In a release, the Alliance point out that their AWACS aircraft routinely patrol the skies during major events, including meetings of world leaders and other high-profile public events, such as international football tournaments.
“NATO AWACS provides an important capability and we are proud to deliver support to this event”, said United States Air Force Brigadier General Andrew Hansen, Deputy Chief of Staff Operations at Allied Air Command, Ramstein.
“This shows the close cooperation between NATO and the European Union.”
Today’s mission comes at the request of the Romanian government, which is hosting the Summit of EU leaders in Sibiu.
NATO has fourteen E-3A AWACS aircraft, which are modified Boeing 707s, easily identifiable from the distinctive radar dome mounted on the fuselage.
The E-3A usually operates at an altitude of around 10 km. From this altitude a single E-3A can constantly monitor the airspace within a radius of more than 400 km and can exchange information – via digital data links – with ground-based, sea-based and airborne commanders.
An E-3A flying within NATO airspace can distinguish between targets and ground reflections and is therefore able to give early warning of any low- or high-flying aircraft.