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Sunday October 7 8:23 AM ET
NATO to Deploy AWACS Aircraft in U.S.
BRUSSELS (Reuters) - NATO will soon deploy AWACS surveillance aircraft for anti-terrorist operations in the United States in response to the attacks on New York and Washington, NATO officials said Sunday.
NATO officials said the United States had asked Friday for the AWACS to be deployed.
``The planes will be deployed quite soon,'' a NATO official said. ``They will be deployed in the United States in support of anti-terrorist operations.''
NATO officials declined to say why the United States had asked for the AWACS to be deployed there, or whether they would be used to free up U.S. aircraft for deployment in other regions.
The United States itself has a fleet of 33 AWACS planes, 28 of which are stationed at an airbase in Oklahoma.
All that is needed before the AWACS are deployed is final approval by national representatives at NATO headquarters in Brussels and military advice, NATO officials said.
NATO allies agreed Thursday to provide the United States with a complete eight-point list of assistance it had requested, including the use of some of its fleet of 17 modified Boeing 747 AWACS airborne surveillance and control aircraft, based in Geilenkirchen, Germany.
A NATO representative would not say whether the planes would be flown from Geilenkirchen or from another location.
The deployment grows out of the decision ``to provide a NATO presence and demonstrate resolve,'' an official NATO statement said Thursday.
NATO also used AWACS in Bosnia and the Balkans to assist in air operations.