The NATO Flight Training Europe (NFTE) Support Partnership has been established with the participation of 10 nations: Belgium, Czechia, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Romania, Spain and Turkey. This initiative will enable adaptable pilot training across Europe, using existing training structures whenever possible. The NFTE, a High Visibility Project launched in June 2020 at the meeting of NATO Defence Ministers, is a multinational initiative consisting of a network of training campuses set up for different types of pilots: fighter jet pilots, helicopter and transport pilots, as well as personnel who remotely pilot aircraft.
The NFTE was officially launched by 11 Allies in the margins of the meeting of NATO Defence Ministers in June 2020 with the signature of the corresponding Letter of Intent. Belgium became the 12th participant, by signing an amendment to the Letter of Intent, in the margins of the February 2021 NATO Defence Ministers Meeting. It provided the framework for interested Allies to systematically explore and develop the NFTE concept further. Based on this extensive and thorough preparatory work the participants’ Defence Ministers signed an MOU at the NATO Summit in June 2021.
The establishment of the Support Partnership marks a critical initial milestone in the NFTE’s ambition to fundamentally reshape the aircrew training landscape in Europe towards less fragmentation, lower training costs and increased interoperability. This will mean leveraging existing national and multinational facilities in Europe and, where necessary, expanding or potentially creating new training capacities to fully and effectively address training requirements for all different types of pilots. The NATO Support and Procurement Agency (NSPA) will play a key role in delivering the corresponding centralised broker function.
Over time, the core ambition of the NATO Flight Training Europe (NFTE) is to link an increasing number of training campuses together. The 120th Air Training Wing in Kalamata, at Kecskemet Air Base and Air Training Center near Skopje, has joined centers in the Czech Republic and Italy on the list of official training sites for the Alliance’s military pilots. In January 2023, three training sites – in Greece, Hungary and North Macedonia – were added to NFTE project. This important expansion of NFTE’s training base has been achieved thanks to Czechia, which has led the project so far.