RAMSTEIN, Germany - Romania hosted a ceremonial event and media day at Mihail Kogalniceanu Air Base near Constanța on the Black Sea with military representatives from Italy, the United Kingdom and the United States.
In a ceremony on April 8, 2022, the Royal Air Force (RAF) Typhoons took over NATO's enhanced Air Policing (eAP) mission in Romania and conducted an aerial training with Romanian, Italian and United States aircraft. The Italian Air Force Eurofighter detachment completed a four-month stay in Romania, flying NATO Air Policing missions alongside the Romanian Air Force fighters, who will henceforth be safeguarding the skies together with the RAF Typhoons. US Air Force F-16s continue to reinforce the Alliance's force posture in the country.
The military and media visitors saw a scramble of Italian, Romanian and United Kingdom fighters out of Mihail Kogalniceanu to conduct a simulated intercept and escort a Romanian C-27 transport aircraft. A US Air Force F-16 joined the fighter group to subsequently perform a mixed overflight of the military ceremony.
Allied Air Forces stand shoulder-to-shoulder to provide a robust collective defence and deliver constant vigilance across NATO airspace
"The NATO Certification Ceremony signifies the assumption of NATO's eAP duties by the RAF", said Lieutenant General Fernando De La Cruz Caravaca, Commander of NATO's Combined Air Operations Centre Torrejón, Spain. "The ceremony underlines the United Kingdom's commitment to NATO vigilance activities on the Alliance's eastern flank, demonstrating how Allied Air Forces stand shoulder-to-shoulder to provide a robust collective defence and deliver constant vigilance across NATO airspace", the General added.
An international ceremony marked the formal beginning of the fourth enhanced Air Policing deployment for the RAF in Romania.
Photo by Maeson Elleman/USAF.
"Allied Air Forces stand shoulder-to-shoulder to provide a robust collective defence and deliver constant vigilance across NATO airspace", said LtGen de la Cruz, Commander of NATO's CAOC in Torrejón, Spain. Photo by Maeson Elleman/USAF.
Mixed Allied formation overflight during the ceremony at Mihail Kogalniceanu Air Base, Romania.
Photo by Maeson Elleman/USAF.
Italian, Romanian and United Kingdom fighters conducted a training scramble and simulated intercept of a Romanian C-27 transport aircraft. Photo courtesy UK Royal Air Force.
The present RAF deployment is the fourth occasion they have provided jets to NATO's eAP in the South, with previous deployments in 2017, 2018 and 2021. "The RAF are ready and able to protect and defend our populations and our alliance members. Our presence is the physical manifestation of that. We are NATO's frontline. Our Air Force is our NATO's frontline, we are the first line of defence", said the Chief of the United Kingdom Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal Sir Michael Wigston. The RAF Typhoons deployed to Romania in March and were scrambled four times to conduct alert missions monitoring the border since then. "We are allies, we are able to work together. We've demonstrated that on a daily basis. And we're very good at it", the Air Chief Marshal added.
Deployed to Fetesti Air Base, some 70 km away from Mihail Kogalniceanu Air Base, US Air Force F-16 fighters have been augmenting NATO's enhanced vigilance posture along the eastern flank for several weeks.
"We are out here as a joint force with our Italian, Romanian and British Allies recognizing the Royal Air Force showing strength during this NATO certification ceremony", said Lieutenant Colonel William Parks, the US F-16 detachment commander. "Our cohesive stance demonstrates our commitment to a collective defence of NATO's borders", he concluded.
The enhanced Air Policing mission continues to be one element of how NATO ensures effective deterrence and defence along its eastern flank. It is complemented by the Alliance's enhanced vigilance activities to which the Allies collectively provide their fighter and support aircraft.