The two involved aircraft took off from both homebases of NATO's Airborne Early Warning and Control Force: from Geilenkirchen, Germany and from Waddington, United Kingdom. AWACS aircraft can constantly monitor the airspace within a radius of several hundred kilometers and can exchange information in near real-time via digital data links, providing a valuable contribution to the security of the event.
Our AWACS aircraft are high value assets for the Alliance, contributing vitally to our vigilance and the ability to detect airborne threats and sometimes also, as in this case, to the security of our Leaders Meetings.
NATO AWACS routinely patrol the skies during major events, including meetings of world leaders and other high-profile public events, such as international football tournaments. In support of NATO operations AWACS aircraft can be employed for a variety of tasks, such as airspace surveillance and early detection of airborne threats, providing a radar picture of ongoing activities at sea or the command and control of other NATO air assets. Currently AWACS aircraft are flying missions in support of NATO's Assurance Measures to its Eastern Allies, of the effort to defeat ISIS as well as of Operation SEA GUARDIAN, a maritime surveillance mission in the Mediterranean to counter terrorism.
A NATO AWACS with special decal for NATO's 70th anniversary takes of from Geilenkirchen Airbase, Germany (symbolic). Photo by Andre Joosten.
A NATO AWACS with special decal for NATO's 70th anniversary taxing at Geilenkirchen Airbase, Germany (symbolic). Photo by Andre Joosten.