• Thursday, January 23, 2020

NATO expands role of AWACS against Islamic State

Discussion in 'Air Warfare' started by Zarvan, Jun 8, 2017.

  1. Zarvan

    Zarvan ELITE MEMBER

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    Having previously provided surveillance and situational awareness for commanders in the campaign against the Islamic State, the NATO E-3A Component now will also co-ordinate coalition aircraft during their missions against the organisation. It will not, however, be involved in the direction of fighters or bombers on to targets. Source: NATO E-3A Component

    NATO has expanded the role of its E-3A Component in the fight against the Islamic State, authorising its Boeing E-3A Airborne Warning And Control System (AWACS) aircraft to co-ordinate coalition strike missions in the Middle East for the first time.

    The 6 June announcement by the Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe (SHAPE) clears the NATO E-3A Component to expand its current role of providing surveillance and situational awareness for commanders in the campaign against the Islamic State into one that now includes co-ordinating coalition air strikes and providing command and control (C2) for combat aircraft.

    "In October 2016, all 28 allies agreed to provide direct AWACS support to the global coalition to counter [the Islamic State]," SHAPE said. "This direct support has improved the coalition's understanding of Syrian airspace by providing surveillance to improve safety and better situational awareness to coalition commanders. This latest decision [taken during a meeting of NATO leaders on 25 May] allows NATO AWACS to co-ordinate coalition aircraft during their missions in the fight against [the Islamic State]."

    SHAPE stressed, however, that this new direction does not clear NATO AWACS aircraft to be involved in the direction of fighters or bombers on to targets. That will remain the role of the nations involved in the bombing campaign.

    Further to the expanded remit of the NATO E-3A Component mission, SHAPE noted that a number of alliance nations have offered increased aerial refuelling assets that will enable the AWACS to stay on station for longer.

    NATO AWACS aircraft are operating out of Konya in Turkey and taking up their surveillance orbits over the eastern Mediterranean Sea. Since the beginning of their involvement in the campaign against the Islamic State, they have flown more than 60 missions and more than 400 hours.

    The E-3A Component is based out of Geilenkirchen in northwest Germany and fields 16 aircraft (set to be reduced to 14 for budgetary reasons).

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    http://www.janes.com/article/71208/nato-expands-role-of-awacs-against-islamic-state