Supercruise Aviation - Article
European Air Refuelling Training, EART 2019 - Eindhoven Airbase

From 1 until 12 April 2019 the Royal Netherlands Airforce (RNLAF) hosted two exercises at the same time. At Eindhoven airbase the tanker exercise EART (European Air Refuelling Training) and at Leeuwarden airbase the Frisian Flag exercise.

This year the sixth edition of the European Air Refuelling Training, EART 2019, was conducted at Eindhoven Air Base. During this exercise tankers, crews and mentors from Germany, the Netherlands, France and also non EATC members nations as United Kingdom and United States, train together in a multinational environment.

The EART exercise was once again led by EATC (European Air Transport Command). Thanks to EATC’s continuous commitment, EART has become a cornerstone in multinational air-to-air refuelling training. Exercise EART puts a premium on “tanker cell/stacked-up formation” operations and on “tanker-to-tanker” rendez-vous procedures. The 2019 edition also introduces the “threat reaction” procedures and the “ferry flight” as a tanker driven event.

EATC is considered in Europe as a centre of expertise in the domain of air-to-air refuelling with around 20 refuelling assets of five nations under command. In the upcoming years refuelling capacity will grow rapidly with the implementation of the multinational MRTT unit. This unit will receive eight new A-330 MRTT aircraft and be stationed at Eindhoven airbase and Cologne/Bonn. Also the achievement of full AAR capability for the A-400M aircraft and the arrival of new KC-130J aircraft will add capacity to EATC.

The training is pooled with the Dutch Frisian Flag multinational fighter exercise to create realistic training scenario’s. During this combined training programme fighter jets will be refuelled by the EATC tankers. Only complex and combined live-flying exercises, such as EART and Frisian Flag, allow air forces to train and practice together using realistic and demanding scenarios, thus preparing for challenging missions based on interoperable weapon-systems and procedures. These realistic multinational trainings give tanker and jet crews the opportunity to learn from each other making them ready to apply their skills and expertise in an effective way during operations.

During the exercise period Germman, Dutch, French, US and UK tankers provided air refueling capacity. While Australia sent observers to the Netherlands.


The Netherlands KDC-10 from 334sqn and based at Eindhoven
Germany A310-304MRTT from FBS BMVg and based at Köln/Bonn
France C-135FR from BR108 and based at Istres/Le Tubé
UK Voyager KC2 (A330 MRTT) from 10 sqn or 101sqn and based at RAF Brize Norton
USA KC-135T from 351st ARS and based at Mildenhall, UK


Report and photos by Edward Antonissen