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Aug 25 2023

NATO AWACS fleet operating out of Forward Operating Bases and Location

GEILENKIRCHEN, Germany - Essential runway maintenance work is undertaken from 21 August to 3 October at NATO Airbase Geilenkirchen in Germany. The maintenance work is important to ensure the safety and operational efficiency of the NATO E-3A AWACS. During the runway closure of the NATO Airbase the AWACS fleet is deployed to other locations to ensure continuous operational readiness and training of the aircrews.

For the last two weeks, two NATO E-3A AWACS were deployed to the Forward Operating Location (FOL) Ørland, Norway, while the other NATO AWACS operated out of Forward Operating Base Konya, Türkiye. Through these flexible deployments to different bases, the NATO Early Warning and Control Force is able to uphold complex crew training.

During the sorties flown out of FOL Ørland, the crew trained among other things nightly air-to-air refuelling, controlled British fighter aircraft, and trained procedures of simulated emergencies. The deployed crew also organized a static display of the E-3A aircraft, explaining international staff from the Norwegian Luftforsvaret the capabilities of the AWACS.

A NATO E-3A at Forward Operating Location Ørland. 
A Finnish F/A-18 Hornet. 

At the same time as the AWACS deployment, the Norwegian Air Force held exercise Arctic Fighter Meet 23 at Ørland Air Base. The exercise brought together Finnish, Swedish and Norwegian Air Forces for pilot training. The Norwegian staff of the base support provided excellent service to the three participating nations as well as to the NATO deployment. The NATO AWACS deployment commander at Ørland, US Major Sean, expressed gratitude for the support to 80 deployed military, provided by both the Norwegian Air Force and the NATO AWACS Forward Operating Location. “We are extremely thankful for the opportunity to deploy to Ørland to continue training our aircrew students and instructors here in Norway, while our main operating base runway is under construction. Our team’s success could not have been possible without steadfast support from our forward operating location staff as well as the host nation’s 132 Air Wing”, underlined the deployment commander.

Story by Airborne Early Warning & Control Force Public Affairs Office

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P.O. Box 40800
Lilienthalallee 100
52511 Geilenkirchen