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Mar 7 2024

Romania hosts integrated training drills for Allied fighter jets

FETESTI, Romania – On March 6, the Romanian Air Force deployed one of their C-27 transport aircraft for combined training missions with F-16 fighter jets from Romania and Türkiye, based at Fetesti Air Base, French Rafale aircraft , currently stationed there joined the missions. 

By hosting NATO enhanced Air Policing fighter detachments at its air bases for ten years, Romania has made a major contribution to NATO’s commitment to collective deterrence and defence and the close cohesion among Allies

In the morning of the training day, Romanian and Turkish F-16s conducted interception training with the transport aircraft that took off from Otopeni Air Base; the activity’s goal was to enhance skills of both the jet and transport aircraft pilots. In the afternoon, at Fetesti Air Base, the Turkish F-16s conducted training scrambles simulating the alarm chain from fighter preparation to take-off for an intercept. After taking off, they were joined by Romanian F-16s and French Rafale fighters for a session of air-to-air combat drills over the Romanian Black Sea coast near Constanța.

A Romanian F-16 taxies in front of three French Rafale jets at Fetesti Air Base in preparation of combined flying training on March 6, 2024. Photo by Adridan Sultanoiu.

Two Turkish F-16s, currently conducting NATO enhanced Air Policing at Fetesti Air Base taxi for take-off and a training mission with Romanian and French fighter jets. Photo by Cynthia Vernat..

One part of the combined aerial training was an interception and escort of a Romanian Air Force C-27 that simulated a loss of radio communication. Photo by Cynthia Vernating.

Together with Romanian and Turkish F-16 jets, a French Air and Space Force Rafale conducted integration and air combat  training over Romania. Photo by Cynthia Vernat.

About 50 international media had the opportunity to observe the demonstration – some of them flew to Fetesti onboard the C-27 aircraft and witnessed first-hand how NATO interception procedures are executed.

“Since 2014, Romania has hosted NATO enhanced Air Policing of fighter detachments from eight Allies and – now – Türkiye at its air bases near the Black Sea Coast. This has been a major contribution to NATO’s collective effort to show its commitment to collective deterrence and defence and the close cohesion among Allies,” said Captain Cornel Pavel, Romanian Navy, deputy head of the Information andPublic Relation Directorate of the Romanian Ministry of Defence.

Fetesti Air Base – Romania’s 86th Air Base – is home to a squadron of F-16s and also hosts the F-16 training centre for Romanian and other NATO pilots. Until the end of March, a Turkish Air Force detachment is deployed at the base with four F-16 jets for NATO’s enhanced Air Policing; the jets fly sorties alongside their Romanian colleagues to safeguard NATO airspace on the eastern flank.

The French Rafale detachment deployed to Fetesti for a five-day Agile Combat Employment (ACE) during which jets participate in combined training with regional air and ground forces supporting NATO’s force posture on the Black Sea shores in Romania.

“We are very pleased to host the one-week French Agile Combat Employment (ACE) of Rafale fighter jets at Fetesti in addition to the Turkish and Romanian F-16 detachments. This is another chance to demonstrate our professional skills as a Host Nation including for short-duration expeditionary deployments,” Captain Pawel added.

Several NATO Allies conduct ACE deployments across Europe to practice expeditionary capabilities projecting a force package at short notice with minimum own support relying on services provided by the receiving airfield. The ACE concept is a force multiplier for NATO’s Air Forces as it increases agility, interoperability, readiness, survivability and continuity of air operations.

Story by Allied Air Command Public Affairs Office

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