initiative will provide for cost savings and increased interoperability among participating Allies and will benefit the overall readiness of NATO air forces.