NATO Patriot Deployment Nearly Operational

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NATO is aiming for an initial operational capability (IOC) for the Patriot air defense systems deployed to southwestern Turkey under Operation Active Fence this weekend. The IOC will be provided by Royal Netherlands Air Force Patriots, British Army Brigadier General Gary Deakin, Director of the Strategic Operations Center at NATO's Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe (SHAPE), told journalists today.

German Patriots arriving in Iskenderun on 21 January (Bundeswehr photo)

The full operational capability will be reached by the end of January. The Patriots, which are also provided by Germany and the United States, will be plugged into NATO's command and control network to NATO's air component command in Ramstein, Germany, and linked to the combined air operations center in Eskisehir, Turkey. Deakin said the systems would protect up to 3.5 million Turks from possible Syrian ballistic missile attack but would not be used to impose a no-fly zone over Syria.

NATO plans for the Patriot deployment to last a year, according to Deakin.

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