Updated: 19-Mar-2003 February 2003

26 Feb. 2003


NATO AWACS on patrol in Turkey

Two NATO radar monitoring and surveillance aircraft (AWACS) arrived at Konya airbase, Turkey, on 26 February and have begun patrols of Turkish airspace. This is part of the deployment of Alliance defensive assistance to Turkey agreed by NATO’s Defence Planning Committee on 19 February 2003.

The AWACS are special aircraft, equipped with a radar capable of detecting air traffic over longer distances and at lower levels. Their mission is to monitor Turkish airspace and provide early warning for defensive purposes.

The AWACS radar information will be linked to NATO’s Integrated Air Defence System (NATINADS) which covers Turkey’s airspace. The NATINADS in Turkey will also be reinforced by three PATRIOT ground-based air defence missile units which were sent from the Netherlands and arrived in south-east Turkey this week. The AWACS are operating out of the Turkish Air Force base in Konya.

NATO has a fleet of 17 AWACS aircraft. They are manned by multinational crews from 12 NATO countries and provide an essential air surveillance and early warning capability in operations. They are based in Geilenkirchen, Germany, and they also operate out of various forward operating bases throughout the Alliance’s European area. One of their more recent missions was to help patrol the skies over the United States in support of the fight against terrorism following the September 11 attacks.

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