NATO will deploy Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS) surveillance aircraft to Bucharest Romania on Tuesday.
NATO is deploying the AWACS aircraft to Romania to support the defense coalition’s ongoing efforts in response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine. The conflict in Ukraine served to revitalize NATO and the coalition maintains broad support for its collective actions. NATO aircraft are a continuous presence over Eastern Europe since the outbreak of the war, and the AWACS aircraft will continue to bolster NATO’s airborne capabilities. Interoperability is a key function for the NATO air policing mission, and the AWACS serves as the lynchpin in that capability.
The deployment of the AWACS aircraft signals continued resolve from the alliance. Furthermore, the choice of Romania – as opposed to the aircraft’s homebase in Germany – highlights the focus on Ukraine. This deployment alone will not have a perceptible impact on NATO’s defensive posture, nor will it have a direct impact on combat operations in Ukraine. The AWACS aircraft will continue to enable NATO to defend its eastern flank. The surveillance planes are also likely to play a role in NATO and the United States’ ongoing intelligence-sharing efforts with the Ukrainian military.
Grant is an Analyst with Foreign Brief and he is an EA-18G Growler pilot in the US Naval Reserve. He holds a master's degree with distinction from the University of London SOAS and focuses on security issues in the Asia Pacific.