Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson visited Royal Air Force personnel serving in Romania as part of the NATO Air Policing mission.

The detachment of four Typhoon fighter jets from 135 Expeditionary Air Wing (EAW) has been based in south east Romania since April. Deployed for five months, the EAW has been working alongside the Romanian Air Force to police the skies over the Black Sea. Addressing a gathering from both air forces,

Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson said:

“This deployment, Op BILOXI, is an excellent example of why the RAF, in its one hundredth year, is a class above air forces globally. It is my privilege to meet the service personnel that are serving with their Romanian allies, under a NATO banner.”

The Defence Secretary’s visit to Mihail Kogalniceanu airbase near Constanta rounded off his first visit in post to the country.

Earlier that day, say the Ministry of Defence, he met his Romanian counterpart, Defence Minister Mihai Fifor, in Bucharest to discuss regional security in the Black Sea and defence activity between the two nations.

At the airbase he reiterated his earlier announcement of a Short Term Engagement Team from the British Army to support the Romanian-led Multinational Brigade South-East as part of NATO’s Forward Presence in the Black Sea to enhance security and deter aggression in the region.

He added:

“This mission demonstrates NATO’s flexible capabilities, underlining the commitment of Allies to each other, as well as resolve and readiness. That is why we as the UK are committed to NATO and Romania.”

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Op BILOXI, who would approve that name.

james harrington

I wonder if the Romanians would be interested in speaking up about and for the UK as part of our Brexit negotiations. It seems like they benefit significantly from the generosity of theUK through both NATO air patrols and UK immigration policy, yet are silent when Bernier tells them to shut up. There should be more linkage between our national interest and the support we don’t get from international friends.

Daniele Mandelli

I wholeheartedly agree with the feeling. But don’t see how to put it into practice without making us look bad.

A balance must be struck.

The UK not deploying forces if Romania does not support the UK would not help in the negotiations one bit I fear.

We can be friends and allies of fellow European nations, which is only right and proper, without being in the EU, which is not Europe.

And this is NATO. Those appointed and unelected bureaucrats should not get in the way of good relations between military allies.

james harrington

Your practical rationale is of course correct, but as you stated you see my point, and then again without the UK NATO would be much less of a deterrent.


(Chris H) I see a possible market for our Tranche 1 Typhoons in Romania when they are replaced by Tranche 3 (or later) ….