AWACS flies surveillance missions over Romania and Poland
The North Atlantic Council (NAC) decided on March 10, 2014, to employ NATO AWACS (Airborne Early Warning and Control Aircraft) surveillance aircraft over Poland and Romania.
"The NAC decision is a clear indication of the relevance of the E-3A Component in our times," said Col. René Moerland, Component deputy commander.
This employment increases the understanding of what is happening in the region, including in Ukraine, for NATO Allies. All AWACS surveillance flights will take place solely over Alliance territory and no flights will take place over Ukraine.
Operating solely from its main operating base, the Component will fly a line of tasking every day to Romania and a line of tasking every other day Poland. These surveillance missions will be shared with the E-3D Component, who will fly out of Waddington, United Kingdom. NATO AWACS is a high readiness force which can be employed at very short notice," Colonel Moerland said.
The first flight was conducted on March 14th to provide Air and Maritime Surveillance in order to enhance situational awareness of NATO Commands and to reassure NATO allies in the region.
Colonel Moerland, participated as a tactical director on the first mission from the NATO Airbase Geilenkirchen.
"We all can be very proud of that achievement. Again the men and women of the E-3A component showed that they are ready to support NATO commanders on short notice with a robust and modern airborne surveillance and command and control capability whenever and wherever it is needed," had been his first remarks after landing with his crew.
A NATO AWACS takes off from NATO Air Base Geilenkirchen, Germany, on to provide air and maritime surveillance over Romania March 14, 2014. (Photo by Andrea Hohenforst) With a future perspective he continued: "Now, the challenge is to sustain this achievement, while continuing the ISAF operation and the training program at the MOB. With the upcoming redeployment, the runway restoration and the ongoing Force Review, this is quite a task, but I am confident that - together - we will make it through these demanding times."
Due to the multi nationality of our employed aircrew the first "Surveillance Controller" in Romanian Airspace was a Romanian crew member, Master Sgt. Ruxandra Rafail. She said, "It is great to work in this multinational Component and especially in this case - to fly over my country and to protect it."