September 11, 2001 : Attack on America
NATO Airborne Early Warning Aircraft Begin Deploying To The United States; October 9, 2001

9 Oct. 2001

SHAPE News Release
Public Information Office
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SHAPE: 01-10-01

NATO Airborne Early Warning Aircraft Begin Deploying To The United States

SHAPE HEADQUARTERS, Casteau, Belgium - The first of five NATO Airborne Warning and Control Systems aircraft (AWACS) began deploying today to the United States, freeing up planes there to support operations against terrorism. The deployment, expected to be complete within days, comes on the heels of a North Atlantic Council decision on October 4 to take measures to operationalize Article 5 of the Washington Treaty.

"The actions now underway give substance to NATO's declaration of Alliance resolve," said Gen. Joseph Ralston, the Supreme Allied Commander Europe. "This is a historic decision in that it is the first time NATO assets will have been used in direct support of the continental United States. Of course, we continue to stand ready to provide any additional support requested by the United States, on order of the North Atlantic Council."

The AWACS provides an air surveillance and early warning capability which greatly enhances effective command and control of NATO forces by enabling data to be transmitted directly from the aircraft to command and control centres on the ground, sea or in the air. There are 24 AWACS in the NATO fleet, based at Geilenkirchen, Germany, and RAF Waddington in the United Kingdom.

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