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Fourth and fifth generation aircraft integration is priority at Tactical Leadership Programme

ALBACETE, Spain – The mission of the Tactical Leadership Programme (TLP) is to increase the effectiveness of Allied air forces through the development of leadership, mission planning, tactical flying and debriefing skills of participating NATO aircrew. It also develops doctrinal and conceptual initiatives for the NATO flying community. The TLP focus is on integrating emerging modern aircraft capabilities with existing Allied fleets.

"For almost 41 years the TLP has been at the forefront of training Allied aircrew in preparing, planning and executing Composite Air Operations,” said Spanish Air Force Colonel Andrés Maldonado, Commandant of the TLP since the summer of 2018. 

"We implement the mission by running ten to eleven academic and at least four flying courses per year,” Colonel Maldonado added. "All these courses are focused on TLP’s Composite Air Operation missions, where multinational aircrews and capabilities integrate to execute an assigned mission. In order to remain aligned in an ever-changing environment it is important we look at emerging capabilities such as modern fighter aircraft. After all, six of the ten TLP member nations have or will have a fifth generation fighter capability available.” 

"We have identified a sound strategy towards this,” he continued saying. "We are committed to leading the integration of fourth and fifth generation and to changing whatever is required to adapt our successful programme to the modern fighter aircraft training needs. This will enhance our warfighters’ readiness. That is why my vision for the TLP is to be the reference institution for modern aircraft integration into NATO air operations at the tactical level; offering the best fighting airspace including for contested degraded operations in Southern Europe.” 

"On Modern Aircraft Integration we are working closely with Allied Air Command and we provide input on fifth generation operations for Allied Air Command policy documents,” said Colonel Maldonado. "My greatest vision and challenge is to run a full F-35 course here in Albacete in 2020.  With my excellent team of experts and the active contribution by the nations I am very confident we will achieve our goals,” the colonel concluded.

Most recently Colonel Maldonado and his team have introduced the TLP Flying Course 2.0 concept which involves three instead of four course weeks plus a synthetic training, where pilots plan, brief and execute the mission in a controlled simulated environment. This streamlining will allow nations to assign scarce resources more efficiently and flexibly. The TLP steering group still needs to approve this new concept. 

The Tactical Leadership Programme was established in 1978 initially in Germany, moved to Belgium in 1989 and finally was established at Albacete Air Base in 2009. Besides Host Nation Spain, Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom and the United States are TLP contributing nations. The training facilities are open to all NATO Allies and Partners upon request.

Story by Allied Air Command Public Affairs 

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