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Australia joins European airlift club as first non-NATO member

Pilots and crew members from the Royal Australia Air Force flank members from the 8th Theater Sustainment Command upon completion of the RAAF’s first flight as a chartered member of the Movement Control Center – Europe during Talisman Sabre 23. Photo: US Army/Maj. Theresa Christie.

The Australian flag has been raised beside 29 other nations during a small but momentous ceremony at Eindhoven Air Base in the Netherlands.

The Australian flag has been raised beside 29 other nations during a small but momentous ceremony at Eindhoven Air Base in the Netherlands.

The historic agreement in June this year allows Australia to become the first non-NATO and non-European nation to join member nations of the Movement Coordination Centre – Europe (MCC-E) organisation, and thus provide the Australian Defence Force with access to a pool of strategic lift support around the world.

The MCC-E is responsible for coordinating employment of multinational lift in the European theatre and locations within the designation of charter members.


The agreement was immediately put into action with the Royal Australian Air Force successfully completing its first MCC-E mission from Weipa, Queensland to Darwin in the Northern Territory during Talisman Sabre 23.

“Upon receiving the request from the 8th Theater Sustainment Command, we reached out to the 1st Joint Movements Unit team in Australia to see if they could provide support,” US Indo-Pacific Command senior movement coordinator Martin Gruber said.

“In just four days and lots of communication, 1JMU (1st Joint Movement Unit) built the flight for the Royal Australian Air Force, which is testament to the US-Australian alliance.”

1JMU is a part of Joint Logistics Command within the Joint Capabilities Group. The unit is the coordinating authority that arranges air transport tasks between Australia and other MCC-E nations.

The Commander of Joint Capability Group’s 1JMU, Group Captain Alan Brown, said becoming the 29th member of the MCC-E presented a range of opportunities.

“This first step opens the door to enhanced movements interoperability between the Australia Defence Force and the US,” said GPCAPT Alan Brown.

“It’s great our first MCC-E mission was to support 8th TSC and Maj Gen Helwig, one of our closest logistics partners.

“Australia can now work with other member nations to load share, which will create significant interoperability efficiencies in how we move our major assets from place to place.

“Not only that, with the ADF becoming a member of the MCC-E, it has paved the way for other nations to sign up, meaning the network of support will potentially continue to grow in coming years.

“As the MCC-E utilises a ‘virtual currency’ instead of financial exchanges for supporting tasks, Australia can grow its equity within MCC-E by supporting other nations during opportune missions and spend that credit to leverage support from other nations to achieve some of our tasks at a lower physical cost.

“This sets the ADF up well for the future as we have now been established as an active contributor to the MCC-E organisation which knows how to broker with other member nations and is willing to support opportune tasks.”

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