NATO AWACS Support to the Counter ISIL Coalition
NATO AWACS aircraft on the tarmac in Konya, Turkey. From there, they fly over Turkey and over international waters of the Eastern Mediterranean. - NATO photo by LTC Dirk Mathes, DEUA
SHAPE, Belgium - NATO AWACS are taking on an expanded role in the fight against ISIL following a decision by NATO leaders when they met on Thursday, May 25, 2017 in Brussels.
In October 2016, all 28 Allies agreed to provide direct AWACS support to the Global Coalition to Counter ISIL. 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 allows NATO AWACS to coordinate coalition aircraft during their missions in the fight against Daesh. In this capacity they will act in a similar fashion to an airborne Air Traffic Control capability which will allow them to coordinate aircraft movements and ensure safe airspace use by coalition aircraft. It is important to note that NATO AWACS will not be involved in the direction of fighters or bombers onto targets.
In the coming weeks, as a result of offers of air refuelling support from a number of Allied nations, NATO AWACS will be able to spend a longer period of time on station supporting and coordinating coalition air operations.
"The AWACS forces also welcomes the offer of a number of NATO nations to provide air to air refuelling during counter ISIL mission which extend orbit times considerably” adds Air Commodore Paddy Teakle, deputy Commander of NATO’s Airborne Early Warning and Control Force.
NATO AWACS are operating out of Konya, Turkey, flying over Turkey and over international waters of the Eastern Mediterranean. Since the beginning of the support to the Counter ISIL mission they have flown more than 60 missions and more than 400 hours in support of the fight again Daesh. 16 Nations are currently contributing to NATO’s eyes in the sky.
Story by SHAPE Public Affairs Office