After thorough preparation and planning, jointly and effectively coordinated between the French and NATO Headquarters, France agreed to declare its assets eligible for NATO Air Policing duties over the French airspace and neighboring countries as of 01 June 2015. After a short period of time, necessary to update and implement the required operational and tactical baseline documentation, French airspace has been included in the NATO Integrated Air and Missile Defence System (NATINAMDS) as of 10 June, essential to NATO’s air and missile defence policy and the cornerstone to the Alliance’s collective defence.
NATO assumes responsibility for monitoring airspace over the SACEUR’s area of responsibility. For the airspace over France, this responsibility is shared between Allied Air Command’s two Combined Air Operations Centres (CAOCs). The first, CAOC Uedem, located in Germany monitors all Northern NATO airspace including the north of France; and, likewise, CAOC Torrejon, located in Spain, monitors Southern NATO airspace including the south of France. This split is unique to NATO allies and demonstrates the special relationships and interoperability shared across the Alliance. This integration across Allied Air Command and the coordination between France and the CAOCs reflects emerging air command control capabilities for the Alliance’s collective defence mission.
“France is now fully integrated into the NATINAMDS”, says Lieutenant-General Dominique de Longvilliers, Deputy Commander of Allied Air Command. “As with every other Ally, French sovereignty is maintained through air policing. It is an important step forward for the Alliance, which now has the responsibility to monitor and perform peacetime Air Policing mission over a seamless airspace from Spain to Norway and from Western Atlantic coast to Eastern border of Turkey. We will continue to fine-tune our command and control procedures during the upcoming months to ensure NATO’s high standard of interoperability as well as the Alliance’s security. However, we already know we are on the right track. Indeed, this morning at 11h09 a French Mirage 2000 was requested by CAOC Uedem to takeoff against a military target for exercise. At 11h19, the M 2000 was airborne and at 11h35 the target was successfully intercepted.”