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Dec 13 2021

Air Policing history in Romania

RAMSTEIN, Germany - Established in 1913, the Romanian Air Force started to "police" the skies in September 1951 with the IAK-23 aircraft's entry into service conducting the permanent air combat patrol mission. 1952 marked the first intercept of a real target when a Soviet IL-28 aircraft entered Romanian airspace without authorisation.

Romania joined the NATO on March 29, 2004 following the decision taken at the Prague Summit, in November 2002. On the same day, Romania started conducting Air Policing missions under the NATO Integrated Air Defense System, supported by CRC Baloteşti.

I had the honour to be in QRA on the very first day when the Romanian Air Force started to conduct Air Policing mission under NATO command on April 1, 2004. Since then, I had a lot of scramble missions, day and night, intercepting a lot of non NATO military aircraft over the Black Sea

"I have been involved in Air Policing under the NATO Command since 2004, I had the honor to be in QRA on the very first day when the Romanian Air Force started to conduct Air Policing mission under NATO command, more precisely, on April 1st 2004. Since then, I had a lot of scramble missions, day and night, intercepting a lot of non NATO military aircraft over the Black Sea", said Col Daniel "Tomcat" Moise, 86 Operational Group Commander.

Shortly after considering NATO's goals and tasks, Romania, in its capacity as a plenary NATO member, declared its availability to provide the necessary forces and assets for Air Policing within the Baltic States' airspace. In recognition of its level of readiness, NATO accepted Romania's proposal and consequently four MiG-21 LanceR aircraft belonging to the Romanian Air Force provided Air Policing in Lithuania, Estonia and Latvia for three months, between 1st August and 1st November 2007.

The Romanian Air Force operates two fighter types – the MiG-21 and the F-16 - to defend its airspace under national arrangements and in cooperation with Combined Air Operation Centre at Torrejón, Spain. They conduct the full spectrum of missions and cooperate with all Allies, especially with neighboring Bulgaria and deployed fighter detachments.

"The F-16 has started the NATO Air Policing missions from 2019. We are performing this mission alternating with the Mig-21 LanceR deployed at MK Airbase. The F-16 brings enhanced capabilities for the Air Policing missions for the Romanian Air Force, joining the NATO F-16 Community. It has increased our capabilities significantly with improved loiter time and new or upgraded sensors and avionics. This gives us the ability to perform Air Policing missions over the Black Sea and all over NATO airspace integrating seamlessly with other NATO assets," stated Major Alexandru Pavelescu, F-16 pilot at 86th Air Base.

The 86th AFB has a great responsibility at the Eastern border of NATO Airspace, being responsible for conducting QRA with F-16 from FETESTI and MiG-21 Lancer from Mihail Kogalniceanu. Also, a second squadron from 71th AFB Campia Turzii is involved in Air Policing with MiG-21 LanceR aircraft.

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Two MiG-21s twoship formation on a training mission . Photo courtesy of Romanian Air Force
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A Romanian Air Force F-16 pilot flying alongside a Royal Canadian Air Force CF-188 during an enhanced Air Policing sortie. Photo courtesy of Romanian Air Force.

Story by Allied Air Command Public Affairs Office

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