|Updated: 10-Oct-2001||Week of 8-14 October 2001|
NATO Airborne Early Warning Aircraft Begin Deploying To The United States
SHAPE HEADQUARTERS, Casteau, Belgium - The first of five NATO Airborne Warning and Control Systems aircraft (AWACS) began deploying today to the United States, freeing up planes there to support operations against terrorism. The deployment, expected to be complete within days, comes on the heels of a North Atlantic Council decision on October 4 to take measures to operationalize Article 5 of the Washington Treaty.
"The actions now underway give substance to NATO's declaration of Alliance resolve," said Gen. Joseph Ralston, the Supreme Allied Commander Europe. "This is a historic decision in that it is the first time NATO assets will have been used in direct support of the continental United States. Of course, we continue to stand ready to provide any additional support requested by the United States, on order of the North Atlantic Council."
The AWACS provides an air surveillance and early warning capability which greatly enhances effective command and control of NATO forces by enabling data to be transmitted directly from the aircraft to command and control centres on the ground, sea or in the air. There are 24 AWACS in the NATO fleet, based at Geilenkirchen, Germany, and RAF Waddington in the United Kingdom.
Note to Editors: A media opportunity is scheduled for Wednesday, October 10, at 9 a.m., in Geilenkirchen, GE. A spokesperson will be available to provide a general overview of the current operations, the aircraft and its capabilities. In addition, media will be able to film a pre-flight inspection, speak with crew that will deploy to the U.S., and walk through the aircraft. Space is limited to SO people. For security reasons, you will need to provide your names and identification number (a press pass) to the office in Germany (fax 49-2451-7936 or phone 49-2451-63-2480) by 8:30 a.m. on October 10. No vehicles are allowed on base; at the entrance you will be required to carry your equipment to the briefing facility, which is a short distance.