NATO’s AWACS aircraft are patrolling Allied airspace in Eastern Europe, in the wake of Russia’s attack on Ukraine.
“Today’s mission is three-fold – by flying over Poland today we are defending the Alliance so we are ensuring that no unidentified aircraft enter in NATO territory,” said Major Dan Reinhardt, tactical director, NATO airborne early warning and control force adding that “We are deterring aggression, we do not want anybody to be aggressive towards NATO. And then we are assuring our Eastern partners that we are here watching their backs ensuring they are not surprised by anything.”
Also, he noted that since the invasion, ops tempo has gotten higher at Geilenkirche.
“Our radar has a range that’s over 400 kilometers so it really depends on where we are orbiting as far as how far into any country we can see, but we can see far enough into both those countries [Belarus and Russia] that we can protect our NATO partners and they will not be surprised by anything that’s flying in their vicinity,” Reinhardt said.
NATO’s Boeing E-3A Airborne Warning & Control System aircraft has a distinctive radar dome mounted on the fuselage which allows the crew to survey an area of more than 310,798 square kilometers, or about the size of Poland.