Military airspace control centre gets new premises
A new underground facility and operations room were inaugurated at the military section of Ljubljana airport on 12 July to make the facility comparable to those in other NATO countries.
Under Slovenia's defence law, the country's airspace is monitored and protected by the military. The centre monitors and controls the airspace 24/7.
The Airspace Monitoring and Control Centre detects any violations in Slovenia's airspace, classifies them appropriately and responds if necessary. Aircraft interception services are provided by stand-by teams of Slovenia's air force and allied forces of Italy and Hungary.
Apart from monitoring and controlling the airspace, the centre is also in charge of exchanging raw radar data from Slovenia's two long-range military radars with the country's civilian Air Traffic Control Centre.
In the future, Slovenia will also be exchanging raw radar data with similar military and civilian agencies in Austria and Italy. Meanwhile, combined situation imaging has been exchanged with allies since Slovenia joined NATO in 2004.
Maintaining sovereignty of airspace
Performing the ribbon-cutting privileges as the armed forces supreme commander, President Nataša Pirc Musar underlined the need for constant modernisation of military equipment.
"Constant readiness of the Slovenian military gives me peace at night," the president said, as she praised the work of the airspace control centre.
Its commander, Lieutenant Colonel Aleš Umek said that after 32 years his unit now has a centre comparable to those in Slovenia's allies.
"Above all, Slovenian citizens have gained a centre where airspace monitoring and control are conducted, and with that sovereignty of our airspace is preserved," he said.
Construction and renovation works at the Airspace Monitoring and Control Centre kicked off in early 2019. The new premises will allow better work conditions in specific situations of continuous operations, also in the case of nuclear, chemical or biological exposure.
Role in rescue and medical response
Apart from underlining the need for constant modernisation of equipment, the president also praised the air force's role in the national rescue and medical services, which were demonstrated at the airport as well.
She noted that military helicopters were dispatched to help 440 times last year, while this year the figure has already reached 470. "The number of accidents in the mountains is on the rise and our military is always ready."
Two helicopters are on standby during the night and three during the day, for a total of five crews every single day.
"This is of great importance also in terms of so-called dual technologies, with the military using its equipment for civilian needs ... They have also proved a number of times how important they are in firefighting efforts."