A NATO E-3A Sentry Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS) has been deployed to one of its Forward Operating Bases at Konya, Turkey to enhance the recognised Air and Maritime picture as part of the Alliance's tailored assurance measures to its southern Ally. The aircraft began its series of additional support missions on 12th March, building a comprehensive Recognised Air and Surface Picture (RASP) for NATO commanders on the ground.
The E-3A Sentry will use a number of pre-designated orbits in Turkey in order to collect data which is then fed into the NATO Intelligence Assessment channels. This overall increase in AWACS activity will enhance interoperability, responsiveness and effectiveness of the Alliance and reinforce assurance to Turkey and other Alliance members in the area.
"It is important for us to increase stability in the region and we are determined to do what is necessary to address or deter emerging threats," said General Philip M. Breedlove, Supreme Allied Commander Europe (SACEUR).
Following a recent increase in cross-border activities with Russia, Turkey requested additional military support to the region. This additional support, approved by NATO, comes in the form of Tailored Assurance Measures and includes an increase in AWACS presence in the region as well as other integrated air, ground, and maritime activities.
NATO operates a German-based fleet of 16 AWACS aircraft, providing the Alliance with highly responsive and adaptable airborne command and control (C2) capability. The NATO Airborne Early Warning and Control Force is one of the immediate readiness elements of the NATO Response Force (NRF).