Currently AWACS aircraft are flying missions in support of NATO’s Assurance Measures to its Eastern Allies, introduced in 2014, after Russia’s illegal and illegitimate annexation of the Crimean peninsula. The Alliance implemented these Assurance Measures with the goal to demonstrate the collective resolve of Allies, demonstrate the defensive nature of NATO and deter Russia from aggression or the threat of aggression against NATO Allies. They are flexible and scalable in response to fluctuations in the security situation facing the Alliance and send a strong, unambiguous message to the public. A tailored Assurance Measures mission has been implemented over Turkey, following the crisis in Syria, just south of the Turkish border.
AWACS flights in support of these Assurance Measures are to show NATO’s presence and demonstrate its readiness to react to members and their populations. Furthermore these surveillance flights are enhancing the Alliance’s situational awareness.
AWACS aircraft also conduct flights in contribution to the effort to defeat ISIS, demonstrating NATO’s resolve to tackle terrorism and the security challenges emanating from the south. Operating within NATO borders and, if required international airspace, AWACS aircraft provide the surveillance and situational awareness necessary to enhance the overall air picture available to the Global Coalition against the so called 'Islamic State'.
At the Warsaw Summit in 2016, the Alliance established Operation SEA GUARDIAN, a maritime surveillance mission in the Mediterranean to counter terrorism. AWACS aircraft conduct flights in support of this mission, using their maritime surveillance radar.