From 1 till 12 September, Florennes air base hosted exercise VOLCANEX 03/CSAR – CIS. This exercise is designed and co-ordinated by the European Air Group (EAG). This organisation regroups seven European air forces.  It was created in 1995 as the Franco-British European Air Group. The addition of Italy in 1998 and Belgium, Germany, the Netherlands and Spain in 1999 led to the current designation of European Air Group. The EAG is headquartered at High Wycombe in the UK. Its aim is to improve the operational capabilities of the seven air forces to carry out operations in pursuit of shared interests. To achieve this, the EAG develops ways to enhance complementarity and interoperability between the air forces.

One such way is to organise exercises during which deficiencies and points to improve can be identified and corrected. The generic name for these exercises is VOLCANEX. The first was held in 2000 in Italy and France and was centred on Communications and Information Systems (CIS). Its goal was to test interoperability among the EAG air forces in the fields of cryptography, CIS equipment and data transfer in support of Out of Area operations. In other words, could all the parties involved in an operation communicate with each other using their own national equipment? The lessons learned and the experience gained allowed the EAG to hold a more complex CIS exercise in 2001.

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