Typhoons based in Romania have been launched in response to two suspected Russian Su-30 Flanker aircraft operating near NATO airspace over the Black Sea.

Launching from the Romanian Mihail Kogălniceanu Air Base near Constanta on the Black Sea coast, the RAF Typhoons responded to the aircraft which were heading south west towards NATO airspace from the Crimea.

The Russian fighter aircraft were repeating the recently seen activity in the air and were monitored by two Typhoons from 135 Expeditionary Air Wing (EAW).

The RAF Typhoons were operating in accordance with the NATO Enhanced Air Policing (eAP) mission, whereby the RAF operates alongside its NATO ally to deter Russian aggression, reassure Romania and assure NATO allies of the UK commitment to collective defence.

One of the Typhoon pilots from 1(Fighter) Squadron, attached to 135 EAW, said:

“We were monitoring the activity from the Ops room as the Scramble was called. Everything went as planned with both of us, launching and heading east towards the two contacts. We had radar contact and shadowed the two aircraft as they flew through the Romanian Flight Information Region, but we never got within visual range to see them.

It was a successful Operational mission, we achieved exactly what the UK Typhoons from 1(Fighter) Squadron are expected to do as part of 135 EAW and the NATO enhanced Air Policing mission.”

The RAF is deployed to Romania as part of the NATO Enhanced Air Policing mission, where member states will provide assistance to the Romanian Air Force’s own fleet of fast-jet aircraft.

Romania is equipped with MiG -21LanceR and the American built F-16 aircraft.

28 COMMENTS

  1. Purchasing more of these and upgrading the fleet with thrust vectored RRTFX engines, root extensions and conformal fuel tanks would be money well spent short-mid term, while investing heavily in the future development of Tempest and Taranis. 2025 is the earliest date for fully combat operational F35’s according to a report from the DOT&E I believe?

    • No the F35B will be ready with a pretty decent IOC in 2021, then near full capability by 2023. Integration of the final few more sophisticated UK weapons (already fitted on Eurofighter) might be pushed out to 2025 but this is like asking for the final piece of icing on the cake. Eurofighter can manage those weapons releases until 2025 no problem.
      I would really like to see a firm commitment to a few more typhoon squadrons and at least another 60 active F35Bs on top of the 48 already ordered.
      TheRAFfast jet numbers are very very low currently and do not offer much of an attritional reserve in case of any meaningful conflict.
      Seems the mandarins in MOD do not consider military losses of jets, warships, submarines to be a possibility in a time of conflict.

      • “No the F35B will be ready with a pretty decent IOC in 2021, then near full capability by 2023”

        That’s our F-35b with our weapons integration, from our carriers.

        All the other things that need fixing on the F-35 will make it 2025 at least until the F-35 is fully combat operational.

          • Yeah it is, not ready for front line combat though, certainly not against decent opposition.

            The F-35 program still has a few years left yet.

  2. I have just checked a map and it seems Russia and Roumania are very close geographically.

    The UK and Russia not so close.

    • And your point is?
      Romania is part of NATO thus we unfortunately have a signed treaty to help it’s defence. Distance from Russia is irrelevant.
      Not sure in the cold war that the far west of Eastern Germany was very close to Russia and yet the Russians still deployed vast forces on the border to keep alive a threat to NATO for over 50 years.
      We are not provoking the Russian’s. Otherwise more than 4 jets would be deployed. These are symbolistic deployments to merely make Russia think before engaging in any military adventurism.

      • The incongruity of it, geo-strategic stupidity, and political naivety of it.

        I find your comparison with the Cold War fascinating in the depth of its over simplification and blatant ignoring of basic facts.

        And then you mention provoking Russia and then with all sincerity mention military adventurism without pausing for breath.

        Fantastic. Absolutely fantastic. I hope you bashed that out sitting in your Anderson shelter in a ‘battle bowler’ and gas mask with your copy of ‘Protect and Survive’ closed to hand sitting on 6 months’ supply of baked beans.

        Russia would struggle to invade even one of the Baltic states with the current state of their conventional armed services. They don’t belong to the block that has bombed its way across the world for the last two decades for no useful outcome. The block whose principal member has 11 CBG’s, 9 ARGs, and 700 plus military across the world all funded by the biggest military budget in history. The Russians can if situation really got out of hand still nuke us to kingdom come which is something to consider.

        You are probably outraged that Russians are using international waters around the UK aren’t you?

        Bless. I needed a laugh. I am going have to stop posting here its too much.

        • Your lack of startegic and political insight is staggering sir. Anderson shelter and baked beans are cheap shots.
          I would have thought the incident in Salisbury when the Russian state clearly authorised a nerve agent attack against our country would have woken even you up to the modern dangers Russia under Putin represents.
          I guess you are right and the whole of NATO are wrong.
          Muppet. Not typing away in the Kremlin basement by any chance are you comrade?

  3. Interception over your own country is usually a low-risk event. However, over someone else’s that carries significant risks. It raises the question, how organised is NATO if one of these interceptions goes wrong. What safeguards are in place?

    I fear it’s a suck it and see operation; and that could enable escalation to creep in and that might be considerably more challenging to keep in check?

    • There are standard rules of engagement for unscheduled or non-responsive aircraft entering NATO airspace during peacetime which are no different to those entering UK airspace.
      1. Shadow the aircraft and try to shepherd them away initially.
      2. Verbal warnings if they enter our airspace.
      3. If the verbal warnings fail a visual check is carried out whereby the pilot will fly their aircraft close to the other to check to see if the aircraft’s pilot is conscious and not under duress.
      4. If they are conscious and aware of the NATO aircraft but ignoring audio, a visual warning is given with a flash of the weapons carried on the aircraft, followed by a radio frequency usually VHF Guard written on a whiteboard. The second QRA aircraft will be in the other aircraft’s 6 o’clock position.
      5. This is where it can get serious, if the aircraft fails to respond to both audio and visual warning/commands. The aircraft under the rules of engagement is entitled to give a more visual warning i.e. firing the gun in front of the non-responsive aircraft followed up with the white card again or if it’s a military aircraft having the QRA aircraft located in the 6 o’clock position locking its radar on to it.
      6. If the aircraft still fails to respond it can then be treated as a threat and the rules of engagment cover that as well!
      The whole scenario is tracked by ATC, so if anything unexpected happens the QRA pilots are covered. The Russian Airforce has a history of pushing the boundaries, especially when they have been operating in Syria. So far even with provocation it hasn’t escalated. The F22 pilot in Syria was well within his rights to target the SU30 that deliberately tried ramming the aircraft.

      • Fascinating post Davey.

        I had no idea F22 was deployed to the ME I thought they were too sensitive to the possibility of losing one.

        And in a European UKADR hijacked plane scenario even more serious if that aircraft is already nearing the Kent coast for example with only minutes to react. A shoot down as directed by the PM or whoever via the NADOC would put it into a populated area.

  4. Is there a NATO budget paying for the costs of this or does MoD foot the bill?

    Because as it is UK taxpayers are paying for Romanian Air Defence.

    I’m not against the concept of NATO nations deploying to “Reassure” weaker member states by the way.

  5. Good point. Maybe this should come from international aid budget?
    We are after all providing military aid to a foreign nation free of charge. A NATO budget…I like that idea. Whereby our beloved friends and allies have to contribute and by default pay for US, Canadian and UK forces deploying to protect other nations.
    Maybe we could bill the Germans for 50 years of maintaining the peace in Europe post WW2.

    • There is a NATO budget for shared assets like the NATO Sentry’s isn’t there?

      And I guess for infrastructure, C3 Nodes, Alliance HQ etc?

      I mean purely for operations. Not active deployments as in combat operations but such as this, political posturing to Russia, which is what this actually is.

      Example. UKADR gets Russian flights along its periphery all the time are other NATO nations sending planes here to assist? Nope. Don’t count the French as they deploy QRA too when those Russian flights near their region.

    • These are the NATO budgets.

      NATO members contribute to a collective budget for the alliance. There’s a civilian budget of about $286 million for 2018, used mainly to fund the NATO headquarters in Belgium and its administration.

      And there’s a military budget of $1.54 billion for 2018, which is used to fund some operations and the NATO strategic command center, as well as training and research.

      There is also a joint budget for the NATO Security Investment Programme, which covers major construction and command and control system investments. The budget for that program is capped at $817 million for 2018.

      Member countries contribute to these NATO budgets in accordance with an agreed cost-sharing formula based on gross national income. The US pays 22.1% of these budgets, while Germany pays 14.8%. All members are up to date on these contributions.

  6. Funding NATO
    Member countries make direct and indirect contributions to the costs of running NATO and implementing its policies and activities.

    Highlights
    Indirect – or national – contributions are the largest and come, for instance, when a member volunteers equipment or troops to a military operation and bears the costs of the decision to do so.
    Direct contributions are made to finance requirements of the Alliance that serve the interests of all 29 members – and are not the responsibility of any single member – such as NATO-wide air defence or command and control systems. Costs are borne collectively, often using the principle of common funding.
    Within the principle of common funding, all 29 members contribute according to an agreed cost-share formula, based on Gross National Income, which represents a small percentage of each member’s defence budget.
    Common funding arrangements are used to finance NATO’s principal budgets: the civil budget (NATO HQ running costs), the military budget (costs of the integrated Command Structure) and the NATO Security Investment Programme (military capabilities).
    Projects can also be jointly funded, which means that the participating countries can identify the requirements, the priorities and the funding arrangements, but NATO provides political and financial oversight. The funding process is overseen by the North Atlantic Council, managed by the Resource Policy and Planning Board, and implemented by the Budget Committee and the Investment Committee.

    https://www.nato.int/cps/en/natohq/topics_67655.htm

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