FOB Trapani was activated on 1 January 1986 and began flight operations on 11 March of the same year, when the first E-3A aircraft landed. The FOB's mission is to provide technical, operational and logistic support to the NATO AWACS fleet and crews deploying from Main Operating Base (MOB) Geilenkirchen. Its capability to react quickly with well-prepared personnel made FOB Trapani the first choice during international contingencies.
Over the years the FOB has provided support to numerous air operations including Anchor Guard, Sharp Guard, Balkans, Deny Flight, Decisive Endeavour, Deliberate Guard, Deliberate Force, Allied Forge, Joint Guardian, Eagle Assist, Crescent Guard, unified protector, Augusta, Jupiter I and Jupiter II, as well as to exercises such as Mare Aperto, Spring Flag, Vega, Destined Glory Haf-Ierax, Adex, Ierex, Distant Glory, Trial Spartan Hammer, Trinex, Magic Viking, Magic Venture, Ace Comao, Cold Igloo, Trial Imperial Hammer, Loyal Mariner, Noble Midas, Natinad, Patriot Live Fire, Aviano Capeval, Noble Midas, Capeval and Noble Archer.
In addition to regular training and operational activity of the E-3A Component, the FOB has provided support to serval high-visibility international events such as the G8 Summit in L'Aquila and the funeral of Pope John Paul II. FOB personnel are provided by the Italian Air Force and are directly assigned to the E-3A Component. The FOB has an Operations Section, Maintenance Section, Admin Section and IT section.