ENJJPT 2008, Entry-exit flexibility highlights week-long discussions among NATO partners

SHEPPARD AIR FORCE BASE, Texas -- Adapting the Euro-NATO Joint Jet Pilot Training program to fit a changing world is what would make the international program a viable option for alliance partners in the future, the chairman of ENJJPT said at the end of a week-long meeting. 

Air Commodore Peter Berlijn, chairman of the ENJJPT Steering Committee and a member of the Royal Netherlands Air Force, said the committee met March 27-31 to discuss how to make a more cost-effective training option for NATO countries and continue improving the syllabus and technology. 

"We've made some decisions that will enable us to move forward on a path we've been on for a couple of years," said Air Commodore Berlijn, a former ENJJPT instructor pilot in the mid 1980s. 

That process began four years ago when the committee began work on a new memorandum of understanding between the participating countries. The new MOU was approved in September and extended the current agreement to 2016.
The group has worked on improving the infrastructure of the program, technology in the classroom and modernization of the aircraft fleet. 

"If you want to make a program that's viable for the future," he said, "you have to change with the world around you. For example, other air forces are acquiring newer fighters. They differ from older generations. If they differ a lot, so do the skills needed to fly them." 

ENJJPT 2008, the term used to describe the modifications to the current syllabus, is expected to come on line in 2008 and makes optimum use of the upgrade in airframes and the newest flying training systems. 

The addition of the T-6A II Texan as the entry-level trainer is an example of making the program practical for some of the smaller air forces. Air Commodore Berlijn said the new trainer would allow pilots to do some things that they can't do now in the T-37 Tweet . That makes it possible to train some aspects in the 'cheaper-to-fly' basic trainer. Changing the current syllabus will also make ENJJPT the pilot training program of choice. The chairman said moving some training items from the T-38 Talon block to the T-6 block as well as taking some techniques from advanced training and applying them to the T-38 block would enhance the program. 

Perhaps the biggest change to the program is when countries can enter and exit the program. Simply put, it's the Entry-Exit Plan. 

"Until now, nations could sign up for the entire program only," Air Commodore Berlijn said. "It was a fighter-only program. Now nations can choose specific areas." 

The air commodore said if NATO partners choose to conduct entry-level pilot training in their own national programs and then send pilots to train in the ENJJPT T-38, they would now have that option. They could also choose to send pilots to the T-6 training portion and complete the next level of training elsewhere. 

Col. Jeffrey Kendall, commander of the 80th Flying Training Wing and ENJJPT, said he viewed the meetings as very successful for the future of the program. 

"Facing tightening budgets and smaller air forces in NATO, we are moving forward to increase student numbers in the program," he said. "By providing some new participation options, we hope to be able to better meet national training needs in our uniquely integrated program through a new training syllabus and the flexibility to enter and exit the program at specifically defined points." 

Future considerations for the committee include continued aircraft improvements to aircraft, new infrastructure upgrades, and possibly shelters for aircraftthe potential to build aircraft shelters that protect them from the environment.