All over Europe, NATO air crews are on Quick Reaction Alert - a high state of readiness maintained to ensure the safety of Alliance airspace 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
Quick Reaction Alert is a high state of readiness, maintained by NATO air crews to ensure the safety of Alliance airspace 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Fighter jets can be airborne within minutes to intercept and identify unknown aircraft operating within NATO airspace. Member countries provide the necessary aircraft and assets for the air policing of their own countries. For those countries that do not have this capability within or near NATO airspace, other NATO members will assist on a rotational basis. NATO Allied Air Command (AIRCOM) provides 24/7 command and control from two Combined Air Operations Centres (CAOCs), one for the north and the other for the south of the Alliance. Portugal belongs to the CAOC in Torrejón, Spain. When needed, these Centres decide - according to the location of the incident - which interceptor will be scrambled. The Portuguese Air Force shows us their QRA facilities at Monte Real Air Base and explains the state of readiness they have to maintain to be airborne within 15 minutes. On average, the Portuguese Air Force has 300 flight hours and carries out about 8-10 scrambles per year as part of the NATO CAOC in Torrejón.
Text on screen: NATO AIR CREWS MAINTAIN A HIGH STATE OF READINESS CALLED QUICK REACTION ALERT TO PROTECT NATO SKIES EVERY DAY 24/7
Text on screen: Col Jôao “Skipper” Pereira Air Base No. 5 Commander, Portuguese Air Force
Text on screen: Lt Col Afonso “Jackal” Gaiolas Air Base No. 5 Operational Group Commander, Portuguese Air Force
QRA PILOTS ARE PREPARED IN THEIR FLIGHT SUITS WITH THE AIRCRAFT ARMED AND READY SOUNDBITE (English) - Col Jôao “Skipper” Pereira Air Base No. 5 Commander, Portuguese Air Force
“If NATO needs us, after 15 minutes maximum, we have two jets airborne, ready to do any interception.” SOUNDBITE (English) - Lt Col Afonso “Jackal” Gaiolas, Air Base No. 5 Operational Group Commander, Portuguese Air Force
“The pilots, the maintainers and also the armament crew will do their normal day-to-day life here, at this facility that was built specifically for the quick reaction alert. So they have their meals, they even sleep here, close to the jets.”
SOUNDBITE (English) - Col Jôao “Skipper” Pereira, Air Base No. 5 Commander, Portuguese Air Force “All NATO countries should have the defence alert like we have. Some
This media asset is free for editorial broadcast, print, online and
radio use. It is restricted for use for other purposes.