Thursday 18 Jan 24 marked the handover of Directorship of the European Air Group (EAG) from Lieutenant General André Steur, Chief of the Royal Netherlands Air Force, to Lieutenant General Ingo Gerhartz, Chief of the German Air Force. The EAG Permanent Staff also welcomed Air Chief Marshal Sir Richard Knighton, Chief of the Air Staff of the Royal Air Force, who attended representing the UK as the host nation of the EAG Head Quarters (HQ) which is based at RAF High Wycombe. The Directorship of the EAG is shared between the Chief of the Air Staffs of the 7 Member nations (Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Spain and the UK) and changes command every two years. During their tenure each Director has a chance to help shape and promote the EAG’s activities with the Heads of the other Member nations. For this, he has the permanent EAG HQ at his disposal, composed by military personnel from the 7 EAG Air Forces, under the responsibility of the EAG deputy director, a position currently occupied by Air Brigadier General Xavier Foissey from the French and Space Air Force.
The transition was marked with a presentation of the achievements of the EAG during Lt Gen Steur’s tenure which included VOLCANEX training exercises, F35 Technical Interoperability, Agile Basing – aiming to bring a combined vision to the NATO Agile Combat Employment Concept thanks to interoperability, Cargo Helicopter Integration and Tactical Datalink studies, to name but a few of the ongoing projects. Lt Gen Steur also presided over the landmark 25th Anniversary of the EAG in Sep 2023.
The presentation was followed by a short flag changing ceremony with respective national anthems performed by a Bundeswehr woodwind quartet.
With the handover to Lt Gen Gerhartz complete, the EAG continues its aims of improving Air Forces capability through interoperability between Member nations under its new leadership, in close coordination with Partner nations and military multinational organisations.