Celebrating 35 years NATO AWACS operations
In 2017, the E-3 AWACS Component at Geilenkirchen Air Base celebrated it’s 35th anniversary. In the weekend of 1 and 2 July, the base welcomed the public to visit the air base for a cultural festival and static show of military aircraft. Spotters were also welcome during the arrival day of the aircraft.
The E-3A Component
The E-3A Component is one of the two operational units of the NATO Airborne Early Warning & Control Force. The other unit is the E-3D Component of the Royal Air Force at RAF Waddington in the United Kingdom. The build-up of the E-3A Component began in January 1980. Flying operations started in February 1982 after delivery of the first E-3A-aircraft. The Component was officially activated on 28 June 1982. The mission of the NATO AWACS forces is to deliver ready, responsive airborne early warning, battle management and command and control capability to operational commanders.
A lot of NATO countries participated in the static show by sending one of more aircraft. Interesting aircraft were two Greek F-4E’s, two Italian Eurofighters, a Polish MiG-29UB and SU-22UM, and an Italian G550 Airborne Early Warning aircraft.