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Feb 24 2022

40 YEARS AGO, THE FIRST NATO E-3A AWACS LANDED AT NATO AIR BASE GEILENKIRCHEN

Geilenkirchen, Germany - This year, on February 24, exactly 40 years ago, a multi-national aircrew landed the first of eighteen NATO E-3A Airborne Early Warning and Control (AWACS) aircrafts at NATO Air Base Geilenkirchen.  

This historic moment marked a milestone for the NATO Airborne Early Warning and Control Force (NAEW&CF) and the NATO Alliance. Since 1982, the NAEW&CF is providing air surveillance and situational awareness and is delivering Airborne Command and Control to NATO Allies, ensuring the integrity and security of NATO Air Space.

In the last four decades NATO E-3A AWACS conducted a wide range of missions from peacetime air policing, support to counter-terrorism, evacuation operations, embargo, humanitarian aid, and crisis response missions. From the active support of NATO offensive air operations against the regime of the former Yugoslavia over our deployment to the United States of America after the terrorist attacks of 9/11 and to Afghanistan as part of the ISAF operation to our current support to the coalition against the Islamic State terrorism, NATO AWACS has been continuously engaged in maintaining peace and security around the globe.First_Landing_1982
First Landing

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First Flight

NATO AWACS holds a unique place in NATO military history because it is the first multinational operational flying unit established by the Alliance, with 20 NATO member nations participating in the programme. It's long standing and continued mission is to perform air surveillance and battle management tasks ordered by the NAEW&C Force Commander on behalf of the Supreme Allied Commander Europe as tasked by the North Atlantic Council (NAC), NATOs highest leadership institution. 

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First Mission Crew

Story by AWACS Public Affairs Office

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Airborne Early Warning
& Control Force

P.O. Box 40800
Lilienthalallee 100
52511 Geilenkirchen
Germany

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Public Affairs Office
P.O. Box 40800
Lilienthalallee 100
52511 Geilenkirchen
Germany