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11 August 2004

NATO Radar Planes Begin Security Overflights for Athens Olympics

AWACS providing surveillance and early warning of threats

NATO has begun operational flights of several radar planes to provide surveillance and early warning of possible threats during the Summer Olympic Games that begin in Athens on August 13, according to an August 10 press release.

The AWACS are provided by the E3A Component at Geilenkirchen, Germany, the Airborne Early Warning Squadron of the British Royal Air Force, and the French E3F stationed at Istres, France.

Following is a NATO press release:

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NATO Update
Joint Forces Command Naples
10 August, 2004

NATO COMMENCES PATROL OF THE SKIES FOR OLYMPIC GAMES

With the beginning of operational flights by AWACS aircraft, NATO completed today the preparations for the assistance to security during the Olympics and Paralympics games. The components of the requested support are already operational and ready to assist, upon the Hellenic authorities request in ensuring the safe conduct of the 2004 Olympic and Paralympics Games.

The AWACS are special aircraft, equipped with radar capable of detecting air traffic over long distances and at low levels. Their mission is to provide surveillance and early warning for defensive purposes. The AWACS are provided by the E3A Component at Geilenkirchen, Germany, the Airborne Early Warning Squadron of the British Royal Air Force and the French E3F stationed at Istres, France. An AWACS provides a wide range of coverage of over 310,000 square km.

At Greece's request, NATO has launched operational activities entitled "Distinguished Games" to assist the Hellenic Government -- which has full responsibility for the overall Olympic security operation.

For further information please visit the Internet page http://www.afsouth.nato.int/JFCN_Factsheets/Athens04/Olympics04.htm

NATO Assistance to Olympic Security Starts with Deployment of Multinational Chemical Biological Radiological Nuclear Task Force: http://www.afsouth.nato.int/releases/2004releases/PR_19_04.htm

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