First all-women crew complete NATO Airborne Early Warning and Control Force sortie

February 19, 2024

The NATO Airborne Early Warning and Control Force (NAEW&CF) conducted command and control (C2) operations on Friday, Feb. 9, 2024 with an all-female aircrew for the first time. The regular mission sortie was composed of a multinational crew to support NATO’s enhanced Vigilance Activities (eVA).

The mission was organised by the NAEW&CF Women’s Initiative Team (WIT) to champion equality and inclusion. The selected aviators represented various backgrounds to highlight the achievements of women in aviation.

“The purpose of this flight encompassed our operational mission safeguarding NATO’s borders,” said Captain Béatrice, Aircrew Training Squadron Flight Commander.

“The flight demonstrates that the mission and every position on board the AWACS can be executed by women,” said Captain Ciara, Aircrew Training Squadron Simulator Operations Chief. “Showcasing the capabilities of the female crew will prove that women are able to perform in traditionally male-dominated occupations in equal capacity.”

According to the 2020 Summary of the National Reports of NATO Member and Partner Nations, the average percentage of women in the armed forces of the NATO Alliance has more than doubled since 1998. Gender perspectives have been integrated in NATO defence planning, Strategic Intelligence Requirements, and in counter terrorism work since 2013.

“Everyone is unique and brings individual talents to the team, which benefits our operational effectiveness within NATO,” said Technical Sergeant Maddie, 852nd Medical Dental Squadron Laboratory NCO In-Charge. “By recognising strength in diversity, we can unleash its potential and positively impact the culture at NATO.”

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