On 14 October 2020, CAOC Torrejon coordinated Italian Eurofighters in Anti-Surface Force Air Operations training against Standing NATO Maritime Group 2 off the coast of Sardinia. The Spanish frigate Álvaro de Bazán similarly practiced its anti-air warfare drills while it was escorting a high value asset.
The next day Canadian CF-188s together with U.S. F-16s carried out an air defence exercise in the Black Sea region. They were supported by Ground-Based Command and Control units from Romania and Bulgaria. Turkey provided key air-refuelling capabilities enabling the NATO AWACS aircraft to provide enhance awareness to the fighter jets during the exercise. The whole mission was overseen by the multi-national staffs in the operations center at CAOC Torrejón.
CAOC Torrejón's operations center team busy directing air activities across southern Europe. Photo courtesy of CAOC Torrejón
These activities show how effectively NATO can perform multi domain complex operations across to breadth of the Alliance. This was emphasized by Brigadier General Sergio Pereira, Air Operations Center Director, CAOC Torrejón. He said: “These exercises demonstrate NATO's commitment to deterrence and defence in the Euro-Atlantic Area. All aerial exercises are part of a permanent dynamic that aims to make interoperability and training among Allies more effective and fluid. Only in this way, we will be able to achieve the objectives of the Alliance and bring to life the values in which we all believe, promoting a climate of peace and harmony.”
All aerial exercises are part of a permanent dynamic that aims to make interoperability and training among Allies more effective and fluid.
Canadian CF-188s preparing for joint training over the black sea. Archive photo by Cpl Gary Calve
Simultaneous to overseeing the training activities in the Mediterranean and Black Sea, CAOC Torrejón carried out an internal exercise preparing members for operations in a Joint Force Air Component HQ. The scenario was based around a Peace Support Operation and a contemporary hybrid conflict. Around 100 staff, from across Combat Plans, Combat Operations and Intelligence Surveillance and Reconnaissance Divisions took part in the event. Designing the exercise during COVID-19 was a challenge, however valuable training was delivered in a COVID-19 secure environment.
CAOC Torrejón is located northeast of Madrid, Spain. Its primary mission is to plan, direct, coordinate, monitor, analyse and report on Air Policing operations in NATO airspace south of the Alps. Their work coordinating NATO air and maritime units enables forces to be deployed to critical points within NATO’s Southern Area of Responsibility, responding to threats as they arise.