The airspace of North Macedonia has been officially added to Nato’s Air Policing system following a ceremony at Skopje airport.
The ceremony marked the promotional start of Nato Air Policing over the country.
To mark the beginning of air policing over the country, a symbolic event was conducted involving two Hellenic Air Force F-16 fighter aircraft and a North Macedonian Learjet.
The event saw the F-16s execute a simulated intercept of Learjet.
A Nato E-3A airborne warning and control system (AWACS) aircraft also conducted a flypast of the event demonstrating Nato’s commitment to its member nations.
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The improved situational awareness provided by the E3-A, alongside Allied fighters such as the Hellenic Air Force F-16s, contribute to the mission that allows the integrity and protection of the airspace of the allies.
Spain’s Combined Air Operations Centre (CAOC) at Torrejón works with all Allies south of the Alps and takes control of the Air Policing mission.
Nato representative lieutenant general De La Cruz said: “Nato Air Policing is a vital part of collective defence, which serves as the backbone for the Alliance.
“The aircraft you see here today is just an example of those that remain vigilant across the Alliance 24/7 to maintain the security of our airspace.
“I hope that North Macedonia feels the support of all Allied nations now that it has been officially integrated into this collective mission.”
The Hellenic Air Force will operate from their Greek bases to conduct the Air Policing mission on behalf of North Macedonia.
This ensures a ‘single standard of airspace security’ within the area of responsibility of the Supreme Allied Commander Europe.
In June this year, ten European Nato-member countries signed an MoU to establish a pilot training programme. North Macedonia, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Turkey Greece, Hungary, Italy, Montenegro, Romania, and Spain were the participating nations.