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Periodista del EMAD

The Combined Air Operations Center in Torrejon incorporates the first representative from North Macedonia into its ranks

Torrejon Air Base, Madrid
March 21, 2023
  • From now on 18 NATO countries will be represented the CAOCTJ

The commander of the Military Aviation of the Republic of North Macedonia, Robert Mitrovski, has joined the staff of the NATO Combined Air Operations Center in Torrejón de Ardoz (CAOCTJ).

Upon his arrival, the officer was received by Lieutenant General Fernando de la Cruz, Commander-in-Chief of the Unit, with whom he held a working meeting.

Over the next three years, Major Mitrovski will serve as Fighter Controller (FICO) at the Static Air Defense Centre. He will bring his knowledge and experience to the airspace surveillance that is the responsibility of the Combined Air Operations Centre.

To commemorate this milestone, a military ceremony was held at the CAOCTJ Headquarters, with the corresponding raising of the country's flag.

During the military ceremony, General De la Cruz addressed a few words to the CAOCTJ staff, thanking the Republic of North Macedonia for their contribution of troops to the permanent mission of air surveillance of the Alliance's southern flank, which is carried out from the Centre. The General also highlighted North Macedonia's commitment with the Alliance, to which it adds value through cooperation and whose structure has been supporting since its incorporation in 2020.

With the addition of Commander Mitrovski, the CAOCTJ completes the representation of all countries within its area of responsibility.

North Macedonia is NATO's 30th member. Its incorporation into the Alliance took place on March 27, 2020. On December 9, 2021 at Skopje airport a military ceremony inaugurated the inclusion of the Republic of North Macedonia in the NATO air surveillance system. The ceremony was attended by the Minister of Defence of the Republic of North Macedonia, Radmila Shekerinska Jankovska, the Commander-in-Chief of the NATO Combined Air Operations Center in Torrejon, Lieutenant General De la Cruz and the Chief of the Hellenic Tactical Air Force, Lieutenant General Themistokles Bourolias, among other civilian and military authorities.


The main purposes of CAOCTJ, under the direct command of a Spanish Lieutenant General of the Air and Space Army, is to plan, direct, coordinate, supervise, analyse and report on air defence operations in southern Europe. It follows the directives of NATO's Air Component Command on which it depends and carries them out with the resources allocated by nations to NATO during peacetime.

The Spanish Armed Forces make an important contribution to the mission carried out by this centre. Around 120 Spanish military personnel serve in the CAOCT itself as well as in the National Support Element (NSE) and the NATO Communications and Information Agency Unit (NCIA).