Berlin fingers NATO for ATC blackouts

The German government has indicated that NATO electronic warfare (EW) training exercises were responsible for civilian ATC radar display blackouts in central Europe on 5 June and 10 June 2014.

IHS Jane’s has obtained the government’s answer to a parliamentary question on 17 July, in which it noted that: “In the relevant time period two separate exercises by NATO forces with EW assets were conducted, in the first case by the Hungarian Air Force and in the second by the Italian Army and [undisclosed] partners.”

Both exercises involved ground-based air defence radar assets and were held under the NATO Electronic Warfare Integration Period programme. The German government statement said this is “especially dedicated to test and train EW in the airspace. Further details at the moment cannot be given, as investigations by EASA and NATO are ongoing”.

Informed by IHS Jane’s about the German information, an Austrian Air Force official would not disclose if Austria was informed about NATO EW activities in its airspace. The official emphasised that during the June incidents, the Air Force retained full coverage of Austrian airspace with its Kreidfeuer situational awareness picture, which is provided by three fixed Selex ES RAT-31L primary radars.

Source: IHS Jane’s