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 Oct 9 2020

French Commander of Air Operations discusses special Air Policing case at CAOC Torrejón

TORREJÓN, Spain – On Oct 8, 2020, Lieutenant General Vincent Cousin, Commander of the French Air Defence and Air Operations Command in Lyon, visited Combined Air Operations Centre (CAOC) Torrejón for coordination of national and Alliance Air Policing arrangements.

During his visit at Torrejón, General Cousin met with the Commander, Lieutenant General Fernando de la Cruz, and the leadership of NATO’s southern CAOC for exchanges and updates on the topic of NATO Air Policing. 

France is an important ally and for CAOC Torrejón this visit is a great opportunity to exchange views on Air Policing and our operational procedures
 

CAOC Torrejón is responsible for NATO Air Policing and oversees this collective 24/7 mission in the airspace south of the Alps. Within this area, France has a special position: it is the only NATO country that deals with both Allied CAOCs – Uedem in the north and Torrejón in the south. In terms of Air Policing, France is divided in a northern and a southern part. Both CAOCs have standardised procedures for communication, command and control and training in place ensuring responses to air incidents are executed in the same way both in the north and in the south. 

“Still, it is important and useful to regularly discuss how we cooperate to keep the skies over France secure,” said General de la Cruz. “France is an important ally and for CAOC Torrejón the visit of General Cousin is a great opportunity to exchange views on Air Policing and, where appropriate, to further improve our operational procedures. It is also   a  good   opportunity  to  increase   the

relationship with our French ally and to show the way we provide security to our nations by working together with the rest of our allies, as part of NATO,” added General de la Cruz. 

“One goal of Air Policing is to tackle a broad range of threats perpetrated by military or terrorist actors, and which are increasingly complex and non-standard,” said General Cousin. “And I appreciate the opportunity to be here at Torrejón for talks with General de la Cruz and his team,” he added. 

Both Generals concluded their programme with a tour of the CAOC’s operations room, the nerve centre of NATO Air Policing in the south. Air command and control specialists from 18 NATO Allies work here 24/7/365 ensuring the cooperative peacetime mission safeguarding the skies in the southern region. Constantly reviewing and updating tactics, techniques and procedures for communication, fighter employment, training and certification is key to executing this mission effectively and efficiently.

“The CAOC implemented strict adjustments to contain the COVID-19 pandemic protecting our staff; at the same time we were able to conduct seamless Air Policing operations and maintain necessary training, qualification and certification activities,” concluded General de la Cruz.

Story by Allied Air Command Public Affairs Office

Spanish Lieutenant General Fernando de la Cruz, Commander of NATO's Southern Combined Air Operations Centre at Torrejón, Spain, welcomed French Lieutenant General Vincent Cousin, Commander of the French Air Defence and Air Operation Command. Photo by Matthieu Mignot.
The team of Combined Air Operations Centre Torrejón briefed Lieutenant General Cousin on NATO Air Policing arrangements during the visit on October 8, 2020. Photo by Matthieu Mignot.
Portuguese Brigadier General Sergio Perreira, Director of the Air Operations Centre at Torrejón (front left), showed Lieutenant General Cousin (second form right) and General de la Cruz (front right) around the nerve centre of NATO Air Policing in the South. Photo by Matthieu Mignot

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