NATO Eyes Antimissile Gains in Surveillance-Plane Upgrades

A NATO airborne warning and control system, or "AWACS," aircraft takes off from an alliance air base at Geilenkirchen, Germany, in March 2011. Officials have begun discussions for replacing the surveillance aircraft with a more-capable fleet sometime in the 2030s.
National Journal
Sebastian Sprenger
Add to Briefcase
Sebastian Sprenger
April 23, 2014, 10:26 a.m.

NATO has be­gun ini­tial de­lib­er­a­tions for up­grad­ing the al­li­ance’s sur­veil­lance-air­craft fleet, with an eye to­ward im­prov­ing its mis­sile-de­fense cap­ab­il­it­ies.

At is­sue is the way for­ward in re­pla­cing the al­li­ance-owned Air­borne Early Warn­ing and Con­trol air­craft — Boe­ing E-3 Sen­try planes com­monly known by the ac­ronym AWACS — some­time in the 2030s. Giv­en the ex­pect­a­tion of a long ac­quis­i­tion pro­cess for the pro­ject, some of­fi­cials be­lieve that the time is now to be­gin plan­ning.

De­fense ac­quis­i­tion lead­ers from the United States, France, the United King­dom, Ger­many, and Italy dis­cussed plans on April 2 at a so-called Five Powers meet­ing in Brus­sels, ac­cord­ing to the gath­er­ing’s writ­ten agenda pre­pared for par­ti­cipants.

The NATO In­dus­tri­al Ad­vis­ory Group, a pan­el of de­fense-in­dustry ex­ec­ut­ives provid­ing coun­sel on mil­it­ary hard­ware, has ad­di­tion­ally be­gun study­ing what kinds of new tech­no­lo­gies should go in­to the next-gen­er­a­tion air­craft, ac­cord­ing to the sum­mary of a March 31 meet­ing ob­tained by Glob­al Se­cur­ity News­wire.

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.

Such a cap­ab­il­ity — along with oth­er planned en­hance­ments for areas like mari­time sur­veil­lance, in­tel­li­gence sup­port, or the com­mand and con­trol of forces — would take the en­vi­sioned up­grades “far bey­ond” what the al­li­ance’s cur­rent AWACS fleet can do, the in­sider said. The source spoke with GSN on con­di­tion of an­onym­ity to of­fer more candor on the emer­ging trans-At­lantic top­ic, which is ex­pec­ted to come up at the Septem­ber NATO sum­mit in Wales.

An in­ter­im re­port by the in­dustry ad­visers is ex­pec­ted in Au­gust; the fi­nal ver­sion is due in April 2015.

Some AWACS planes were dis­patched to con­duct sur­veil­lance flights over Po­land and Ro­mania last month amid ten­sions with Rus­sia over Mo­scow’s ac­tions in Ukraine.

“This em­ploy­ment in­creases the un­der­stand­ing of what is hap­pen­ing in the re­gion, in­clud­ing in Ukraine, for NATO al­lies,” the al­li­ance said on its web­site.

What We're Following See More »
PER NEW AGENCY PLAN
FDA Trying to Reduce Nicotine In Cigarettes
1 hours ago
THE DETAILS

"The agency intends to issue an Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPRM) to seek input on the potential public health benefits and any possible adverse effects of lowering nicotine in cigarettes."

Source:
PLAN C?
Senate Looks to Pass “Skinny Repeal” Then Negotiate with House
1 days ago
THE LATEST

"Senate GOP leaders picked up support Wednesday for their plan to pass a scaled-back bill to repeal a handful of elements in the current health law, and then open negotiations with House Republicans to try to bring together their two very different bills."

Source:
“CLEAN REPEAL”
Senate Votes Down Repeal without Replace
1 days ago
THE LATEST
TURNED OVER NOTES
Manafort Testifies in Closed Session
2 days ago
THE LATEST

"Paul Manafort, who served as a top aide to President Trump’s 2016 campaign, on Tuesday provided congressional investigators notes he took during a Trump Tower meeting with a Russian lawyer that has emerged as a focus in the investigation of Russian interference in the election. Manafort’s submission, which came as he was interviewed in a closed session by staff members for the Senate Intelligence Committee, could offer a key contemporaneous account of the June 2016 session."

Source:
PENCE BREAKS THE TIE
Senate Will Debate House Bill
2 days ago
THE LATEST

By the narrowest of margins, the Senate voted 51-50 this afternoon to begin debate on the House's legislation to repeal and replace Obamacare. Sens. Lisa Murkowski and Susan Collins defected from the GOP, but Vice President Pence broke a tie. Sen. John McCain returned from brain surgery to cast his vote.

Source:
×
×

Welcome to National Journal!

You are currently accessing National Journal from IP access. Please login to access this feature. If you have any questions, please contact your Dedicated Advisor.

Login