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Periodista del EMAD

Combined Air Operations Centre Torrejon commemorates Bulgarian national day

At Torrejón Air Base, Madrid
March 7, 2024

The event was attended by the Bulgarian Ambassador to Spain

The Bulgarian Ambassador to Spain, Aleksey Andreev, accompanied by the Political Affairs Counsellor, Albena Gfeller, visited this morning the NATO Combined Air Operations Centre in Torrejon de Ardoz (CAOCT) as part of the celebrations to mark Bulgaria’s National Day. Two members of the Bulgarian Air Force, who are part of the international operational structure, are permanently stationed at the Centre.

The delegation was received on arrival by the Commander-in-Chief of the CAOCT, Lieutenant General Juan Pablo Sanchez de Lara, who took part in the military ceremony to mark the Bulgarian National Day. On this day, the Bulgarian people commemorate their independence from the Ottoman Empire after the Russo-Turkish War of 1877-78, signing the Treaty of St Stephen, which recognised the re-establishment of the Bulgarian state, on 3 March of that year.

In his speech, General Sanchez de Lara acknowledged "the significant efforts Bulgaria is making to strengthen its commitment to the air defence mission in Southern Europe", with measures such as replacing its early warning radars, replacing MiG 29 fighters with the more modern and western F-16s and upgrading its bases regularly used by NATO.

Ambassador Andreev noted that 2024 marks both the 20th anniversary of Bulgaria's accession to NATO and the 75th anniversary of the signing of the Washington Treaty, which launched the journey of "the largest and most successful international alliance in history". He said that "at a time of great uncertainty in the world, especially since Russia's aggression in Ukraine [...] the Alliance, through its values and its readiness for mutual defence, is a guarantee for the maintenance of the international order". 


Under the direct command of a Lieutenant General of the Spanish Air Force, CAOC Torrejón's main mission is to plan, direct, coordinate, monitor, analyse and report on air defence operations in Southern Europe, in accordance with the directives of 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 Spanish 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).