Typhoon aircraft departed Romania yesterday, ending the UK’s five-month leadership of NATO’s enhanced air policing mission in the country.

Since April the Typhoons from 3(F) Squadron, RAF Coningsby had spent alternate weeks on high-readiness standby to defend NATO’s airspace over the Black Sea, augmenting the Romanian Air Force’s existing air defence capability.

The Royal Canadian Air Force is now preparing to assume responsibility for the NATO mission, while two of the RAF’s Typhoons proceed to Estonia to join NATO training with the British Army.

According to a release we recieved this morning, the Typhoons deployed to Mihail Kogalniceanu Air Base, near the Black Sea port of Constanta, as part of the RAF’s 135 Expeditionary Air Wing under the code-name Operation BILOXI. More than 300 regular and reserve RAF personnel from 16 RAF units – supported by Royal Engineers soldiers – were involved in the mission.

“Typhoons launched once in response to Russian air activity over the Black Sea, and flew more than 280 sorties to support NATO training with Romanian, Hungarian and Bulgarian armed forces. Towards the end of 135 EAW’s tour of duty, eight of its personnel were awarded the Romanian Air Force’s highest peacetime honour for their work in the country.”

135 EAW’s Commanding Officer, Wing Commander Andy Coe, said:

“As we hand over NATO duties to our colleagues in the Royal Canadian Air Force, the men and women of 135 EAW can be proud of what we have achieved.

In our five months here, we were ambassadors for the RAF Whole Force, and for a truly global Britain. We learned much from our Romanian friends, even as we passed on our experience to them and to our other allies in the region.

It’s been a privilege to lead a team who have embraced NATO’s principles with complete enthusiasm and dedication.”

Four RCAF CF-188 Hornet fighter aircraft from 409 Tactical Fighter Squadron arrived in Romania earlier in the week and will be patrolling the skies shortly.

Air Task Force Romania Commander Lieutenant Colonel Mark Hickey said:

“As we bid farewell to our British friends, my entire team’s focus is now on supporting Canada’s allies here in Romania and across the wider region.

Canada will always stand up for the freedom and collective security of our NATO allies; that’s why we are happy to assume leadership of this important mission. My team will make Romania and Canada proud.”

7 COMMENTS

  1. Well those 4 jets are far, far superior to anything the Romanian’s have to offer. That is the problem here, Romania and many of the other ex-Warsaw pact, eastern European nations were desperate to join NATO as they wanted and now demand NATO protection- yet offer very little back in return to NATO’s force structure or capabilities. Romania’s air force is laughable- all ex Russian fighters of 3rd or low quality 4th generation- yet they are not doing anything currently to uplift their capabilities and spend less than 2% of their GDP on defence.
    They need to up their game and purchase in either Eurofighter typhoon or Rafale or Gripen to at least offer a token resistance to any Russian incursion into their airspace.

    • I agree they need to up their game, but Germany is the biggest culprit by far. They have the third largest economy in the world, and are happy to sit back and let Canada defend the border between Russia and the EU. Their defense industry is built towards the export market.

    • Poland has F-16C Block 50s and may purchase F-35s. Hungary and the Czech Republic operate the SAAB Gripen. Romania is in the middle of introducing the F-16MLUs into service with the intention of purchasing more. Bulgaria also plans to purchase brand new Gripens. That’s a fair bit of investment.

    • I don’t know have you looked how ragged out those Canadian F-18s are ? They were some of the first to leave Missouri and both the conservatives and the liberal parties have dragged their feet on maintenance. Much less modernization and replacement. The Canadian government repeatedly under different governments promised to buy Super Hornets. That was of course after they backed away from their F-35 commitment just after getting a slice of the production contracts.

  2. Romania is in the middle of forming it’s first F-16 squadron and is planning to purchase more to form a second. Romania is starting invest a lot in it’s armed forces.

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