NATO has deployed three E-3A Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS) surveillance aircraft to the Romanian capital to bolster the military alliance’s presence in the region and monitor Russian military activity.
The AWACS aircraft can monitor and detect aircraft hundreds of kilometers away, making them ideally suited to help guard Allied airspace, NATO said Monday.
Since Russia’s illegal war in Ukraine, NATO has reinforced its presence in eastern Europe, including with the establishment of new multinational battlegroups and enhanced air defense systems as well as the deployment of additional fighters, surveillance aircraft and tankers, a press release said.
In the event of a crisis, AWACS jets would give these assets crucial situational awareness, helping them defend Allied territory.
The aircraft began to arrive in Bucharest on 17 January and the deployment will last several weeks. They belong to a fleet of 14 NATO AWACS aircraft based in Geilenkirchen, Germany.
German Air Force Major Christian Brett, Public Affairs Officer, said: “Since the illegal annexation of Crimea in 2014, we conduct these kinds of surveillance flights over the eastern flank of NATO. We increased our flying hours since the start of the Russian invasion of Ukraine in 2022, to provide NATO commanders and HQ with the best possible information of what’s happening on the ground and in the air.”
“This a sign of NATO’s vigilance and readiness to defend every inch of NATO territory.”
„The strategic importance of NATO AWACS here in the eastern flank of the Alliance is that we have a long range of detection towards the east, and we are basically an airborne early warning for the eastern flank of the Alliance, giving a lot of time in advance when we detect something to launch eventually aircraft that are under alert, and control them. And in the event that it would be required, we could intervene by protecting the eastern flank of the Alliance.”
VIDEO| NATO deploys surveillance planes to Romania to eye Russian activity