The visit also took place in context of the Quarterly Scheduling Conference hosted by Slovenia. At the Conference, personnel from across NATO Allied Command Operations conduct planning for airborne early warning assets. Following a training mission in the South of Germany, the NATO E-3A AWACS flew over the Slovenian capital Ljubljana before landing at Cerklje-ob-Krki Air Base.
Commander of the NATO E-3A Component Operations Wing, Colonel Maurizio Maggio thanked the Slovenian authorities for hosting the Quarterly Scheduling Conference. “NATO AWACS is a key early warning capability, and a powerful, flexible and deployable capability for air and sea surveillance”, he said and underlined “The Conference gives us also a great opportunity to provide a better insight into the role of AWACS and it underlines our shared commitment to protect every inch of Allied territory.”
Colonel Janez Gaube, Commander 15th Wing, Slovenian Armed Forces welcomed the NATO asset as his base and highlighted the importance of the visit. “We are honoured to welcome the NATO AWACS. This is a great opportunity to show our possibilities to support NATO AWACS and we are looking forward to continuing this in the future”, he emphasized.
Equipped with long-range radar and passive sensors, the NATO AWACS can detect air and surface contacts hundreds of kilometres away and provide that information to the Alliance. This makes the E-3A a key capability for NATO and Allies, not only in the field of early warning, but also in the fields of command and control, and battle management.
In response to Russia’s war in Ukraine, NATO has increased its air presence in the Eastern part of the Alliance using fighter jets, surveillance aircraft and tankers. Since February 2022, NATO AWACS have conducted hundreds of patrols over Eastern and Northern Europe to monitor Russian air movements. The aircraft belongs to a fleet of 14 NATO-owned surveillance aircraft based in Geilenkirchen, Germany.