By Buddy Blouin
NATO remains an important part of the international strategy for defending the United States and Europe. Less war in Europe is a good thing for all of us and lately, this has not been the case. The Euro-NATO Joint Jet Pilot Training Program, better known as ENJJPT, continues to help create pilots that are ready and capable of handling the challenges of operating in NATO airspaces to deter and defend against enemy forces.

ENJJPT Forges Combat-Ready Pilots for NATO

Established in 1978, the Euro-NATO Joint Jet Pilot Training Program (ENJJPT) continues to train combat pilots for NATO missions. Conducted by the 80th Flying Training Wing at Sheppard AFB in Texas, the Euro-NATO Joint Jet Pilot Training program is the only multi-nationally manned and managed flying training program in the world. ENJJPT came as a necessity as the cost of training pilots continued to rise. There was a need to improve the interoperability of air forces that are a part of NATO members’ militaries. Because of these factors, European nations and Canada began looking into consolidated undergraduate flying training programs. Ultimately, this would lead to the United States hosting the ENJJPT program for a decade as research for a relocation to Europe continued. Today, it remains in the U.S. and is structured with a USAF Wing Commander, Vice Commander, and Operations Group Commander as its top three leaders. The Euro-NATO Joint Jet Pilot Training Program consists of multiple programs under one. They are Undergraduate Pilot Training, Pilot Instructor Training, Introduction to Fighter Fundamentals, and IFF Upgrade Instructor Pilot training. Over the course of a 55-week program consisting of three different phases, around 200 student pilots earn their wings each year. There are around 80 new instructor pilots trained each year, with another 150 pilots transitioning through IFF, maintaining high standards and modern techniques. When comparing ENJJPT vs UPT, it’s important to note that the ENJJPT Program is much longer and focuses on operating out of NATO bases and NATO-specific training. Overall, ENJJPT helps maintain lower costs, improved training, better standardization, and improved interoperability.

A Continued Focus on Russia

There’s no way around it, ENJJPT is helping prepare pilots for potential conflict with Russia. While such conflicts should be avoided at all costs, the invasion of Ukraine has been going on for more than a year and doesn’t exactly have an end in sight. Even without the idea of nuclear war, controlling the aerial spaces of nations in Europe is a high priority. From a defensive standpoint, there have been efforts in support of NATO's Air Shielding mission and other initiatives to help keep European airspaces from also turning into a warzone. Euro-NATO Joint Jet Pilot Training continues to be an elite program and an intricate part of maintaining peace in Europe and beyond. For now, it’s the hope of the world that a resolution comes sooner rather than later. However, whatever may come, the U.S. and NATO as a whole remain ready to defend however necessary.

How to Get Into ENJJPT

It’s a bit difficult to say exactly how you can get into ENJJPT. What we do know, however, is that the selection process is likely to come from a nomination by higher ranks and passing through a board. Overall, you’re going to need the following for consideration:
  • A high score on the Air Force Officer Qualifying Test (AFOQT).
  • A blemish-free record in both your personal and professional life.
  • Exceptional scores on other tests related to being a combat pilot and Airman.
  • Defining leadership characteristics that are displayed through your actions and service.
Being a part of the ENJJPT is not an easy task, nor is the program an easy go of things when you get there. But if you are able to put in the work to make it and learn, you’ll be a part of a select group of pilots tasked in a major way for retaining world peace.




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