Italian Chief of Defence in Kahramanmaras to visit Italian SAMP/T battery

Italian Chief of Defence, General Claudio Graziano, arrived in Turkey to meet Italian military personnel deployed to Kahramanmaras supporting NATO’s augmentation of Turkey’ Air Defence. Photo courtesy Italian Armed Forces
Jun 23, 2016

On Thursday the Italian Chief of Defence, General Claudio Graziano, arrived in Turkey for a two-day visit to meet Italian military personnel deployed to the town of Kahramanmaras in the south supporting NATO’s augmentation of Turkey’ Air Defence.

Italy responded to an Alliance request and deployed a surface-to-air missile battery and approximately 130 personnel in order to defend the population and territory of Turkey against threats posed by missiles from across its border with Syria.

The Italian weapon systems arrived in Turkey in early June and deployed to a facility near Kahramanmaras, some 90 km north of the border to Syria.

Over the last weeks, Italy and Turkey have been cooperating bedding down the unit. Activities are now ongoing to integrate the unit into NATO’s command and control system executed out of NATO’s Headquarters Allied Air Command (AIRCOM) at Ramstein, Germany. Transfer of command authority to NATO with Operational Command for AIRCOM will occur at the end of the month.

Background: In response to Turkey’s request, NATO Foreign Ministers decided on 4 December 2012 that NATO would augment Turkey’s air defence capabilities in order to defend the population and territory of Turkey against threats posed by missiles from across its border with Syria.

Since January 2013, five Allies have contributed missile batteries to augment Turkey’s air defence: Germany, the Netherlands, and the United States have completed their deployments. Currently, Spain provides one Patriot missile battery and Italy is the fifth Ally with one ASTER SAMP/T battery. All units operated and/or will operate under NATO command, plugged into NATO’s air defence system. Until the end of 2015, two German PATRIOT batteries had been deployed at the facilities at Kahramanmaras.

NATO’s Supreme Allied Commander, General Scaparrotti, has operational command responsibility for the missiles deployment. He has delegated responsibility to Allied Air Command, Ramstein, which is in charge of NATO’s air defence, and to NATO military commanders on the ground.

Read more about NATO’s augmentation of Turkey’s air defence here  An updated fact sheet can be found here

 

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