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NATO started flying E-3A AWACS in support of anti-IS coalition

World Aviation Defense & Security News - NATO
NATO started flying E-3A AWACS in support of anti-IS coalition
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg announced on Tuesday that NATO AWACS aircraft started flying in direct support of the Counter-ISIL Coalition last week, on Oct. 20. He added that the surveillance aircraft will not be part of combat operations.
NATO started flying AWACS in support of anti IS coalition 640 001A NATO E-3A AWACS surveillance aircraft
(Credit: NATO)
"I can announce that the first NATO AWACS flight in support of the Coalition fighting ISIL took place last week, on the 20th October," Jens Stoltenberg told yesterday during a press briefing in Brussels.

NATO leaders agreed in July to commit the AWACS planes after Washington had pressed hard for the alliance to make a concrete gesture to help the fight against IS.

NATO operates a fleet of 16 AWACS surveillance aircraft. They are currently the only military equipment that NATO owns itself as an Alliance. Derived from the Boeing 707, AWACS can provide air surveillance, command and control, battle space management and communications.

Using a radar dish mounted on top of the airplane, AWACS have the ability to detect aircraft and ships at great distance.  NATO’s AWACS are based at the NATO Airbase Geilenkirchen in Germany, with forward operating airfields in Greece, Italy, Turkey and Norway. AWACS aircrews are drawn from 15 NATO member countries. 

AWACS have played an important role in NATO activities for over three decades, including over Afghanistan, Libya and the Balkans. In response to Russia’s illegal annexation of Crimea in March 2014, NATO AWACS started reconnaissance flights over Eastern Europe.