BELGIUM–(ENEWSPF)–29 April 2010. NATO and Russia have begun a testing phase of a joint system for air traffic coordination. This will be the first NATO-Russia system of this kind to be fielded. The system focuses primarily on the fight against terrorism and will provide a shared radar picture of air traffic and early notification of suspicious air activities. If an aircraft starts behaving erratically, the air traffic coordination system offers increased visibility and transparency to rapidly ensure coordination in the European airspace.
The new system has two coordination centres – in Warsaw and Moscow – and local coordination sites in Kaliningrad, Rostov-on-Don, Murmansk (Russia), Warsaw (Poland), Bodø (Norway), and Ankara (Turkey). In these nations, training and entry-level exercises are already ongoing.
The development of a joint air traffic coordination system is a tangible result of the NATO-Russia Council’s Cooperative Airspace Initiative (CAI). NRC nations, including Canada, France, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Luxembourg, Norway, Poland, Russia, Turkey, the United Kingdom and the United States, have so far contributed more than Euro 10 million in aggregate to the CAI project.
CAI is one of the priority areas set by the NATO-Russia Council’s (NRC) Work Programme for 2010. Beyond its practical objectives such as improving air safety and security, the NRC CAI project also significantly contributes to building mutual trust between NATO and Russia. The CAI system is expected to be operational in 2011 and is open for participation by other nations.