For nearly three weeks, 40 military personnel from the German Luftwaffe's Tactical Air Wing 71 "Richthofen", have been embedded with the 180 strong RAF 121 Expeditionary Air Wing. Their mission has been to carry out combined NATO Air Policing integration training. The intent is to deploy as a fully integrated force in the future from Mihail Kogalniceanu Air Base.
Both Air Forces regularly train together but presently carry out independent NATO Air Policing missions. A programme of interoperability and integration training, for flying and aircraft engineering, has been ongoing so that the goal of both Allies deploying together on such missions in the future can be achieved.
Previous combined operational training deployments have taken place in Lithuania and Estonia in 2020. This year for the first time however, the two NATO Allies have conducted armed Quick Reaction Alert training scrambles and intercepts during a NATO Air Policing mission.
On the 60th year of NATO Quick Reaction Alert this joint deployment re-enforces the commitment of both the RAF and the Luftwaffe to achieving a joint NATO Air Policing mission
"On the 60th year of NATO Quick Reaction Alert this joint deployment re-enforces the commitment of both the RAF and the Luftwaffe to achieving a joint NATO Air Policing mission," said Air Marshal Gerry Mayhew, RAF Deputy Commander Operations, when he visited Romania to see the training.
"The next step will be the signing of a Common Declaration on UK and German Eurofighter/Typhoon interoperability, which the Air Chiefs look forward to signing when they next meet; this important document will facilitate future combined exercises and operations between our nations," continued Air Marshal Mayhew.
"It's been hugely rewarding and enjoyable to work closely with, and train alongside, our German allies whilst deployed on an operational Air Policing mission in Romania,", said Wing Commander Stephen Lamping, Commanding Officer of 121 EAW, reflecting on the German deployment
"We have demonstrated a high degree of interoperability, both on the ground and in the air, as we continue to work towards a future deployment that will have UK and German personnel fully integrated. Witnessing the strong team spirit which has developed between us over the past two weeks has been one of the highlights of this deployment," continued Wing Commander Lamping.