NATO E-3A AWACS
NATO E-3A AWACS (CREDIT: http://www.aco.nato.int)

NATO Looking Ahead to Surveillance-Aircraft Fleet Upgrades

Enhancements to missile-defense capabilities being discussed for NATO's next surveillance-aircraft fleet.

Planning is underway as NATO seeks to enhance it’s surveillance-aircraft fleet with missile-defense capabilities at the forefront of early discussions.

The process, likely to be completed in the 2030s, will look to replace NATO’s Airborne Early Warning and Control aircraft (AWACS).

NTI.org has reported that the “United States, France, the United Kingdom, Germany and Italy discussed plans on April 2 at a so-called “Five Powers” meeting in Brussels.” The NATO Industrial Advisory Group has also begun looking into new technologies that may be considered for the next fleet.

While there is not yet a formal, alliance-approved requirements list for the new plane, supporting theater-level missile defense is among the operational scenarios envisioned for the new capability, according to the document. One NATO insider said under consideration is the fielding of missile-tracking sensors that would detect incoming projectiles and supply ground-based interceptors with targeting data.

According to NTI.org, “interim report by the industry advisers is expected in August; the final version is due in April 2015.”

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