Air surveillance

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Airspace surveillance is the surveillance of air traffic in the airspace in the vicinity of a region (airfield, urban areas) or a sovereign territory (military airspace surveillance, LRÜ or air policing ).

Civil air surveillance

The civil airspace surveillance consists of a radar guidance of aircraft through the civil airspace divided into sectors by means of secondary radar . It aims on the one hand to ensure safety distances and clearance from obstacles to the ground between the respective road users, on the other hand to document the routes flown in order to be able to collect air traffic fees.

In Germany this is taken over by the approved air traffic control companies, in Austria by Austro Control , in Switzerland by Skyguide . This is coordinated centrally in Europe by EUROCONTROL .

Military air surveillance


Aircraft type of the German Air Force alarm riot: Eurofighter Typhoon

Airspace surveillance is the recording of all flight movements using primary radar and secondary radar . Here, all available sources of information (data from civil to air traffic control , the police forces of the Federation and the countries and the intelligence services ) used. If an aircraft is not identified within two minutes at the latest, fighter planes take off to intercept it. An attempt is first made to visually identify the aircraft and to determine why the previous identification by air traffic control failed (for example because of a defective radio device). Should the aircraft pose a danger on its course, the fighter pilots have the task of pushing it off its course, in an emergency also with warning shots. In the most extreme case of threat, the use of weapons to shoot down the aircraft can also be approved by the responsible command center. For air policing, two Eurofighter Typhoon are available 24 hours a day in the two alarm groups of the Tactical Air Force Wing 71 “Richthofen” in Wittmund (East Friesland) and the Tactical Air Force Wing 74 in Neuburg an der Donau .

The approval for the use of weapons (also with a warning shot ) is incumbent on the German Air Defense Commander - a duty general. In an extreme case, the Federal Minister of Defense would have given the order to kill civil aircraft, which would still have been possible until February 15, 2006 . The first Senate of the Federal Constitutional Court declared shooting orders to be unconstitutional on February 15, 2006. Such a violation of the basic right to life , among other things .


In the Austrian Armed Forces, air surveillance (LRÜ) is a separate branch of service . It is subordinate to the Air Force Unit (TlStbLu) in the Schwarzenberg barracks ( Wals-Siezenheim near Salzburg). The command post is the air surveillance command (Kdo LRÜ, with the rank of a brigade ), also in the Schwarzenberg barracks in Wals-Siezenheim near Salzburg.

Main element is the monitoring squadron (ÜbwGsch), it consists of three flying scales with interceptors type Euro Typhoon and Saab 105 nozzles coaches, at Zeltweg Air Base ( Zeltweg Stmk.) And at the airfield Vogler (Linz Hörsching stationed Upper Austria.). The military flight command , the training and simulation center and other units of the LRÜ such as Fliegerwerft 2 (FlWft 2) are also stationed in Zeltweg, while others are also based at Fiala Fernbrugg Air Base ( Aigen i. E. , Styria). The interception teams are supported by the use of the PC-7 Turbo Trainer and helicopters ( S-70 Black Hawk , OH-58 Kiowa and Alouette III ) from other associations. The flying defense is supplemented by two anti-aircraft battalions belonging to the LRÜ association (FlAB 2 in Zeltweg and FlAB 3 in Salzburg), with Mistral anti-aircraft guided missile , 35 mm Z FlAK  85, fire control unit FLGer 98 Skyguard .

The second element of the Austrian airspace surveillance is the radar system Goldhaube , with the Technical Logistic Center (TLZ) in the operations center Basisraum ( St. Johann iP , Sbg.). It consists of a network of three military fixed radar stations (ORS Kolomannsberg Upper Austria., Steinmandl / Leiser Berge Lower Austria., ' Großer Speikkogel / Koralpe Ktn.), Supervised by the radar station command (RadStat Kdo) in Salzburg, three civilian stations of Austro Control with the military Control Center  (MCC) as the link, and the mobile radar systems (3D radar device MRCS-403), target assignment and low-level detection radar system Flamingo ) of the radar battalion (RadB, Zeltweg and Aigen i. E.).

The special importance of air surveillance for Austria goes back to the time during the Cold War . The concept of armed neutrality that Austria pursued should be based on Austria's ability to maintain its territorial sovereignty. Apart from UN missions abroad and the assistance mission, the majority of all actual military missions took place in response to violations of the airspace (on average about once a week), consistently unauthorized overflights, partly because they violated the neutrality of Austria as military transports, partly probably " Tests "of both blocks on the operational capability of the Austrian air forces - most recently in the Slovenian  crisis in 1991. In the changed framework conditions of modern Europe - in particular since joining the EU in  1995 - Austrian air surveillance works closely with the airspace security of neighboring countries and NATO (movements of Period of the Balkan Wars , Iraq Wars , conference venues during the time of Austria's EU Council Presidency in 2006 and the like). In the history of the 2nd republic, the sense of active air defense has been questioned again and again, most recently in the referendum against interceptors in  2002 and the discussions about inconsistencies about the acquisition of the Eurofighter, in the course of the structural reform process ÖBH 2010, airspace surveillance has also been one since 2007 subject to internal functional revision.

In the summer of 2017, the Austrian government made a clear commitment to active airspace surveillance, and the Austrian Ministry of Defense is now planning to monitor Austria's airspace without the use of Eurofighter EF2000 Typhoon machines. These are too expensive to operate and should be replaced by other machines by the end of 2017, with leasing being considered.

Switzerland and Liechtenstein

For civil air surveillance / air traffic management in Switzerland and Liechtenstein is Skyguide is responsible. Skyguide is also responsible for southern Germany, the French Alps and an area of ​​Italian airspace on the Italian-French-Swiss border.

Military air surveillance

In Switzerland (including the airspace of Liechtenstein), military airspace surveillance is also called permanent airspace surveillance (PLÜ). This is ensured 24 hours a day / 365 days a year by the FLORAKO system as well as by the IDO (Identifications Officer) and the TM (Track Monitor) and the air situation is displayed and assessed as a Recognized Air Picture. The air force has several operations centers. In peacetime, the operations center at Dübendorf military airfield is used, which is located in the same building as the civil air traffic control of Skyguide. The locations of the other operations centers are secret. The operations centers belong to the Operation Air Force unit, the Chief Operation Air Force reports directly to the commanding officer of the Air Force. There are redundant direct connections from the air force operations center to the emergency organizations ( REGA , police, Fedpol ) and to both Skyguide air traffic centers (Geneva and Zurich) and to the military and civil air traffic control centers in neighboring countries, which are responsible for the adjacent sectors. At the moment, the airspace is monitored continuously, but armed intervention is usually only available from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. (local time). 24-hour intervention means are only available for large-scale exercises, international conferences (WEF) or crises (Libya). This is known as PLÜ + (PLÜ PLUS) or ILANA. Around 100 additional full-time positions and structural work are required at two military airfields ( Emmen military airfield and Meiringen military airfield ) as well as at Geneva Airport and Zurich Airport . The first step was taken in January 2016: For 50 weeks, two armed F / A-18s with the callsigns HammerX1 & HammerX2 (X = placeholder for the first digit ) stood ready on QRA 15 on weekdays from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. (local time). From January 2, 2017, this presence was guaranteed from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. every day (including Saturday, Sunday and public holidays). Since January 1, 2019, the jets have been ready from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. and at the end of 2020 they will be expanded to 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Before the FLORAKO system, military air surveillance was carried out with the FLORIDA air surveillance system until 2003 ; the first air surveillance system of the Swiss Air Force was the SFR air surveillance system .

Air Police Service

F / A-18C J-5018, callsign Hammer , armed with short- and medium-range air-to-air missiles ( AIM-9 Sidewinder and AIM-120 AMRAAM ), carries an auxiliary tank with a painted emergency frequency

Despite the lack of uninterrupted availability of armed fighter jets for the whole year, the Swiss Air Force regularly conducts the air police service. Air policing is one of the most complex and demanding tasks in the Air Force. Unknown aircraft must be identified at short notice and in all weather conditions with no margin of error and, if necessary, intercepted. The air police service is carried out daily, is a real mission and is not one of the exercises that take place in parallel (e.g. aerial combat exercises). The following points are guaranteed with the air police service: Control and sovereignty of Swiss airspace as well as the safety of all air traffic. The Air Force thus not only fulfills the tasks of an independent state (or with Liechtenstein states), but also tasks of civil aviation ( FOCA and Skyguide). The missions are divided into controls (live missions) and interventions (hot missions) (see Swiss Air Force # Luftpolizeidienst ).

The Swiss Air Force is entitled to inspect any aircraft that is in Swiss (and Liechtenstein) airspace at any time, regardless of type, nationality, etc. Air police interventions may also be cross-border after consultation with the respective air force operations center. On average, around 300 air police missions are flown per year; of these, up to 50 are active air police interventions, and the trend is rising. The Air Force also conducts air police exercises on a regular basis using all its own means in order to ensure a high standard of security. Bi- and tri-national air police exercises are carried out with all neighboring countries several times a year. In contrast to the German Air Force, the Swiss Air Force is authorized to use armed force to stop a third party in acute danger from an aircraft, even in times of peace. Specifically, the following rules apply: The use of weapons is only permitted on one's own national territory, with one's own resources, under one's own operational management. The use of weapons against aircraft is only permitted if other available means are insufficient. If air traffic is not restricted, no weapons may be used against civil aircraft. In the case of restricted air traffic, weapons may be used against civil aircraft in individual cases. Weapons may be used against state aircraft, in particular military aircraft, which use Swiss airspace without authorization or in disregard of the authorization requirements, if the aircraft do not comply with the instructions of the air police. Weapons are reserved in the event of an emergency or self-defense. The kill order is communicated directly by the Minister of Defense or the Commander of the Air Force via the CAD (Chief Air Defense), whereby the fighter jet pilot has the final decision on the use of weapons, as he can be the first to assess an escalation or de-escalation. After being called on the international emergency frequency and the ICAO standard communication maneuver, the Swiss Air Force uses the firing of clearly visible flares (magnesium flares ) as a final warning of the possible use of weapons (as a “ shot in front of the bow ”, so to speak ).

Cross-border air policing within NATO

International air surveillance by NATO allies is a specialty, of which there are currently four different ones. The Benelux countries are also planning to jointly operate their airspace surveillance in the future, although the airspace over Luxembourg has been monitored by Belgium for many years without being called a NATO mission.

Air Policing Albania

After Albania joined NATO, Italy and Greece took over the security of Albanian airspace in mid-2009. For this purpose, Italy uses F-2000A Typhoons of the 36º Stormo stationed in Gioia del Colle . The planes operate from their home base. Greece is providing F-16 Fighting Falcons in Larisa for this purpose .

Air Policing Baltic States

Air Policing Benelux

The Belgian and Dutch air forces share since the beginning of 2017, the air surveillance for their two countries and Luxembourg , that the airspace of the Benelux -Union. Responsibility changes every four months, with Belgium raising the alarm for the first four months and then, in mid-May 2017, it was the turn of the Dutch F-16s for the first time. Since then, the rotations have lasted eight months.

Air Policing Island

Air Policing Slovenia

After Slovenia joined NATO, Italy initially took over the security of the Slovenian airspace in 2007 with F-2000A Typhoons of 4º Stormo from the Grosseto military airfield . The planes operated from their home base.

The task was handed over to the Hungarian Air Force at the beginning of 2014. These use the JAS 39 Gripen of the 1st Fighter Squadron ( 1st Vadászrepülö Század ) of the 59th Squadron ( 59th 'Szentgyörgyi Deszö' Harcászati ​​Repülö Bázis ) from the military airfield in Kecskemét , which also operate from their home base.

Southern Air Policing

In addition to Benelux Air Policing , Southern Air Policing was launched in 2017 to strengthen air surveillance in south-eastern Europe over the Black Sea . The contingents typically consist of four combat aircraft. The main base is the Mihail Kogalniceanu base in Constanța in south-eastern Romania . The Bulgarian Graf Ignatievo Air Base is also used. Even before the official start of 2017, there were first Canadian contingents in Romania from 2014.

date Country / armed forces Aircraft type
April to August 2014 CanadaCanada Royal Canadian Air Force CF-18 Hornet (Campia Turzii)
September 1 to December 31, 2016 CanadaCanada Royal Canadian Air Force CF-18 Hornet (Constanța)
May to September 2017 United KingdomUnited Kingdom Royal Air Force Typhoon FGR.4 (Constanța)
July 1 to October 31, 2017 ItalyItaly Aeronautica Militare F-2000A Typhoon (Graf Ignatievo Air Base)
September 1 to December 31, 2017 CanadaCanada Royal Canadian Air Force CF-18 Hornet (Constanța)
May 1 to August 31, 2018 United KingdomUnited Kingdom Royal Air Force Typhoon FGR.4 (Constanța)
September 1 to December 31, 2018 CanadaCanada Royal Canadian Air Force CF-18 Hornet (Constanța)
May 1 to August 31, 2019 ItalyItaly Aeronautica Militare F-2000A Typhoon (Graf Ignatievo Air Base)
September 1 to December 31, 2019 CanadaCanada Royal Canadian Air Force CF-18 Hornet (Constanța)

See also

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. BVerfG, 1 BvR 357/05 of February 15, 2006 ,
  2. Troop body badge : Airspace surveillance ,
  3. Surveillance Squadron . Troop body badge : Surveillance Squadron Fliegerregiment 2 ,
  4. Fliegerwerft 2 . Troop body badge : Fliegerwerft 2 ,
  5. ↑ Anti- Aircraft Battalion 2 . Troop body badge : Fliegerabwehrbataillon 2 ,
  6. ↑ Anti- Aircraft Battalion 3 . Troop body badge : Fliegerabwehrbataillon 3 ,
  7. 35 mm twin anti-aircraft gun 85 (ZFlAK) .
  8. Fire control unit 98 SKYGUARD .
  9. Technical-Logistic Center .
  10. troop badge z. E.g .: mobile radar station 2 ,
  11. radar battalion , military units badges: Radar Battalion,
  12. ^ Robert A. Tögel, Robert C. Tögel: 1,044,424 good reasons for airspace surveillance. In: → Bundesheer (Austrian military history from 1918) → LRÜ. Retrieved November 3, 2010 (with a compilation of incidents).
  13. ^ Austria: The Task Force Air Surveillance Aircraft . In: Troop service . Issue 296, issue 2/2007, February 2007, Rundschau ( webreprint ,
  14. The 15 Eurofighters will remain on the ground in future , Tiroler Tageszeitung, July 6, 2017.
  15. Swiss Air Force, annual publication 2019, p. 40.
  16. Presentation of the structure of the air police service 24h  ( page no longer available , search in web archivesInfo: The link was automatically marked as defective. Please check the link according to the instructions and then remove this notice.@1@ 2Template: Dead Link /  
  18. ^ Belgium, Netherlands to take turns in policing BENELUX airspace . NATO Allied Air Command website, December 21, 2016, accessed March 28, 2017.
  19. Netherlands begins Benelux air policing . ( Memento of the original from January 12, 2018 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. Janes, December 21, 2016, accessed May 16, 2017. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  20. Benelux air policing rotations extended to eight months . Janes, January 11, 2018, accessed January 11, 2018.
  21. Canada to support Nato enhanced air policing mission in Romania Air Force Technology, August 22, 2018
  22. UK to deploy Typhoons to Romania in May . ( Memento of the original from March 29, 2017 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice., March 28, 2017. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  23. Italy deploys Typhoons to Bulgaria for NATO policing southern . ( Memento of the original from July 11, 2017 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was automatically inserted and not yet checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice., July 7, 2017. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  24. Canadian Armed Forces to patrol skies over Romania RCAF Homepage, August 17, 2017
  25. ^ RAF Fighters cleared for Romanian mission RAF Homepage, May 1, 2018
  26. ^ RAF pass on Air Policing mission to Canadian allies RAF Homepage, August 30, 2017
  27. ^ Italian jets deploy on NATO Air Policing mission over Romania UK Defense Journal, April 30, 2019
  28. Canada's Air Task Force completes 2019 NATO enhanced Air Policing deployment in Romania Mirage News, January 4, 2020