On Friday (3 July 2015), NATO Assistant Secretary General for Defence Investment Patrick Auroy welcomed the activation of NATO’s new Air Command and Control System (ACCS). Italy recently decided to declare the first ACCS site operational, with other NATO and national sites to follow in 2015 and subsequent years.
Poggio Renatico in Italy is the first ACCS site in NATO to achieve operational status. In addition to a static NATO air command and control centre, the site also hosts a deployable ACCS capability that SACEUR can use to conduct complex air operations anywhere in NATO or out of area. It is expected that this capability may also support NATO’s Readiness Action Plan, if required.
“This is a major step forward,” said the Assistant Secretary General; “I express my great appreciation to the Italian authorities and to NATO’s Air Command and Control community, the NATO Communication and Information Agency and industry who made this possible. I look forward to the speedy activation of the next sites. This system is a good example of integrated national and NATO defence capabilities.”
First real-life scramble
On 17 June, the first ever ACCS real-life air policing event was controlled using NATO ACCS. The order to take off was sent from the Combined Air Operation Centre located in Torrejon, Spain, and was executed by two Eurofighter Typhoon aircraft controlled by the ACCS site in Poggio Renatico.
“This event is an important milestone for the entire NATO Integrated Air and Missile Defence community,” said Major General Bernhard Fürst, Vice Chairman of the NATO Air and Missile Defence Committee.
Once fully deployed, the system will cover 10 million square kilometres (3.8 million square miles) of airspace. It will interconnect more than 20 military aircraft control centres, providing a wide spectrum of new and modern tools to all NATO air operators, and greatly increase the effectiveness of NATO air operations.