NATO's Combined Air Operations Centre (CAOC) Integrates with BALTOPS 50
NATO's Combined Air Operations Centre (CAOC) Integrates with BALTOPS 50

NATO’s Combined Air Operations Centre (CAOC) Integrates with BALTOPS 50

During the maritime-focused exercise BALTOPS 50, NATO’s Combined Air Operations Centre (CAOC) at Uedem, Germany, is responsible for planning, coordinating and controlling Allied air forces. For several years now, Allied Air Command has entrusted NATO’s Combined Air Operations Centre at Uedem with planning and executing air command and control of air activities during the BALTOPS exercise series.

The 50th iteration of the BALTOPS exercise involves 16 Allies and two Partners bringing in 40 maritime units and 60 aircraft totaling 4,000 participants. From June 6-18, air and maritime assets will participate in live training events that include air defence, anti-submarine warfare, amphibious operations, maritime interdiction, mine countermeasure operations. This training environment closely simulates real-world operations and provides essential training to operational commanders and crews.

Staff at Combined Air Operations Centre Uedem are in charge of coordinating and controlling the air play during BALTOPS50, Photo by Michael Scheller.

“We will make sure that NATO – including during this BALTOPS50 – remains transparent and vigilant, responsive and predictable. My team will contribute their share to executing BALTOPS exercise and training activities safely and professionally” stated General Habersetzer.

“We have the experience of knowing the Baltic Sea with all its players very well and it has been natural for Allied Air Command to assign this mission to us. My team at Uedem applies all their skills to accomplish the mission of controlling and coordinating Allied air and maritime air assets again during BALTOPS50. We have the experience of knowing the Baltic Sea with all its players very well and it has been natural for Allied Air Command to assign this mission to us,” said the CAOC Commander, German Lieutenant General Klaus Habersetzer.

To ensure safe air operations it is important to keep an eye on the Recognised Air Picture above the exercise region. Photo by Michael Scheller.

From their routine mission in the region, CAOC Uedem staff is familiar with the real-world specifics of the airspace above the Baltic Sea. The operations specialists execute air command and control for BALTOPS in addition to their 24/7/365 mission of controlling NATO’s Air Policing across the Allies north of the Alps. As a first on the air side of BALTOPS, the German Multinational Air Group Days will be integrated into the exercise.

The Allied and Partner aircraft operating during the MAGDAYs will provide a major part of the air assets. They will create mutual synergies and enable combined and joint training. Participants in this multinational exercise create and sustain partnerships and practice a broad range of mission areas to strengthen the capabilities of the participating naval and air units. More importantly, this exercise strengthens their ability to operate as a cohesive joint and combined force and respond to emerging crisis.

The airspace above exercising BALTOPS50 maritime units and the integration of Allied and Partner aircraft will be controlled by the CAOC specialists. Photo courtesy STRIKFORNATO.