The NAEW&C Force performs a unique and valuable role for the Alliance by conducting a wide range of missions and since it commenced flying operations in 1982, it has proven on several occasions to be a key asset in crisis-management and peace-support operations.
Following the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait in 1990, E-3A aircraft were deployed to eastern Turkey to help reinforce NATO's southern flank during the war. Operation ANCHOR GUARD included monitoring air and sea traffic in the eastern Mediterranean and providing airborne surveillance along the Iraqi-Turkish border.
Starting in July 1992, NAEW&C Force aircraft from both the E-3A and E-3D fleets NATO operated extensively in the Balkans, supporting United Nations resolutions and Alliance missions in Bosnia and Herzegovina and Kosovo during Operations DELIBERATE FORCE and ALLIED FORCE. They provided a continuous presence and played a pivotal role in combined operations with the French and US fleets.
In early 2001 the Force also supported NATO’s defensive deployment to south-eastern Turkey during Operation DISPLAY DETERRENCE.
In the wake of the terrorist attacks in the United States on 11 September 2001, E-3A aircraft were deployed to help defend North America against further attacks during Operation EAGLE ASSIST. This represented the first time in Alliance history that NATO assets were deployed in response to a direct aggression against one of its member countries.
Following the 9/11 attacks, NATO governments have often requested the air surveillance and control capability offered by the NAEW&C Force to assist with the security of major public occasions. These high visibility events have included the 2004 Summer Olympic Games in Athens, the 2004 European Football Championships in Portugal, the 2006 World Cup Football Championships, the 2006 Winter Olympics in Italy as well as other important meetings held by several international organizations such as the Nobel Price ceremony in 2010. Further, the NAEW&C fleets have consistently provided air support to Alliance Heads-of-State meetings, as well as governmental and non-governmental meetings and NATO summits."
Since 2007, the NAEW&C Force has been supporting successfully NATO's counter-terrorism activities in the Mediterranean Sea during Operation ACTIVE ENDEAVOUR, deployed in January 2011 to support Commander ISAF by providing air surveillance coverage over Afghanistan, and recently played a significant role in NATO air operations over Libya.