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Yugoslav air defences.

YUGOSLAVIA’S CAPACITY to sustain and counter NATO’s attacks on its territory should not be under-estimated. The country still has a large, well-equipped army and a highly-trained air force, which also includes an extensive air defence system of aircraft, surface-to-air missiles (SAMs) and anti-aircraft artillery (AAA). Whilst its aircraft could quickly prove to be vulnerable to NATO attacks, the combination of uniquely rugged geography, SAM and AAA mobility will make it very difficult to render the skies of Yugoslavia safe for Allied air operations in the short term. The air defence fighter force is entirely Russian-equipped, with around 14 MiG-29 Fulcrums

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War in Europe.

Regrettably, with an the diplomatic efforts exhausted, NATO finally took military action against Yugoslavia (see Fragile Peace in Kosovo, April, p4) on Wednesday, March 24. US Special Envoy Richard Holbrooke made a last-ditch attempt to secure peace when he met with Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic in Belgrade on March 22, but an agreement could not be reached and two days later the NATO air raids commenced.

NATO has amassed a huge armada of aircraft in Italy. Many of them were initially grouped there as part of Operation Deliberate Forge in support of United Nations Security Council Resolution 1199 (passed on

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Tacklin – THE TALIBAN

Tim Ripley reports from Afghanistan on NATO air operations in southern Afghanistan, aimed at ousting Taliban insurgents.

AIR STRIKES recounted give some idea of the scale and complexity of NATO air support at the height of fighting between alliance ground troops and Taliban insurgents in southern Afghanistan over the summer. Air operations reached a peak in September as Canadian-led NATO troops swept into a Taliban stronghold west of the city of Kandahar and British Paratroopers battled to hold a series of isolated so-called ‘Platoon Houses’ in the north of neighbouring Helmand Province. According to US Central Command Air Forces, which

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Surviving NATO shootdowns

AFM’s Alan Dawes sheds light on reports from *the other side’ describing the experiences of downed Yugoslavian Air Force pilots.

IN THE comparatively brief history of aerial combat, the role of the fighter pilot has always been glamorised in much the same way as we looked upon medieval knights. It is, therefore, tragically apt that the majority of Yugoslav Air Force fighter pilots known to have been shot down during Operation Allied Force have all belonged to the elite 127 Squadron, known as The Knights. The squadron name celebrates the memory of Serbia’s revered medieval leader and his band of

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NATO & USAF Sentry changes

AS A RESULT of the decreasing world threat, the USAF has cut back overseas deployment of its 552nd ACW Boeing E-3B/C Sentries at forward operating bases. The single Sentry of the 960th ACS at Keflavik, Iceland and one of the three stationed with the 961st ACS at Okinawa, Japan, will return to the USA and join one of the 552nd’s four squadrons at Tinker AFB, Oklahomo. Approximately 234 personnel will also return home.

A long-awaited contract to upgrade NATOs fleet of 17 E-3A Sentries is finally expected to be awarded in May to Boeing Defense and Space Group. The first

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Kosovo — Airpower wins

AS AIR FORCES Monthly closed for press on June 4 a peace deal for the Kosovo conflict had been agreed to by the Yugoslav Parliament and President Slobodan Milosevic. Talks between the Yugoslav leadership and Russian special envoy Viktor Chernomyrdin and Finnish President Martti Ahtisaari, the European Union’s envoy in Belgrade, on June 2/3, finally saw the acceptance of the G8 peace proposals which includes all five NATO demands for ending hostilities.

Scepticism among NATO’s leaders as to the sincerity of the Yugoslavs to carry out their part of the bargain meant that air strikes would be continued until clear

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Guarding Baltic Skies

Gerard Gaudin reports on the basing of Belgian F-16s in Lithuania to provide an air defence to the Baltic states.

FOUR BELGIAN F-16 fighters have been defending Baltic airspace 24 hours a day, seven days a week since Estonia. Latvia and Lithuania and four other former communist Eastern European states joined the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) on March 29 this year. As new members of the Alliance, the three Baltic countries come under NATO’s collective security and defence umbrella, which includes routine policing of all NATO airspace as required. However, all three countries lack dedicated air defences.

Historically, all

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Great expectations

Ahead of NATO’s next expansion effort, the four aspiring Balkan countries most eager to join the alliance are making headway with their membership preparations, but their candidacies remain problematic, as Brooks Tiger reports

NATO is slowly, if discretely, preparing for its next expansion. Although it is conceivable that this could go north to embrace the remaining two Nordic countries that still lie outside the alliance — Sweden and Finland — it is far more likely to go east. The question is: how far east — and when?

For the time being neither Stockholm nor Helsinki have expressed any interest in

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FYROM: whats in a name?

The Republic of Macedonia was among the first post-Soviet countries to immediately sidle up to NATO. It joined the Partnership for Peace programme in 1995 and started its preparations to join NATO only four years later, with the launch of its first round of MAP consultations with the alliance.

Macedonia has heavily supported allied operations, having sent peacekeepers to Afghanistan as early as 2002, while providing continuous logistics support since 1999 to the Kosovo Force (KFOR): NATO’s peacekeeping force in Kosovo. It has consistently deployed 3% of its overall land forces over the years and aims to sustain its current

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