NATO AWACS (Airborne Warning and Control System) reconnaissance planes flew their 1000th flight over Eastern Europe on Wednesday. According to NATO, this milestone sends a strong signal of its solidarity with Allies in the eastern part of the Alliance.
“In response to Russia’s illegal annexation of Crimea in March 2014, NATO started reconnaissance flights over Eastern Europe to monitor the situation in neighboring Ukraine,” said a NATO statement.
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These AWACS sorties provide air surveillance and enhanced situational awareness, helping to reassure Allies on NATO’s Eastern Flank. The surveillance flights operate in the airspace of NATO member nations and do not cross into Ukrainian or Russian airspace, NATO stated.
NATO’s fleet of 16 AWACS aircraft operates from an airbase in Geilenkirchen, Germany. The high-tech aircraft provide the Alliance with essential air and sea surveillance capabilities. They can also conduct command and control functions.
Photo courtesy: NATO