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 Apr 10 2020

NATO helps expedite delivery of COVID-19 supplies between Allies

SHAPE, Belgium – NATO’s Rapid Air Mobility initiative facilitated the delivery of essential equipment between Allies, in support of COVID-19 relief efforts, April 10, 2020.


As one of the many ways NATO assists Allies, the Rapid Air Mobility (RAM) initiative simplified procedures for military relief flights, by using a NATO call sign to expedite Air Traffic Control clearances. This initiative is possible because of close cooperation between NATO and EUROCONTROL.

The bilateral aid consisted of medical supplies and personal protective equipment from Turkey to the United Kingdom.

Using a unique NATO OAN call sign, the Turkish military aircraft was the first of a series of Rapid Air Mobility flights approved in coordination with EUROCONTROL, the pan-European, civil-military organisation dedicated to supporting European aviation.

Using NATO call signs for military flights, allows NATO military forces to expedite delivery of life-saving medical supplies.
"The implementation of simplified procedures for Rapid Air Mobility, in coordination with EUROCONTROL, allows Allied military flights to expedite delivery of life-saving medical supplies," said Lieutenant General Rittimann, SHAPE's Vice Chief of Staff, and commander of the NATO COVID-19 Task Force. Activating the system of simplified procedures was approved by the North Atlantic Council on April 2.

"We are in this crisis together. By leveraging NATO’s experience conducting strategic coordination with multiple partners, we are enhancing the ongoing combined actions of our Allied forces,” said Lieutenant General Rittimann.

Contingency arrangements remain in place for the coordination of similar requests and flights for the immediate future.

Other NATO mechanisms for assisting Allies include the NATO’s Euro-Atlantic Disaster Response Coordination Centre (EADRCC), the NATO Support and Procurement Agency (NSPA), and support to the Strategic Airlift International Solution (SALIS) programme. The EADRCC is an important tool helping to provide relief to Allies. It is NATO’s principal civil emergency response mechanism in the

Euro-Atlantic area. The Centre operates on a 24/7 basis, coordinating requests from NATO Allies and partners for help, as well as offers of assistance to cope with the consequences of major crises such as the COVID-19 pandemic. The NATO Support and Procurement Agency (NSPA) has a leading role in responding to the crisis. The NSPA provides logistics support and the organisation of transport of key supplies and equipment to Allies, partners and other international organisations. And NATO supports the Strategic Airlift International Solution (SALIS) programme, which enables participating Allies to charter commercial transport aircraft.

Learn more about what NATO and Allied Command Operations is doing in support of the COVID-19 pandemic by visiting www.NATO.intand or following @NATO and @SHAPE_NATO on Twitter.

Story by SHAPE Public Affairs Office

Turkish AF A400M Aircraft being loaded with medical equipment for the United Kingdom at Ankara airbase, TUR. Photo by TUR MOD.
Medical equipment, such as various types of masks, and protective suits, clearly marked and on its way to the United Kingdom. Photo by TUR MOD.
Turkish medical supplies and personal protective equipment being offloaded from the Turkish AF A400M Aircraft at RAF Brize Norton near London. Photo by UK MOD.

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