Typhoon fighter pilots from the Royal Air Force (RAF) have made a belated return to Romania in support of the Enhanced Air Policing mission they began last spring.
Eurofighter Typhoon multi-role aircraft from Number II (Army Co-operation) Squadron have journeyed from RAF Lossiemouth in Scotland to join 135 Expeditionary Air Wing (EAW) at Mihail Kogalniceanu Airbase near Constanta in south east Romania.
Based at RAF Leeming in North Yorkshire, the EAW consists of 150 personnel – including II (AC) Squadron – drawn from stations across the country to form a unit capable of carrying out all of the support activities necessary to maintain a fast jet operational force.
At the helm is Wing Commander Chris Ball, who heads up 135 EAW. According to Chris: “This is an important role for us that will build upon the success of last year’s mission to help to secure NATO airspace in the Black Sea region. These are interesting times but from the Black Sea to the Baltics, NATO’s resolve is steadfast to defend itself against any threat.”
The NATO Enhanced Air Policing mission requires member states to provide assistance to the Romanian Air Force’s own fleet of MiG-21 LanceR’s and American made F-16 aircraft. It was Gavin Williamson, Secretary of State for Defence, who announced the RAF’s return to Romania in March as part of NATO’s ongoing peacetime mission.
Now, 135 EAW will support air policing throughout the region until September 2018, when they will be relieved by another member state. The RAF is no stranger to air policing operations however, having deployed Typhoons to the Baltic States in order to safeguard NATO airspace.
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