Germany – Cabinet decides to deploy AWACS aircraft in Afghanistan

Although air traffic over Afghanistan is rising, airspace surveillance is still inadequate. NATO is therefore deploying AWACS aircraft to increase air safety. The German Bundestag has now, by a large majority, approved Germany’s participation.

NATO has decided to deploy AWACS (airborne early warning and control system) aircraft in Afghanistan. This decision was made because air traffic is rising while, at the same time, airspace surveillance and coordination are still inadequate.

Within the framework of the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan (ISAF), 3700 German troops are already being deployed in Afghanistan; up to 4500 can be sent.

The mandate provides for the deployment of up to 300 additional German troops. The Members of the German Bundestag have now given the go-ahead for this. The Federal Cabinet had already approved this deployment on 17 June.

The task of the AWACS will, among other things, be to create air situation pictures for civilian and military airspace users, to coordinate all military air traffic over Afghanistan while taking into account civilian users, and to coordinate aerial refuelling.

The AWACS will make the deployment of air forces in Afghanistan safer. Furthermore, the AWACS will serve to protect the Afghan population and civilian aid workers, as they will help increase air safety overall.

The aircraft will be deployed within the scope of NATO’s ISAF mission.

The mandate will expire on 13 December 2009, when a decision on the renewal of the Bundestag mandate for Germany’s participation in ISAF will be made. In this connection, the extension of the AWACS deployment can also be approved.