NATO’s €1.7 billion effort to develop an integrated air picture for the alliance is somewhat at risk from a decision by the U.K. not to implement its portion of the effort.
As part of NATO’s reform program, the alliance is consolidating airspace monitoring in two rather than four Combined Air Operations Centers, with Uedem, in Germany taking over effectively monitoring off airspace in northern Europe (the one in Denmark is being closed down). The COAC would rely on information provided through the Air Command and Control System (ACCS) now in development, which replaces various legacy systems.
Although NATO pays for the bulk of the deployment, some elements require national funding and the U.K., a few years ago, decided to forgo, for now, buying its share. That situation creates a problem, though, warns a European air defense official, who indicates it could leave a blind spot for NATO.
The situation arises as Russia appears to have stepped up its long-range bomber flights in the past two years.