NATO E-3A AWACS Participates in Baltic Air Policing Exercise

The E-3A AWACS is participating in Ramstein Alloy, June 29 to 30, an air policing exercise hosted by Estonia. The exercise gives NATO and Partners the opportunity to train its quick reaction capabilities in the Baltic Sea region. The E-3A AWACS plays a vital role in air policing throughout NATO territory using its powerful airborne radar and command and control capabilities. The exercise brings together regional Allies and Partners to practice simulated scenarios such as communications loss and slow mover intercepts. The E-3A weapons controllers carry out air command and control during the air-to-air combat training.

“The AWACS brings its ability to control an air policing mission anywhere in Europe. This exercise allows all assets to practice and develop the air policing mission, with different agencies being involved each time. The NATO AWACS is a central player in collective defence of European airspace, responding to both military and civilian aircraft that aren’t complying with international flight regulations in or approaching Allied airspace. This year’s exercise coincides with the 60th anniversary of the NATO air policing mission,” said Captain James Storm, Air Training Squadron Instructor Weapons Controller.

NATO E3-A weapons controllers direct NATO fighters to intercept aircraft during Exercise Ramstein Alloy. Photo courtesy of NATO SHAPE PAO.

This capability is bolstered by a Turkish Air Force E-7T Peace Eagle which is flying from Turkey to take part in the exercise. Air policing is critical as it can happen anywhere in Europe at any minute of the day. Training is effective in helping to prepare for air policing success during an operational mission.The E-3A AWACS also participated in a media day at Amari Air Base, Estonia. Giving the opportunity to showcase the E-3A mission and its involvement in NATO air policing, the local community will get to see first hand how this aircraft has helped since air policing was established.

Under Allied Air Command’s operational control, the Airborne Early Warning and Control Force operates a fleet of Boeing E-3A ‘Sentry’ Airborne Warning & Control System aircraft, better known as AWACS. These aircraft provide the Alliance with an immediately available air and maritime surveillance as well as airborne command and control and air battle management capability. With mobility as an airborne warning and control system, the E-3A has a greater chance of surviving in warfare than a fixed, ground-based radar system. Among other things, E-3A can quickly change its flight path according to mission and survival requirements.

E3-A component engineer service the aircraft between sorties during Ex Ramstein Alloy. Photo courtesy of NATO SHAPE PAO.