Is if to underline the importance of the forthcoming decision on the US Air Force’s news T-X jet training aircraft, another of its ageing T-38 Talons crashed on September 11 at Sheppard AFB, Texas.
The two pilots ejected safely from the fourth crash to involve a T-38 in the past year. This incident involved the 80th Flying Training Wing and the incident occurred on take-off from Sheppard, with the German Luftwaffe student and USAF instructor ejecting safely from the aircraft that was assigned to the Euro-NATO Joint Jet Pilot Training program.
The high-cost of supporting national fast-jet training programs led to a number of NATO countries examining options for a joint solution. In fact, potential avenues and costs associated with conducting a consolidated undergraduate flying training program were first evaluated in 1973. This was not only triggered by the rapidly-rising cost of such activities and inability to justify local solutions, but also with a need to improve interoperability between NATO air forces. Relatively restricted airspace and unpredictable north European weather were other major driving factors.
Today, ENJJPT includes 14 nations: Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Germany, Greece, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Romania, Spain, Turkey, the UK and the US, with Romania having been the latest to join, in 2016. It’s worth noting that despite the availability of training courses with types such as the T-346 Master in Italy, and a well-established training pipeline in the UK with the Hawk, these nations have continued their ENJJPT participation, such is the value of the partnership.
A full feature on ENJJPT by Søren Nielsen appeared in the March issue of Combat Aircraft.