INTRODUCTION North Atlantic Treaty Organisation diplomats currently meeting in Brussels, Belgium see the visit to NATO headquarters by United States Secretary of State Cyrus Vance on Saturday (26 March) as possibly the beginning of a new period of closer co-operation between the United States and its European allies.
CU: NATO sign PAN UP TO U.S. Defence Secretary Harold Brown and other officials standing talking.
CU sign ZOOM OUT TO military official preparing papers.
SV: Italian delegation seated with other officials standing.
SVs: Icelandic, West German, Belgian and United Kingdom delegations seated. (4 shots)
GV PAN: aircraft taking off carrying AWACS system.
MCU: plane in flight with AWACS system working ZOOM OUT TO GV plane in flight.
GV: Nimrod plane fitted with British radar on nose.
CU: nose of plane with radar system ZOOM OUT TO tractor towing plane.
SV PAN: radar system on nose of plane.
TV: Nimrod plane and radar system.
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Background: INTRODUCTION North Atlantic Treaty Organisation diplomats currently meeting in Brussels, Belgium see the visit to NATO headquarters by United States Secretary of State Cyrus Vance on Saturday (26 March) as possibly the beginning of a new period of closer co-operation between the United States and its European allies. Mr Vance is on his way to Moscow and will brief NATO ambassadors on his plans for his Kremlin talks, which are seen as the most important diplomatic venture by the two-month old administration of United States President Jimmy Carter.
SYNOPSIS: United States Defence Secretary Harold Brown is already in Brussels. He is on his first visit to NATO headquarters since taking office in January and is participating in discussions surrounding the purchase of a fleet of airborne radar stations from the United States.
The new system would enable NATO forces to scan deep into Warsaw pact territory and alliance officials, meeting in special session, are talking over the final details on the purchase of 27 Boeing aircraft crammed with sophisticated radar and electronics that can scan low-flying aircraft down to treetop level.
Far reaching in its applications, the radar, known as AWACS - Airborne and Control Warning System - also looks as if it means business. The planes are needed to watch for any sneak air attack, especially at low level. Present ground-based NATO radar is blind to low-flying aircraft. Defence Secretary Brown said in Brussels that he thought NATO countries were "quite close to agreement" on buying the system.
The United Kingdom has its own version of an airborne radar system, built into the Nimrod aircraft, which has cost 14 million pounds sterling (about 22 million U.S. dollars) to develop, and has been regarded as a back-up system in case the AWACS deal falls through. Late on Friday (25 March) night NATO had made little progress on how to finance the AWACS fleet. It is expected to cost 2.4 billion dollars and at present West Germany is uncertain about its 25 per cent share of the bill.