NATO successfully tested procedures to fast-track the airlift of troops and equipment across Europe in a simulated crisis exercise in April. The three-day test of the Alliance’s “rapid air mobility” initiative was held in close coordination with Eurocontrol, the European Organisation for the Safety of Air Navigation.
“By facilitating quicker air movements across the Alliance, we can be more effective in preventing crises, more efficient in deploying our forces, and quicker in reacting when unforeseen situations arise”, said NATO Assistant Secretary General for Defence Investment Camille Grand.
NATO’s rapid air mobility initiative, or RAM, is part of wider Alliance efforts to boost the readiness of Allied troops and equipment. Aircraft on RAM missions are assigned a unique NATO call sign making it easier to move across borders with essential equipment, supplies and personnel, as quickly as possible. In March 2020, RAM procedures were activated for the first time to enable the urgent transport of medical supplies in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The event, which ran from 26-28 April 2021, involved experts from 12 allied nations along with NATO’s Airborne Early Warning and Control (AWACS) Force in an effort to stress-test deployment planning. As part of the exercise, Eurocontrol’s Network Manager, NATO and national flight planning teams successfully coordinated in the simulated deployment of allied aircraft allowing faster cross-border military movements.