Euro-Nato Joint Jet Pilot Training at Sheppard AFB in Wichita Falls, TX
Euro-NATO Joint Jet Pilot Training (ENJJPT) is one of the 5 different places you can attend undergraduate pilot training (UPT) for the Air Force. The benefits are often debated but simply put, ENJJPT is a program designed to produce solely fighter and bomber pilots for the tip of the Air Force spear. Unlike other UPT programs, where you compete with your class in order to earn one of a limited number of chances (drops) to fly the Air Force fighter/bomber trainer, the T-38 Talon, every student at ENJJPT moves on to fly the T-38. Thus, for prospective pilots, ENJJPT is a program to shoot for if you know you want to try and fly fighters or bombers for the Air Force and desire the added benefit of knowing you will automatically transition to the T-38 if you pass the initial phases of UPT. Because of this guarantee ENJJPT is a very competitive and highly selective program. (Note as Air Force capabilities have expanded to fight an irregular global conflict along with a decrease in the demand for fighter aircraft the aircraft assigned out of ENJJPT have began to include new mission platforms like the MC-12, U-28, and UAVs. Also, "heavy" drops have been occurring as well. All in all EN is still a premier place to earn a fighter slot but there are now 21 different aircraft from all over the Air Force mission spectrum available to students.) If you are interested in the details of the ENJJPT program and how you can earn an allocation to attend ENJJPT read on.
History/Background of ENJJPT
The Euro-NATO Joint Jet Pilot Training (ENJJPT) Program, established in the spirit of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), is conducted by the 80th Flying Training Wing (80 FTW) at Sheppard Air Force Base, Texas. ENJJPT is the world's only multi-nationally manned and managed flying training program chartered to produce combat pilots for NATO. The 80 FTW is the official USAF designation of this flying training organization, but it is better known as the ENJJPT Wing by its members.
In 1973, the rapidly rising cost of pilot training and the need to improve interoperability of NATO air forces led a group of European nations to examine the feasibility of conducting a consolidated undergraduate flying training program. While pursuing this initiative, the participating countries also hoped to solve other problems such as predominantly poor weather conditions and restricted airspace, which impacted the flying training programs of many NATO air forces.
In 1974, the United States joined the working group and, in addition to the United Kingdom, Italy, Turkey and Canada, proposed a plan to host a joint undergraduate pilot training program. After a thorough review of all the proposals, it was agreed that the United States could offer the best combination of good flying weather, adequate training airspace, existing facilities and growth potential to accommodate proposed annual requirements. Consequently, in 1978, the United States was formally selected to host the ENJJPT program for 10 years as a short term solution, while studies on relocation to a European base continued.
A multi-national working group visited Sheppard Air Force Base to survey the facilities and organization of the 80 FTW, which was already conducting undergraduate pilot training for the German and Dutch air forces. In June 1980, Secretary of Defense Harold Brown announced Sheppard's selection as the site for the proposed program, and the ENJJPT Program held its official opening ceremony Oct. 23, 1981. In 1987, the program was extended to 1989, and in 1989, the program was again extended to 2005. Currently, plans are underway to extend the pr