Skip to main content

Slovenian sky guardians integrated into NATO structure for 20 years

This year marks 20 years since on 29 March 2004 Slovenia became a fully-fledged member of the Alliance, and 10 years since the Hungarian Air Force has been activated to take part in the protection of the Republic of Slovenia's airspace. Our country has been part of NATO Integrated Air and Missile Defence System (NATINAMDS), which ensures the continuous exchange of airspace information with the Alliance and the protection of the airspace over Slovenian territory by allied and Slovenian military interceptor aircraft. The 16th Control and Reporting Centre monitors and controls the airspace over our country around the clock, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

Ever since Slovenia joined NATO in 2004, Slovenian airspace has constituted a part of NATO airspace. The Alliance therefore protects its airspace within the NATO Integrated Air Defence System, which also includes Air Policing activities over Slovenia. The objective of Air Policing is to preserve the sovereignty of Allied airspace by maintaining a permanent presence of Allied interceptor aircraft and crews, which are ready to respond to any airspace incident at short notice.

The protection of Slovenian airspace includes airspace surveillance and control, command and control, and air defence. Airspace control falls under the responsibility of the 16th Control and Reporting Centre, which uses a modern and advanced Multi-Aegis Site Emulator/MASE Integrated Console Environment (MASE/MICE) air command and control system, fully interoperable with NATO.  In 2022, in order to provide better facilities and conditions for the smooth operation of airspace surveillance and control, part of the personnel moved to a new operations room in the underground part of the facility at Brnik.

Data on the activities in Slovenian airspace are obtained both from military and civilian radars. At Alliance level, NATO Combined Air Operations Centre (CAOC) is in charge of command and control. Slovenia falls under the tactical control of the NATO Combined Air Operations Centre in Torrejon, Spain.

Command and control at the national level fall under the responsibility of the Operations Centre of the Force Command, Slovenian Armed Forces. Air defence is carried out by interceptor aircraft on standby in Slovenia, Italy and Hungary. After joining the Alliance in 2004, Slovenia began to ensure airspace protection as part of NATO Integrated Air Defence System with the help of NATO assets.

Since 2007, due to our country's limited air interception capabilities, Italian Eurofighter F-2000 Typhoon interceptor aircraft, taking off from their home bases in Italy, have been providing Slovenian airspace protection around the clock. Ever since the signing of the agreement between the Slovenian and Hungarian Defence Ministers ten years ago, on 17 January 2014, the protection of Slovenian airspace has also been provided by Hungarian SaaS JAS-39 Gripen interceptors from the Hungarian air base.

Allied interceptor aircraft fly under NATO command. Both of the above-mentioned allies also provide Slovenia with the opportunity to conduct high-quality training for the operation of aircraft in accordance with NATO standards and procedures.  Since 2017, Slovenian Pilatus PC-9M aircraft flying under the command of the Slovenian Armed Forces have also been involved in airspace protection. Regular joint training of surveillance and control procedures and airspace protection in Slovenian airspace is conducted weekly in the form of interception exercises in Slovenian airspace, including the participation of Italian and Hungarian aircraft. Joint training with allies also takes place within various multinational exercises.

Members of the 16th Control and Reporting Centre are highly qualified in various fields and integrated as airspace surveillance and control specialists into the structure of Slovenian Armed Forces commands and units from the strategic to the tactical level. Currently, three members of the 16th Control and Reporting Centre are deployed within NATO. Two members are on international duties at the NATO Combined Air Operations Centre Torrejon and one at the NATO Air Command (AIRCOM) in Ramstein.

color contrast
text size
highlighting content
zoom in