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Sep 11 2019

NATO E3-A lands at Riga International Airport

RIGA, Latvia - On Wednesday 11 September 2019, NATO’s Airborne Early Warning and Control System (AWACS) aircraft, the E-3A arrived at Riga International airport as an important part of ongoing Assurance Measures in the region. The visit also highlights the quarterly scheduling conference where personnel from across NATO Allied Air Command conduct planning for future AWACS missions. 

Colonel Bernd Jesgulke, Chief Engineer of the AWACS Force, based at Geilenkirchen, Germany, met with Colonel Aivars Mezors, Chief of the Latvian Air Force, to discuss assurance missions across the three Baltic states.

The aircraft stood out from its peers on the airfield at Riga International airport due to its distinctive pulse Doppler radar at the rear, which allows it to track aircraft and maritime assets from up to 250 miles away. The other roles the aircraft and its crew perform include acting as a command and control and fighter control node, controlling up to 150 aircraft simultaneously, search and rescue support, airspace control, Missile Defence and Maritime Support Operations. During the day various media had the opportunity to be shown around the aircraft to better understand its capabilities. 

We truly appreciate the contribution of our strategic ally with this unique capability in strengthening Latvia's and our regional security.

The Latvian Air Chief said; “We truly appreciate the contribution of our strategic ally with this unique capability in strengthening Latvia`'s and our regional security.” He added; “The landing of NATO E-3A Advanced Warning and Control system plane at Riga Airport is a very powerful signal of NATO`s solidarity and reliability. It also shows a strong understanding from our allies about the geopolitical security situation”

Media gathering imagery and footage of the AWACS after landing at Riga International Airport.

Photo by Chloe McFarlane.

NATO’s Airborne Early Warning and Control Force is the Alliance’s largest collaborative venture, exemplifying multinational cooperation, with over 15 nations contributing. Operationally, the AWACS has played an important role in NATO operations in Libya and Afghanistan, and has provided air support to secure NATO summits and other international events. Most recently the platform has been utilised in Defeat-ISIL operations, Operation Sea Guardian, a security operation aimed at working with Mediterranean stakeholders to maintain maritime situational awareness and counter-terrorism capabilities at sea, as well as ongoing Assurance Measures across NATO member countries.

The AWACS clearly stood between other aircraft at Riga International Airport, due to its distinctive Radar dome.

Photo by Chloe McFarlane.

Story by Allied Air Command Public Affairs Office

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