Belgium and Luxembourg have begun sharing aircraft in response to NATO’s long drive towards better interoperability.
The two countries are jointly responsible for the acquisition, management, operation and support of the fleet, which for now, stands at just one plane - an Airbus A400M - but the aim is for this model to replace all of the old fleets.
Military crews from both Belgium and Luxembourg will eventually fly each other's planes, as well as cooperate with other partner countries, in order to better integrate their military capabilities.
"Between all the European air forces, the Germans, the French, the Turks the Belgians, the Luxembourgs, Spaniards, are gonna use the same aeroplane; it’s exactly the same aeroplane so it eases maintenance. We can exchange information, and data and even crews," Frederik Vansina, a Belgian major general told Euronews.
The EU’s foreign policy chief, Josep Borrell, told Euronews that interoperability is essential for NATO and the bloc's defence if its capability is to be maximised, particularly given the different sizes and ability to react of European armies.
"Interoperability, it’s key for us. We have 27 armies. We have 27 member states – different sizes for sure," Borrell explained. "Small and big countries, but the biggest one is too small to be able to have the military capacity that today is required for modern warfare.
"So we have to have more and more capacity sharing and capacity pulling and capacity building. So, we have institutions working on that. We have the European defence agency that was created for the purpose of identifying where we have holes”