The German and Spanish Air Forces have conducted NATO’s enhanced Air Policing mission for the first time.
The exercise involved 140 personnel from Germany and approximately 60 from Spain.
It was carried out at the Amari Air Base in Estonia and was led by NATO’s northern Combined Air Operations Center at Uedem.
During the mission, a Eurofighter from each air force identified and escorted a non-NATO aircraft in the Baltic region.
The detachments operated a fleet of nine Eurofighter jets throughout the exercise.
“This combined deployment allowed for a significant reduction of our footprint in terms of personnel and materiel,” German Detachment Commander Lt. Col. Georg Hummel said.
“Summing up the result of this interoperability endeavour we increased the detachment size by one third and almost doubled the mission output. For us it is a huge success – and it is a huge success for NATO as well,” he continued.
‘Interoperability and Cooperation’
The air policing mission was the first event in which the German Air Force shared arms, guided missiles, and ammunition with Spanish fighters.
The German detachment also utilized tanker trucks and tractors to provide Spanish aircraft with fuel.
A case-by-case review was conducted during the mission when instant replacement or exchange of larger and more complicated equipment was impossible due to the difference between German and Spanish Eurofighter variants.
The air forces’ technical and aerial teams displayed interoperability and cooperation over nearly three weeks of planning and two weeks of joint air policing.
“With these combined alert missions we have achieved great success as a result of teamwork and thanks to the interoperability of our advanced weapons system,” Spanish Detachment Commander Major Miguel Ángel López García said.
“Shared maintenance has reduced the logistics footprint, deploying fewer personnel and material by each country for this type of operation, and twice the joint operability of the Eurofighters has been generated than would have been obtained if both countries had worked separately,” he added.