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E-3A Component
Participating Nations
NATO Midterm Upgrade
Mission & Crew

TCA History

The E-3A Component's Operations

Today's evolving security environment is complex and has global dimension. The multidimensional concept of security includes roles such as conflict prevention, crisis and consequence management, peacekeeping, support of peacemaking, disaster response and humanitarian assistance.

Consequently, potential operations for the NATO Airborne Early Warning & Control Force go far beyond its original role of strategic air surveillance and fighter control throughout Europe. It now covers complex missions for the full spectrum of Air Battle Management, including air-to-air and air-to-ground control, air surveillance and airspace management, air policing, combat search and rescue, force marshalling and threat broadcast.

Over the past 25 years, the Component has played a significant role in promoting peace, stability, and global security. In the late eighties and early nineties, our E-3A aircraft provided NATO with critical air surveillance and control capabilities that directly led to the end of the Cold War. From July 1992 to December 2004, the Component performed missions in the Balkans to uphold the United Nations’ resolutions relating to the former Yugoslavia.

While deployed to Tinker Air Force Base, Oklahoma, following the 11 September 2001 terrorist attacks, the Component’s aircraft provided surveillance capabilities to the United States. Almost two years later, E-3A personnel and aircraft conducted surveillance operations during Operation Crescent Guard, initiated by a request from Turkey for NATO assistance due to the threat associated with the Iraq War.

The Component has also supported security efforts for many major events, including the 2004 Summer Olympic Games in Greece, the 2005 G8 Economic Summit in the United Kingdom, the 2006 World Cup football competition in our host nation and the 2007 European Defence Ministerial meeting.

In 2005, the Trainer Cargo Aircraft (TCA) transported over 117 tons of relief supplies to the victims of Hurricane Katrina in Louisiana and the Mississippi Gulf Coast. They also carried more than 68 tons of supplies to help victims of the devastating earthquake in Pakistan.

“The Component’s proud past is full of many international milestones, but we will continue to fly for peace, freedom, democracy, and the hope for a better tomorrow for all,” said former E-3A Component Commander Stephen D. Schmidt.