NATO Base Geilenkirchen is one of the main NATO bases spread around Europe, not to mention about its major importance as an E 3A component. The E 3A component belongs to the NATO control force. There are two such elements in the alliance. The base is located in Germany, in the city with the same name, close to the borders with the Netherlands. It is part of a larger network of military installations operated in Germany. The installation spreads over more than 1,500 acres and is often referred to as Flugplatz Teveren among the natives. There are more than 3,000 employees working on site, turning this base into one of the most significant single employees in the region, with a clear importance for the economical aspect.
Prior to being commissioned as NATO Base Geilenkirchen, the base was owned and operated by the British Royal Air Force. It was established a few years after the Germans were defeated in World War II, in 1953. The Royal Air Force decided to give up the base and hand it to the German Air Force in 1968. Meanwhile, multiple squadrons and divisions floated around it. Most of the operations were ceased in January and the Germans took it over in March. The first unit joined the site in August – the 2-nd Surface to Surface Missile Wing. The wing was supported and maintained by the United States Army.
NATO decided to build a similar facility in the immediate proximity, but the German Air Force thought it would be better to hand this one over. This is how the transition began. A whole program of reconstruction and upgrades began in 1980, with the first E 3A personnel joining the base during the same year. The Germans were still hosted there until 1981, when the wing was relocated to Niederheid. The first E 3A aircraft was sent on site in February and this is when the E 3A operations truly began. The groundbreaking ceremony and official date of commission was set up on June, 28-th, 1982. The whole program was fully adopted by 1988.
The major reconstruction process implied a three kilometer long runway, a modern and advanced control tower, multiple buildings for computerized systems and plenty of housing facilities. The four hangars that were already built there were fully renovated too. Ever since that long process, the base has been in a continuous update, with more buildings showing up every once in a while and a constant upgrade to the latest technologies and programs.
NATO Base Geilenkirchen fully supports all the operations conducted by NATO. It hosts 20 aircrafts – 3 TCA (Training Cargo Aircraft) units and 17 Boeing E 3A aircrafts. All of them are registered in Luxembourg. They represent the contribution of the small country to the NATO.
The technological programs on site are hosted in the modern IT buildings. They also support simulating activities at the highest standards, helping the pilots develop new techniques. The base works in a tight collaboration with other NATO installations from Greece, Norway, Turkey or Italy.