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Azerbaijan refuses permission to NATO planes to fly over country

December 27, 2011, 14:30 UTC+3

NATO has recently addressed Azerbaijan and Georgia and asked for the use of their airspaces during the flight of AWACS planes to Afghanistan

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BAKU, December 27 (Itar-Tass) — Azerbaijan has not allowed NATO’s planes equipped with the early warning and control system – AWACS, to fly over its territory, Azerbaijani’s APA news agency reported on Tuesday.

According to it, Azerbaijan didn’t allow the NATO’s aircrafts of the Airborne Warning and Control System to fly over the country’s air space, the governmental sources told APA.

According to the report, NATO has recently addressed Azerbaijan and Georgia and asked for the use of their airspaces during the flight of AWACS planes to Afghanistan. Though Georgia officially allowed it, Azerbaijan didn’t allow the AWACS aircrafts to pass through the airspace.

“Azerbaijan allowed the cargo flights to Afghanistan through its air space. But it is impossible to grant such permission because the AWACS aircrafts are the military intelligence aircrafts,” the source underlined. A similar incident occurred one year ago. A German plane returning from Afghanistan to Europe wasn’t allowed to land in Baku.

AWACS planes, which are supplied with the latest technologies, and considered as “flying radars,” can detect the friendly and enemy planes from up to 400 km away. US-based AWACS aircraft can show the place, height, speed of about 2,000 planes and follow them.

An airborne early warning and control (AEW&C) (or more commonly and historically an AWAC) system is an airborne radar system designed to detect aircraft at long ranges and control and command the battle space in an air engagement by directing fighter and attack plane strikes. AEW&C/AWAC units are also used to carry out surveillance, including over ground targets and frequently perform C2BM (command and control, battle management) functions similar to an Airport Traffic Controller given military command over other forces. Used at a high altitude, the radars on the aircraft allow the operators to distinguish between friendly and hostile aircraft hundreds of miles away.

AWAC/AEW&C aircraft are used for both defensive and offensive air operations, and are to the NATO and USA forces trained or integrated Air Forces what the Command Information Centre is to a Navy Warship, plus a highly mobile and powerful radar platform. The system is used offensively to direct fighters to their target locations, and defensively in order to counter attacks by enemy forces, both air and ground. So useful is the advantage of command and control from a high altitude, the United States Navy operates AWAC aircraft off its Supercarriers to augment and protect its Carrier Command Information Centres (CICs). AEW&C is also known by the older terms “airborne early warning” (AEW) and “airborne warning and control system” (AWACS).


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