RAMSTEIN, Germany – American fighter aircraft will arrive at Fetesti Air Base, Romania, February 11, to enhance NATO's collective defence posture and support the NATO Air Policing mission, joining Italian fighters already deployed in Romania.
U.S. F-16 Fighting Falcons from the 52nd Fighter Wing at Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany, will operate from Fetesti Air Base. The additional aircraft and crews will work closely with Allies in the Black Sea region to reinforce regional security during the current tensions caused by Russia's continuing military build-up near Ukraine. The aircraft will complete a range of air-to-air training maneuvers with NATO Allies to strengthen interoperability and enhance the communications link required to execute multinational air operations.
The joint mission fosters a common understanding between the Allies and strengthens our ability to defend Alliance territory against a constantly challenging security environment in the Black Sea region
"Enhanced Air Policing is an enduring peacetime and collective defensive mission that safeguards the integrity of Romanian and other Alliance members' airspace. We are grateful for the opportunity to host our Allied partners and their aircraft in our country in order to jointly contribute, along with the Romanian Air Force, to the overall security and defence of the region," said Major General Viorel Pana, Chief of the Air Force Staff, Romanian Air Force. "The joint mission fosters a common understanding between the Allies and strengthens our ability to defend Alliance territory against a constantly challenging security environment in the Black Sea region."
US F-16s will work with their hosts Romania and regional Allies to undertake NATO's enhanced Air Policing mission. Archive photo courtesy of US Air Force
The US F-16 detachment will also take part in training and exercise activity while based at Fetesti Air Base, Romania. Photo courtesy of US Air Force
U.S. fighter units will also support NATO's enhanced Air Policing (eAP) mission, working closely with the Italian Typhoons who have been safeguarding the skies since December 2021. Additionally, Germany will deploy Eurofighters from mid-February to operate closely with the Italian detachment, plugging in to their existing support structures. The Allied units will work closely with the Combined Air Operations Centre Torrejón in Spain, which is responsible for directing, tasking and coordinating air operations of allocated assets across the South of Europe mainly in peacetime.
"The F-16 aircraft will significantly enhance NATO's deterrence posture in NATO's south-east region and provide additional responsiveness for the enhanced Air Policing mission," said Lieutenant General Pascal Delerce, Deputy Commander, Allied Air Command. "Allied Air Forces are standing shoulder to shoulder to provide a robust collective defence and deliver constant vigilance across NATO airspace."
Since 2014, the NATO Alliance has implemented Assurance Measures with the goal to secure regional stability and assure the Allies following Russia's illegal annexation of Crimea. One tool in this set of measures is the concept of eAP, which demonstrates NATO's solidarity, collective resolve, and its ability to adapt and scale its defensive missions and deterrence posture in response to an evolving security situation.