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Home  /  Newsroom  /  2016  /  AIRCOM to control NATO AWACS


RAMSTEIN, Germany - On November 1, 2016, Headquarters Allied Air Command (HQ AIRCOM) officially assumes Operational Control of the NATO Airborne Early Warning and Control Force (NAEW&C Force). "NATO’s Supreme Allied Commander Europe (SACEUR), General Curtis M. Scaparrotti, remains in charge of the overall NAEW&C Force mission,” said General Tod D. Wolters, Commander of AIRCOM. "With this new command and control arrangement HQ AIRCOM will be able to assign specific missions to the NATO AWACS in support of Alliance activity.”

The NAEW&C Force has two units with operational capability: The NATO E-3A Component in Geilenkirchen, Germany, with 16 E-3A aircraft, and the E-3D Component of the Royal Air Force (RAF) in Waddington, UK, with six E-3D aircraft crewed solely by RAF personnel. Seventeen NATO member nations participate in the NAEW&C Force programme: Belgium, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Spain, Turkey, the United Kingdom and the United States of America. Fifteen of these nations provide military personnel to the E-3A Component; while Luxembourg does not provide military personnel, the UK flies its own E-3D aircraft.

"The E-3A Component is one of the two operational units of the NAEW&CF,” said Brigadier General Karsten Stoye, the E-3A Component Commander. "It holds a unique place in military history because it was the first multinational flying unit established by the Alliance. Its mission is to perform all surveillance and battle management tasks on behalf of the SACEUR.”

The NAEW&C Force is a high readiness force that excels in its responsiveness, agility and flexibility.  It has always been one of the immediate readiness elements of the NATO Response Force and will naturally be a leading element of the Air contribution to the Very-High Readiness Joint Task Force (VJTF).  

"Allocation of operational control of the NAEW&CF to AIRCOM further strengthens our ability to deliver Air and Space Power for the Alliance,” underlined General Wolters. "We have no doubt that the transition to the new command and control arrangement will be seamless and that the NAEW&CF will continue to deliver outstanding operational results.”

Story by AIRCOM Public Affairs Office in cooperation with E-3A Public Affairs Office

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