From orbits over Turkey and international waters of the Eastern Mediterranean, NATO AWACS can look into Syrian airspace using its on board radar and sensor suite.
This surveillance, say NATO, has improved safety and has provided better situational awareness to coalition commanders.
NATO AWACS are able to coordinate Coalition aircraft during their missions in the fight against DAESH. In this capacity they act in a similar fashion to an airborne Air Traffic Control capability. This allows them to coordinate aircraft movements and ensure safe airspace use by coalition aircraft.The alliance press office however is keen to note that NATO AWACS are not involved in the direction of fighters or bombers onto targets.
“Our job is to make the airspace for the coalition assets much safer. This rare capability is a key contribution and makes a huge difference to all allied aircraft involved,” said Colonel Bas Pellemans, Deputy E3-A Component Commander, Royal Netherlands Air Force.
According to a press release:
“NATO AWACS have officially recorded over 1000 mission hours, since October 2016, in respect of the Global Coalition to Counter ISIL.
The expanded AWACS mission contributes to the Counter ISIL effort and is a clear signal of NATO’s determination to help fight terrorism. By providing AWACS support, NATO is demonstrating its resolve to tackle security challenges coming from the south.
NATO AWACS are operating out of Konya, Turkey. They have flown more than 140 mission sorties and more than 1000 hours in support of the fight again DAESH. 17 Nations are currently contributing to NATO’s eyes in the sky.”