SOFIA (Bulgaria), June 6, 2018, Source: Ministry of Defence of the Republic of Bulgaria, Photo: Ministry of Defence of the Republic of Bulgaria
“It is landmark day today, because at Sofia Airport we welcome one of the aircrafts of the E-3A (AWACS) Component of the NATO Airborne Early Warning and Control Force. For us that visit is a demonstration of the Alliance unity, of Bulgaria as a NATO member and as a part of the common system for the Alliance air defence. The AWACS aircrafts work off activities related to reconnaissance and radio-electronic control of the avionics and in the interest of the Air Defence of Bulgaria,” said the Deputy Defence Minister Atanas Zapryanov on 5th June at Sofia Airport during the static display of the NATO E-3A aircraft, equipped with an airborne warning and control system (AWACS).
“The visit of the E-3A (AWACS) aircraft is a symbol of the unity of the member states and the efforts of Bulgaria to modernize its Air Force after the NATO requirements, as well as an expression of our desire to contribute to the collective defence in the field of the air component as well,” added the Deputy Minister Zaprynov.
“In the complex geopolitical situation, the execution of the tasks of the air forces of the NATO member states requires more collective efforts and enough resources, by having in mind the national priorities and particularities at the same time. The Е-3А aircrafts provide to the Aviation Operation Centre (AOC) exceptionally valuable information about the air situation far beyond the range of our radars, exchange operative information,” said the Air Force Deputy Commander, Brig. Gen. Petyo Mirchev.
The visit of the Е-3А aircraft is organized by the Bulgarian Air Force Command under the initiative of the Allied NATO Air Command – Ramstein, Germany and is an expression of the engagement of the Alliance to the security of the southeastern region of Europe.
The Brig. Gen. Petyo Mirchev said that the necessity of good preparation and interaction between the air forces of the NATO member states is not only an end in itself, but a result from the new realities in the strategic environment. He noted that this year the Bulgarian Air Force will participate in 12 joint exercises and trainings with NATO allies, which impress not only with the bigger number of the participants, but also with the more complicated tasks.
“The Е-3А AWACS system as part of the NATO Airborne Early Warning and Control Force is a key component of the measures for guaranteeing the security of the NATO allies. We support the detention and defence activities and give our contribution, as force with high level of readiness, to the leading air components of the NATO Response Force,” said Brig. Gen. Karsten Store, E-3A Component commander from the NATO Airborne Early Warning and Control Force in Geilenkirchen, Germany.
“Our presence today at the international Sofia Airport sends a clear message: Bulgaria is an integral part of the NATO family and we, as allies, are ready to defend ourselves and do not stop being alert,” he said.
Brig. Gen. Karsten Store mentioned that after 2014, as part of the measures for guaranteeing the security of the allies, it has been performed more than 1400 missions and 11000 flying hours within the NATO European air space has been realized.
The static display of the NATO Е-3А (AWACS) aircraft was also seen by the participants in the three-day planning conference of the NATO Airborne Early Warning and Control Force, held in Bulgaria.