NATO’s Patriot missiles in Turkey will begin operating ‘this weekend’


From Gary Deakin, NATO:  We expect to have an initial operating capability this weekend. That’s what we’re aiming at. And so it’ll be confirmed at the weekend, but we’re aiming for initial operating capability this weekend.

What do I mean by initial operating capability? This is where we’ll have the ability… NATO will have the ability to defend some aspects of the population of what we’re going to actually cover in the big picture. The first units will arrive on station. They will plug into the NATO Command and Control network and they will be then ready to defend the population. So that’s what we’re calling initial operating capability.

The full capability we expect to deliver… we’re aiming to deliver, at the end of the month. That’s our aim and that’s when we’ll have all the patriots in and complete. All the sustainment mechanisms in and the whole organization plugged into the NATO CIS coordinated with Turkey’s air defence to provide the support… the NATO support to Turkey as requested.

And currently all that is on track. . . .

We estimate that once it’s in place at those locations that we will provide protection against missiles for up to 3.5 million people, is our current assessment. So 3.5 million Turkish people under the protection of this missile defence capability in support of Turkey’s air defence.

And I’d also emphasize again, I mentioned a couple of minutes ago about the CIS aspects. Lots of nations involved in that. There’ll be NATO detatchments each location, providing the communication support, so a lot of nations involved, not just those from the contributing nations, and they’ll provide that support to enable the command and control of the Patriots. . . .

So those batteries, two in each location, as I’ve just described, are all connected together, so all six are together, and they’re then connected directly to Air Command Ramstein in Germany. That’s the operational commander, General [Philip] Breedlove. And they’re plugged into a Command and Control Centre there. And that Command and Control Centre is also… has situational awareness of what is happening in the region in terms of missile firings or early warning. So we’re able to identify when there’s some sort of missile fired that alerts the Patriot batteries, and then they can then observe the arcs that they’ve got in their azimuth and react accordingly if a missile is a threat to the population in that particular area that they’re deployed to.

I think another point I just wish to really stress, which is really important, is the Command and Control goes to Ramstein, but there’s a piece of detailed coordination into what we call the Combined Air and Operations Centre, which is in Eskisehir in Turkey. And it’s there at the coordination is carried out with all the air that’s going on. So to make sure that there’s no risk of any accident, so that it’s all very carefully controlled and coordinated.

Excerpts from remarks to the press by Brigadier General Gary Deakin, Director of SHAPE Strategic Operations Center.  (photo: Alamy)

Image: alamy%201%2023%2013%20Patriot%20missiles.jpg