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Aerospace Operational Command launches 'Eagle Eye 21-01' activation

Canary Islands
April 16, 2021
  • More than 2,000 troops from the Air Force, Army and Navy will work together to protect the national airspace permanently

From 19 to 23 April, the first 'Eagle Eye 21-01' activation of 2021 will take place in the Canary Islands. Led by the Aerospace Operational Command (MOA), under the operational control of the Operations Command (MOPS), this activation will take place within the framework of Armed Forces' permanent operations, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.  these activations are carried out on a regular and rotating basis in different areas of Spain in order to strengthen the defence of sovereign airspace and national interest.

The aim of the 'Eagle Eye 21-01' activation is to ensure the coordination of all capabilities and the efficiency of the national Aerospace Defence System, maximising the training of units to guarantee the surveillance and aerospace defence of the national territory. In order to achieve these goals, different land, naval and air assets are being assigned to MOA to conduct the operations aimed at combining synergies, improving integration and maximising the operational performance of the participating units.

As a result, the citizens of the Canary Islands will see active presence of troops on land, at sea and in the air during these days, including military aircraft overflights.

Six Eurofighter Typhoon fighter from the 11th Wing and the Aerospace Surveillance and Monitoring Command (JSVICA) will be taking part, with a total of 1,560 military personnel involved. Within the JSVICA units, the Alert and Control Group (GRUALERCON) and the 21st and 22nd Air Surveillance Squadrons (EVA) are located in the Canary Islands. In addition, from Torrejón AFB, the Space Surveillance Operations Centre (COVE) will be responsible for providing air support to the operations.

With regard to the Army, the forces involved will include the integration of an Air Defence Unit (UDAA) belonging to the Anti-Aircraft Artillery Command (MAAA) led by the GAAA I/73 Group based in Cartagena (Murcia), responsible for extending surveillance and security by increasing the coverage of the Command and Control System radars. The GAAA I/73 constitutes the Command and Control Core and the Logistic Core of the operational organisation. At the same time, the Fire Core is made up of different weapon systems, Mistral from the 71st Anti-aircraft Artillery Regiment (Fuencarral-Madrid), NASAMS from the 73rd (Cartagena) and 94th (Las Palmas de Gran Canaria) Anti-aircraft Artillery Regiments and HAWK from the 74th Anti-aircraft Artillery Regiment (Seville). Likewise, the Transmissions Unit of the Anti-aircraft Artillery Command will ensure communications and integration of UDAA within the Command and Control System (SMC). In addition, an Infantry Company belonging to the Soria 9 Regiment (Fuerteventura) will carry out security tasks for al the units involved in this deployment.

Meanwhile, the Navy will deploy frigate 'Álvaro de Bazán', which belongs to the 31st Surface Squadron and is based at Ferrol. It is an F-100 class frigate, specially designed for anti-aircraft defence, whose main missions currently include, among others, the escort of fleet units and the air defence of its area of operations, thanks to its SPY 1-D multifunction radar. This vessel was NATO's SNMG-2 flagship between June and November 2020.

Due to the global pandemic, the 'Eagle Eye 21-01' activation is being conducted in compliance with all COVID-19 protocols issued by General Defence Health Directorate (IGESANDEF), as well as those issued by the Canary regional government.