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Periodista del EMAD

The French national military commander of the Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe visits the Combined Air Operations Centre at Torrejón

Torrejón AFB, Madrid
April 25, 2023
  • As part of his official visit to Spain, the French general wanted to see the work carried out by the CAOCT and the NATO mission "Air Policing"

French Army Brigadier General Erwan Rolland, the French national military officer representing the Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe (SHAPE), visited NATO's Combined Air Operations Centre in Spain (CAOCT) this morning.

Upon his arrival at the CAOCT, the French General was received by the Unit Commander, Lieutenant General Juan Pablo Sanchez de Lara, and the French national representative of the CAOCT.

Following a working meeting, General Sanchez de Lara gave a presentation on the capabilities and resources transferred to the Unit by the Allies for the performance of its mission in the designated area of command, which covers from the Azores to the Black Sea. The Commander's presentation included examples of actual activities.

The French national military representative thanked the CAOCT Commander for the service provided by the Centre in the defence of NATO sovereign airspace and, in particular, for the conduct of air operations during the unlawful invasion of Ukraine by the Russian Federation.

Following the Commander's presentation, General Rolland was given the opportunity to see the facilities from which NATO's airspace surveillance missions are conducted.

The visit concluded with the signing of the technical agreement between NATO Air Component Command Headquarters, represented by the Commander-in-Chief of the CAOCT, and the Minister of Defence of the French Republic concerning France's contribution to the National Support Element of the CAOCT and cost-sharing. 

Among others, the mission of the national military representatives in international organisations such as SHAPE is to carry out liaison and representation tasks and to serve as an official channel of communication between the Chief of Defence Staff of the country concerned and the international organisations to which they are accredited.


The main mission of the Torrejón CAOC, under the direct command of a Lieutenant General of the Spanish Air and Space Army, is to plan, direct, coordinate, supervise, analyse and report on air defence operations in Southern Europe, following the directives of the NATO Air Component Command on which it depends and with the resources assigned to NATO by the nations in peacetime.

The Spanish Armed Forces make an important contribution to the centre's mission. Some 120 military personnel serve in the CAOC itself as well as in the National Support Element (NSE) and the NATO Communications and Information Agency Unit (NCIA).