The Aerospace Applications Studies Committee
was formed in 1971. Under the direction of the Steering Committee, it organized and guided applications studies of a system nature which transcend the scope of individual Panels or groups of Panels by organizing Study Teams and conducting periodic reviews of their progress. Its first meeting was held in May 1971 under the chairmanship of the UK. The original committee included representation from France, Germany, the United States, NATO Headquarters and SHAPE.
The AASC was a permanent AGARD Committee functioning in many respects like an AGARD Panel from the Head-Quarters' point of view but with a varying membership of the working groups.
Meetings were normally held twice a year. The Committee membership consisted of a Chairman, appointed for a three-year term by the National Delegates Board, representatives from nations participating in Aerospace Applications Studies, the NATO International Staff, the NATO International Military Staff and SHAPE (now part of NC3A). The AASC organised, managed and reviewed studies proposed by the NATO Military Committee after consultations of the nations. It was responsible to the Steering Committee and not directly to the National Delegates Board.
In order to support the activities of the Steering Committee and the Aerospace Applications Studies Committee, a Military Committee Studies (MCS) Division was established in the AGARD Headquarters. This consisted of a Chief, Military Committee Studies Division, a Deputy for Systems Analysis and a Deputy for Research and Development.
In general, a new Aerospace Applications Study was initiated every six months, and a scheduled programme of reviews by the Committee maintained control over the progress of each study and the quality of the product. The Studies were published as AGARD Advisory Reports. For each study a special Study Team was established through the 'network' of AGARD and other NATO bodies. A study lasted nominally one year and the participants met several times during such a period, reporting on their 'homework' Needless to say it required a considerable effort to organise the studies, each of which was carried out by a different team of 15 to 40 experts. Invariably the members of the Study Teams felt that it was professionally a very stimulating experience to work in an international team of experts on a topic of strategic importance. In March 1976, the Chairman of the Military Committee, addressed the National Delegates Board to emphasize the importance of 'Project 2000' and to highlight the uses to which the results of such an effort would be put: prevent technological surprise; assist in long-term planning for R & D; provide input to long-range planning for NATO equipment needs; assist in interoperability and standardization goals. The last large scale forecast in which the AASC was involved was 'Aerospace 2020'. It was carried out in the period 1995-1997. This study involved all the Panels as well as AASC, and capitalised, in particular, on the strength of the Technical Panels composed of experts in fields ranging from aerospace medicine to fluid dynamics. The study also tapped the expertise from the AASC and the Technical Information Committee (TIC). In the AGARD tradition, each of the participants expanded the network of professionals to include views and opinions of civilian and military experts from industry, government and academia. This masterwork explains in a very readable form the possibilities and limitations facing us in the next 25 years.
In total it can be concluded that the AASC worked remarkably well. It was a tremendous task to assemble teams of experts from the various nations and NATO bodies; to work together during a period of one year and, invariably, still having to carry out their task at home; meet at different locations and produce timely high quality results. The experience gained and the associated network of experts are a real asset for the new RTO organisation.