Home  /  Newsroom  /  2021  /  NATO marks 60th anniversary of European air patrols

Jul 1 2021

NATO marks 60th anniversary of European air patrols

RAMSTEIN, Germany - NATO on Thursday, July 1, marked the 60th anniversary of the Alliance's work to keep European skies and territories secure. Since July 1, 1961, Allies have been working together and integrating their Air Defence arrangements and assets to provide coordinated, interlinked and collective Air Defence. This NATO enduring mission continues unabated today and will evolve to meet future security challenges. 

For six decades, Air Policing has been an important way for NATO to keep our people safe. This is a clear example of Alliance solidarity in action, demonstrating that NATO has the capabilities and the resolve to protect all Allies 
_nato2
_nato3
_nato4
How it started ... control and warning station, air command and control centre and fighter aircraft that NATO used during the 1960s stand for closer Alliance integration and coordination to ensure collective Air Defence in peacetime. Photo Crown Copyright.

"For six decades, Air Policing has been an important way for NATO to keep our people safe. Across Europe, NATO fighter jets are on duty around the clock to guard the airspace of our Allies. This is a clear example of Alliance solidarity in action, demonstrating that NATO has the capabilities and the resolve to protect all Allies," said NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg at NATO Headquarters in Brussels. "The pilots and aircrews are doing an important job, and I want to thank them for the dedication and for their professionalism. All Allies owe them a deep level of gratitude. NATO remains vigilant. And as agreed at our recent Summit, we will accelerate innovation and continue to invest in new technologies, to sharpen our technological edge in a more competitive world," he added.

"Over the last 60 years, men and women from air forces across the Alliance have been ready to react 24/7 to defend NATO air space from any and all threats. That has not changed," said the Commander of Allied Air Command, U.S. Air Force General Jeff Harrigian, underscoring the ongoing relevance of the collective Air Policing mission. "Today, in a dynamic and challenging security environment, NATO Air Policing staff from across the Alliance remain vigilant and ready to respond as an agile, multi-national team," he added.

_nato2
_nato3
_nato4
How it's going ... a radar site in Iceland, the Static Air Defence Centre at Combined Air Operations Centre Uedem, Germany, and an Italian Air Force fifth generation fighter aircraft demonstrate how NATO continues to evolve its collective capabilities through innovation by using cutting-edge technology to ensure safe and secure skies for the Allies. 
(Photos from left to right: courtesy Icelandic Coast Guard, by Sébastien Raffin, courtesy Italian Air Force)

General Harrigian's command at Ramstein, Germany, oversees an integrated system of systems involving air command and control centres, air surveillance stations and – most visible – fighter jets on constant standby across NATO's European territory ready to safeguard the Allies on behalf of NATO's Supreme Allied Commander Europe.

"We have sustained and improved Air Policing for 60 years while welcoming many new members to NATO and committing ourselves to territorial integrity and the safety of our airspace and the cause of peace," said U.S. Air Force Major General Phillip Stewart, Deputy Chief of Staff Strategic Employment. "From all of us at Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe we say thank you to all the men and women from across the Alliance for all they have done, and continue to do, to sustain peace," he concluded.

Moving forward, NATO will continue to evolve its collective capabilities through innovation by using cutting-edge technology further improving situational awareness, exercising multi-domain operations, and integrating fifth generation aircraft. "As an Airman, I am proud to stand alongside the men and women of all 30 Allied Nations who continue to contribute to the NATO Air Policing mission - thank you," said General Harrigian acknowledging the people who have been behind NATO's success story of collective defence for six decades.

Story by Allied Air Command Public Affairs Office

Search our content:

Address

HQ Allied Air Command
Flugplatz Ramstein
66877 Ramstein-Miesenbach
Germany

Media Operations

Public Affairs Office
Building/Gebäude 313
66877 Ramstein-Miesenbach
Germany