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Second Allied Tactical Air Force (2 ATAF) was a NATO military formation under Allied Air Forces Central Europe tasked with providing air support to NATO's Northern Army Group (NORTHAG). 2ATAF commanded all flying units based within its sector and all reinforcements flying into its sector, as well as ground based radar systems and stations, air defense units and the airfields in its sector.

Second Allied Tactical Air Force was formed in 1958 with its area of responsibility covering the Netherlands, Belgium, and Germany north of the city of Kassel and south of the Elbe river. Commander of Second Allied Tactical Air Force was the commanding Air Chief Marshal of the British RAF Second Tactical Air Force, which was renamed RAF Germany on 1 January 1959.

The peacetime headquarters of 2 ATAF were at RAF Rheindahlen, the command center in the case of war for 2ATAF and NORTHAG was in the Netherlands at Joint Operations Center Maastricht (JOC Maastricht). In 1983 NATO began with the construction of Static War Headquarters Castlegate in Linnich, Germany, as a replacement for JOC Maastricht. , Alternate War HQ was located at Kanne (Belgium) north of Fort Eben-Emael.[1] Second Allied Tactical Air Force commanded the British Royal Air Force Germany, the Belgian Air Force, the Royal Netherlands Air Force, two divisions of the German Air Force (Luftwaffe) and one US Air Force Tactical Fighter Group, as well as extensive air defense and radar installations provided by Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands.

If needed 2 ATAF would have been reinforced with units from the US Third (UK based), Eighth (reconnaissance and bombing), Ninth (immediate reinforcements) and Twelfth Air Force (follow on reinforcements), and with French Air Force and Royal Air Force units. At the start of hostilities 2 ATAF would have had immediately around 700 combat planes at its disposal. The following units would have come under 2 ATAF in wartime:

2 ATAF was disbanded on 30 June 1993, its duties were taken over by Allied Air Forces Central Europe.

War Time Structure c.1989

  • Headquarters Second Allied Tactical Air Force, RAF Rheindahlen/JOC Maastricht
    • Air Defence Operations Center (ADOC), Maastricht
      • Sector Operations Center 1 (SOC 1), Aurich
        • 1st Btn, 34th (Luftwaffe) Signal Regiment, Control and Reporting Center Aurich
        • 2nd Btn, 34th (Luftwaffe) Signal Regiment, Control and Reporting Center Visselhövede
        • 3rd Btn, 34th (Luftwaffe) Signal Regiment, Control and Reporting Center Brekendorf
        • Royal Netherlands Air Force, Control and Reporting Center Nieuw Milligen, Netherlands
          • No. 225 Squadron, (3x I-Hawk launch stations & 3x Flycatcher/Bofors 40L70 AAA)
      • Sector Operations Center 2 (SOC 2), Uedem
        • 1st Btn, 33rd (Luftwaffe) Signal Regiment, Control and Reporting Center Uedem
        • 3rd Btn, 33rd (Luftwaffe) Signal Regiment, Control and Reporting Center Brakel
        • V. Training Group, 2nd Luftwaffe Technical School, Control and Reporting Center Erndtebrück
        • Royal Belgium Air Force, Control and Reporting Center Bassenge, Belgium
      • 4th Btn, 33rd (Luftwaffe) Regiment, Faßberg, with 12x mobile Radar systems forward deployed to the inner German border.
    • Royal Air Force Germany, RAF Rheindahlen
    • US Air Force
    • Belgian Air Force
    • Belgian Army
      • 43rd Artilleriebataljon, Brakel, with 4x MIM-23 Hawk squadrons; 6x launch stations
      • 62nd Artilleriebataljon, Essentho, with 4x MIM-23 Hawk squadrons; each 6x launch stations
    • Royal Netherlands Air Force
      • Eindhoven Air Base
        • No. 316 Fighter/Bomber Squadron, 18x NF-5A
        • No. 422 Squadron, (3x I-Hawk launch stations & 3x Flycatcher/Bofors 40L70 AAA)
      • Gilze-Rijen Air Base
        • No. 314 Fighter/Bomber Squadron, 18x NF-5A
        • No. 121 Squadron, (3x I-Hawk launch stations & 3x Flycatcher/Bofors 40L70 AAA)
      • Leeuwarden Air Base
      • Twente Air Base
        • No. 313 Fighter/Bomber Squadron, 18x F-16A
        • No. 315 Fighter/Bomber Squadron, 18x F-16A
        • No. 222 Squadron, (3x I-Hawk launch stations & 3x Flycatcher/Bofors 40L70 AAA)
      • Volkel Air Base
        • No. 306 Reconnaissance Squadron, 18x F-16A (Reconnaissance)
        • No. 311 Fighter/Bomber Squadron, 18x F-16A
        • No. 312 Fighter/Bomber Squadron, 18x F-16A
        • No. 420 Squadron, (3x I-Hawk launch stations & 3x Flycatcher/Bofors 40L70 AAA)
      • De Peel Air Base (for reinforcements)
        • No. 421 Squadron, (3x I-Hawk launch stations & 3x Flycatcher/Bofors 40L70 AAA)
      • 3rd Guided Weapons Group, Blomberg, with 2x MIM-104 Patriot squadrons (each with 5x launch stations) and 2x MIM-23 Hawk squadrons (each with 6x launch stations)
      • 5th Guided Weapons Group, Stolzenau, with 2x MIM-104 Patriot squadrons (each with 5x launch stations) and 2x MIM-23 Hawk squadrons (each with 6x launch stations)
    • German Air Force
      • 3rd Luftwaffendivision, Kalkar
        • Nörvenich Air Base
        • Rheine-Hopsten Air Base
          • Jagdbombergeschwader 36, 2x squadrons with 15x F-4F's each, and 15x F-4F in reserve
        • Jever Air Base
          • Jagdbombergeschwader 38, 1st squadron with 24x Tornados IDS (Tornado Weapons Training Sqn.), 2nd squadron with 16x Tornado ECR's, and 4x Tornado IDS in reserve
        • Oldenburg Air Base
          • Jagdbombergeschwader 43, 2x squadrons with 18x Alpha Jet's each, and 8x Alpha Jets in reserve
      • 4th Luftwaffendivision, Aurich
        • Wittmundhafen Air Base
        • 1st Air Defense Missile Command, Heide
          • 26th Air Defense Missile Wing, Wangerland, with 6x MIM-104 Patriot squadrons; each with 1x Engagement Control Station, 1x Radar Set, 8x launch stations
          • 37th Air Defense Missile Wing, Cuxhaven, with 4x MIM-23 Hawk squadrons; each with 1x Hawk battery (6x launch stations)
          • 39th Air Defense Missile Wing, Eckernförde, with 4x MIM-23 Hawk squadrons; each with 1x Hawk battery (6x launch stations)
        • 2nd Air Defense Missile Command, Bremervörde
          • 24th Air Defense Missile Wing, Delmenhorst, with 6x MIM-104 Patriot squadrons; each with 1x Engagement Control Station, 1x Radar Set, 8x launch stations
          • 31st Air Defense Missile Wing, Westertimke, with 4x MIM-23 Hawk squadrons; each with 1x Hawk battery (6x launch stations)
          • 36th Air Defense Missile Wing, Bremervörde, with 4x MIM-23 Hawk squadrons; each with 1x Hawk battery (6x launch stations)
        • 3rd Air Defense Missile Command, Oldenburg
          • 25th Air Defense Missile Wing, Eydelstedt, with 6x MIM-104 Patriot squadrons; each with 1x Engagement Control Station, 1x Radar Set, 8x launch stations
          • 35th Air Defense Missile Wing, Delmenhorst, with 4x MIM-23 Hawk squadrons; each with 1x Hawk battery (6x launch stations)
          • 41st Air Defense Missile Group, Wangerland, with 16x Roland systems guarding Jever, Hopsten and Wittmundhafen Air Base
        • 33rd Signal Regiment, Goch
        • 34th Signal Regiment, Alt Duvenstedt


note 1: Nuclear sharing unit capable of delivering tactical nuclear weapons.

References

  1. http://www.subbrit.org.uk/rsg/sites/k/kanne/index.html NATO Joint Operations Centre, Kanne
  • O. W. Dragoner, Die Bundeswehr 1989 Volume 2.1, available here
  • O. W. Dragoner, Die Bundeswehr 1989 Volume 3, available here

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