NATO Allies Enhance Defense of Allied Skies


On Thursday 13 June 2024, the Netherlands joined the NATO Flight Training Europe (NFTE) initiative, bringing the total number of participants to 13: Belgium, Czechia, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Montenegro, the Netherlands, North Macedonia, Romania, Spain, Türkiye and the United Kingdom.

CNAD signing ceremony

The NFTE initiative aims to ensure that state-of-the-art pilot training is available around Europe in a cost-efficient and interoperable manner. It does this by leveraging existing facilities across Europe. If required, the initiative will also support the expansion or creation of new training capacity for different types of pilots. These can include basic, intermediate and advanced training for fighter jet, helicopter and transport pilots, as well as personnel who remotely pilot uncrewed aircraft. The NFTE initiative is one of the Alliance's multinational High Visibility Projects (HVPs), which is being executed through the NATO Support and Procurement Agency (NSPA) Support Partnership.

The Netherlands joins the NFTE only a few months after the initiative's expansion from 5 to 14 training campuses in seven participating Allied countries, and the first placement of around 50 pilot students in four locations. The placement of the first group of students means that Allied aircrews will have access to cutting-edge training opportunities.

Cross-border airspace cooperation

On the same day, Belgium and Spain signed the Letter of Intent on cross-border airspace cooperation. This brings the total number of participants to 16 Allies: Albania, Belgium, Bulgaria, Finland, France, Greece, Hungary, Italy, North Macedonia, Norway, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden and Türkiye.

The use of larger volumes of national airspace by NATO requires close coordination between civil and military authorities to deliver airspace solutions in a safe and flexible manner. The cross-border airspace initiative ensures that Allied civil and military authorities can enhance their cooperation on the use of airspace for NATO training and exercises, and other air activities in several regions of Europe.

At the signing ceremony, NATO Deputy Secretary General Mircea Geoană said: "NATO's ability to train together and exercise at scale is a crucial part of our deterrence and defence posture across all domains. Both projects we are signing today will make our skies safer and ensure our pilots maintain their edge through all stages of training."

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