Defence Ministers from 10 NATO countries agreed to create a network of European training centers for fighter jet, helicopter and drone pilots under the NATO Flight Training Europe (NFTE) programme.
The Air Forces of Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Greece, Hungary, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Portugal, Romania, Spain and Turkey will be involved in the program. This NATO High Visibility Project will reduce training costs and increase interoperability among participating air forces, an official NATO release said.
“NATO troops operate and deploy together. So it makes sense that they also systematically prepare and train together,” said NATO Deputy Secretary General Mircea Geoană in Brussels. The operational core of NFTE captures participants’ contributions and services received. Its design incentivizes continuous investment by the participants in enhancing NFTE training solutions. “Most importantly, by continually investing in high quality training for our aircrews, NFTE is helping the Alliance to maintain its technological and military edge,” he added.
This first-of-its-kind initiative will involve the gradual build-up of a network of European training campuses covering different aspects and types of aircrew training. They will provide Allies with access to a wider range of training opportunities beyond what most Allies could sustain independently and at a fraction of the cost. NFTE campuses will provide aircrews with training, including the use of virtual reality technology and simulation.
The NFTE was established in 2020 and modeled after the NATO Flight Training in Canada program, started in 200 and used to train NATO pilots.