NATO Military Committee visits NATO Air Base Geilenkirchen
Maj. Gen. Stephen Schmidt, Commander of the E-3A Component, greets the Admiral
Giampaolo Di Paola, Chairman of the Military Committee
The Chairman of NATO’s Military Committee, Admiral Giampaolo Di Paola and Committee Representatives from all 26 NATO nations visited the E-3A Component at NATO Air Base Geilenkirchen, Germany on 13 October. The visit provided the Chairman and the Committee Representatives with an up-close look at NATO AWACS flying operations and updated information about a variety of issues that impact the personnel and mission of the NATO Early Warning and Control Force (NAEW&CF).
The visit was offered to Admiral Di Paola and the Military Committee by General John Craddock, Supreme Allied Commander, Europe, to highlight the modernization of the E-3A AWACS aircraft, capabilities of the NAEW&CF and the continued success of multinational operations at the E-3A Component. Additionally, as only 16 of 26 NATO nations participate directly in the NATO AWACS programme, the visit also highlighted advantages of membership in the E-3A Component. The E-3A Component has served NATO for more than 25 years as the only multinational military flying unit in the world.
In welcoming the Committee, the Force Commander, Maj. Gen. Axel Tuettelmann, gave a brief overview of the Force. He said, “I am sure that this visit will help inform the Committee’s preparation of military advice for the North Atlantic Council whenever the operational deployment of NATO AWACS is considered.”
The Committee, which last visited the E-3A Component about five years ago, saw firsthand how the operations of 1980’s era E-3A aircraft have been revolutionized by the addition of up-to-date aircraft computer systems, improved communications technology and additional radar consoles.
“The transformation of the Component over the past few years has resulted in many changes to our operations," said Maj. Gen. Stephen D. Schmidt, Component Commander. "This visit was a very important opportunity to demonstrate to the Military Representatives of the Committee how the contributing nations have modernized our aircraft and expanded our capabilities to meet NATO's changing security needs.”
In addition to the upgraded E-3A aircraft, the visit of the Military Committee also focused attention on issues that impact the Component community, including both base personnel and people in local German and Dutch communities. In the end, the visit proved to be a great success by providing the Committee with additional i
“The value of this asset is out of discussion,” said Admiral Di Paola. “Getting a first-hand impression on its capabilities reinforced our opinion. We are all grateful for the efforts and the achievements that E3A Component of Geilenkirchen has provided to NATO for almost three decades.”