NATO - North Atlantic Treaty Organization

NATO Integrated Air and Missile Defence

NATO Integrated Air and Missile Defence refers to the integration of capabilities and overlapping operations of all services to defend all Alliance territory, populations and forces. Its intent is to ensure freedom of action by negating an opponent’s ability to achieve adverse effects using its air and missile capabilities.

It encompasses a network of interconnected systems to detect, track, classify, identify and monitor airborne objects, and – if necessary – to intercept them using surface-based or airborne weapons systems.

  • Components

    The NATO Integrated Air Defence System (NATINADS) – soon to become the NATO Air and Missile Defence System (NATINAMDS) – comprises sensors, command and control facilities and weapons systems, such as surface-based air defence and fighter aircraft. Some of these systems are, even in peacetime, under the operational command of Supreme Allied Commander Europe (SACEUR). NATO Integrated Air and Missile Defence is a cornerstone of NATO air and missile defence policy, and the NATINAMDS (like the NATINADS) will be a visible indication of cohesion, shared responsibility and solidarity across the Alliance.

    The Air Command and Control System

    Air Command and Control (Air C2) is essential to the success of any operation. The current Air C2 structure in NATO is a patchwork of disparate and aging systems that in many cases are reaching the end of their planned operational life.

    In view of the increasingly joint and combined nature of military operations, and the necessity of replacing soon-to-be obsolete equipment, NATO began planning more than a decade ago for the development of a new and more robust capability that would be a C2 system for all air operations. This system, called Air Command and Control System (ACCS), will facilitate the planning, tasking and execution of all air missions, as well as support NATO’s deployed operations and missions.

  • Tasks

    Air Policing

    Air policing is a collective peacetime mission which requires that actions are taken by NATO against all violations and infringements of its airspace using agreed procedures.

    Air policing requires an Air Surveillance and Control System, an Air C2 structure and appropriate interceptor aircraft, usually fighters, to be available continuously. This enables the Alliance to detect, track and identify all violations and infringements of its airspace and to take the appropriate action, which may involve scrambling interceptor aircraft to assist in the process.

    Although not all Allies possess the necessary means to provide air policing of their territory, other nations provide assistance when needed to ensure that no nation is left at a disadvantage and equality of security is provided for all.

    The Supreme Allied Commander Europe is responsible for conduct of the NATO air policing mission.

    Ballistic Missile Defence

    In 2010, NATO acquired the first phase of an initial theatre ballistic missile defence capability to protect Alliance forces against ballistic missile threats. At the 2010 NATO Summit in Lisbon, NATO’s leaders decided to develop a ballistic missile defence capability to pursue its core task of collective defence. To this end, they decided that the scope of the current Active Layered Theatre Ballistic Missile Defence (ALTBMD) programme’s command, control and communication capabilities would be expanded beyond the capability to protect forces to also include NATO European territory and populations. In this context, the United States’ European Phased Adaptive Approach (EPAA) and other possible national contributions were welcomed as a valuable national contribution to the NATO ballistic missile defence architecture.

  • Mechanisms

    The Air and Missile Defence Committee (AMDC) is the senior multinational policy advisory and coordinating body regarding all elements of NATO integrated air and missile defence and relevant air power aspects in a joint approach. It reports directly to the North Atlantic Council (NAC), and is supported by its Panel on Air and Missile Defence and two Drafting Groups. The AMDC meets in Heads of Delegation (twice yearly) and Permanent Session (monthly) formats.

    The Military Committee Working Group (Air Defence) is responsible for reviewing, advising and making recommendations to the Military Committee on air and missile defence issues.

    Other groups dealing with air and missile defence related issues include the Defence Policy and Planning Committee (Reinforced) with particular responsibilities on ballistic missile defence, the Missile Defence Project Group, which oversees the ALTBMD Programme Office, and the NATO-Russia Council Missile Defence Working Group.

    AMDC and cooperation with Partners

    Since 1994, the AMDC has maintained a dialogue with NATO partner countries in order to promote mutual understanding, transparency and confidence in air defence matters of common interest. The air defence partner cooperation programme includes fact-finding meetings with air defence experts, seminars and workshops, visits to air defence facilities and installations, joint analytical studies and a programme for the exchange of unclassified air situation data.  Recent developments include adding Mediterranean Dialogue nations to some aspects of cooperation.

  • Evolution

    In the 1970s, NATO nations participating in the military structure realised that national air defence systems operating independently were not as effective or efficient in protecting against air attack as they might be if operating in a more collective manner. Therefore, they started working together to establish a structure able to overcome this deficiency. Combining national assets supplemented as necessary by NATO elements, an integrated air defence structure and system was organised under the command and control of SACEUR.

Last updated: 04-Apr-2013 14:39

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