Harmonisation of the national rules for military operational air traffic in the Single European Sky

Posted: 24 October 2013 | EUROCONTROL

EUROAT is designed to provide a harmonised and standardised regulatory framework…


EUROCONTROL is publishing today a complete set of specifications for harmonized Rules applicable to the predominant type of military air traffic (Operational Air Traffic – OAT) flying under Instrument Flight Rules (IFR) inside controlled airspace of the ECAC area.

The document, referred to as EUROAT, is the result of a number of years of sustained effort from EUROCONTROL and State military experts and was developed on the request of the EUROCONTROL Member States through the Civil-Military Interface Standing Committee.

The aim was to make one step further, Europe-wide, by harmonising the national Rules applicable to this type of military air traffic. EUROAT is therefore designed to provide a harmonised and standardised regulatory framework in line with the Single European Sky overarching framework and the commitment of EU Member States in 2004 regarding the enhancement of civil-military cooperation and the facilitation of cooperation between their armed forces in all ATM matters.

EUROAT is the first military deliverable of the European ATM Master Plan, a strategic instrument endorsed by the EU Transport Council. EUROAT is being implemented in the airspace of 12 Member States with the expectation that at least 8 additional Member States will follow this harmonisation process on the military side before the end of 2014.

“OAT is of course a matter falling under national sovereignty. However, if we can manage it on European level, under a single set of rules, and in all Member States, we will get maximum benefits for the Single European Sky,” said Luc Tytgat, Director Single Sky at EUROCONTROL.

The EUROAT document is intended to become a single reference for aircrews flying under OAT within the European airspace and will enable better predictability for military crew actions under normal and emergency conditions. This regulatory harmonisation is therefore a direct contribution to safety for both civil and military air traffic. EUROAT will also serve as the regulatory basis for the OAT-IFR Transit Service, which is currently developed through cooperation between EUROCONTROL and NATO.

“All together, these developments can be seen as an initial step towards the ‘Military Mission Trajectory’ concept developed by the Single European Sky ATM Research programme, SESAR in short,” said Frank Brenner Director General of EUROCONTROL.

Airspace is a finite resource that still needs to be used in an increasingly efficient manner to accommodate the current and future air traffic demand. Over the years, civil-military cooperation involving EUROCONTROL and military organisations have enabled significant improvement in civil and military use of the airspace, thus increasing performance of European air traffic management, a crucial aspect of the EU Single European Sky (SES) initiative.

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