Fighter jets and surveillance aircraft from seven NATO countries held air-to-ground warfare drills over Romania this week.

NATO say in a press release that seven air forces from across the Alliance joined their aircraft and ground systems for a training event in Romanian airspace to conduct coordinated combined air-to-ground drills “demonstrating interoperability and preparedness”.

According to NATO here:

“The one-day event included Romanian F-16s, French Rafales, and German Tornado jets as well as US EA-18 fighter aircraft launched from the USS Harry S. Truman carrier in the Mediterranean. In response to Russia’s war against Ukraine, NATO has significantly strengthened its presence in the eastern part of our Alliance, with more troops, maritime presence, and aircraft on patrol.

On July 28, Allied Air Command led a dynamic long-range operation above Romania controlled by the Combined Air Operations Centre at Torrejón, the Romanian Control and Reporting Centre and a French Airborne Warning and Control System plane. Local Romanian F-16s were joined by French Rafale and German Tornado jets, which deployed from their respective home bases. They linked up with US Navy EA-18 fighter aircraft from the US Harry S. Truman carrier strike group currently sailing in the Adriatic Sea. The formation simulated engagements with Belgian F-16 and Spanish F-18 fighters and the French SAMP/T surface-based air defence system.”

“This enhanced Vigilance Activity enables forces to address a large spectrum of threats, from tactical to strategic, emanating from many directions,” said Lieutenant Colonel Raphael, who is part of the planning team for the activity at Allied Air Command.

“The participating air assets are simulating how to degrade an adversary’s integrated air and defence system in order to permit follow-on operations and freedom of manoeuvre required for defensive operations in NATO and international airspace. Bringing seven Allies together for such a complex training event underlines NATO’s ability to concentrate multinational fires and effects from air, maritime and land components in the same place at the same time and to ensure it has the capability and interoperability to respond in the event that the Alliance is threatened,” added Lieutenant Colonel Raphael.

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farouk
farouk
11 days ago

 “The formation simulated engagements with Belgian F-16 and Spanish F-18 fighters and the French SAMP/T surface-based air defence system.”

Since the poor showing of Russian weapon systems inside the Ukraine , I’ve wondered how will that impact on future arms sales for Moscow, the article above points out the SAMP/T surface-based air defence system.” And remembered that 10 months ago Iraq stated that it was going to purchase the S300
comment image

and the otherday I read this:

Opera Snapshot_2022-07-29_171626_www.thedefensepost.com.png
Nicholas
Nicholas
11 days ago
Reply to  farouk

This joke from the miner’s leader at Chernobyl seems apt.

“What’s as big as a house, burns 20 litres of fuel every hour, puts out a shit-load of smoke and noise, and cuts an apple into three pieces? A Soviet machine made to cut apples into four pieces!”

Nicholas
Nicholas
11 days ago
Reply to  Nicholas

I meant from the TV show ‘Chernobyl’.

Paul T
Paul T
11 days ago
Reply to  farouk

Im not comfortable with Iraq being offered French/American Air Defence systems if im honest – too closely tied to Iran,let them have S300 and walk away.

Supportive Bloke
Supportive Bloke
11 days ago
Reply to  Paul T

Why do they need anything?

Who is going to attacked them by air?

To defend against what?

Paul T
Paul T
10 days ago

Only the Iraqis know those answers.

Supportive Bloke
Supportive Bloke
10 days ago
Reply to  Paul T

I suspect they don’t.

All they know is that they need to keep the scary people away.

Initially the scary people had Stars and Stripes and Mad Vlad convinced them that his buckshot trebuchet would keep the scariest away.

Now the Iraqis have seen that the trebuchet can’t even defeat……

Watcherzero
Watcherzero
11 days ago

US has grounded its F-35 and trainer aircraft now for ejection seat inspections. Issue is with the explosive capsule on the Martin Bakers.

Gavin Gordon
Gavin Gordon
11 days ago
Reply to  Watcherzero

Thought that was quickly sorted, with a/c back in the air?

Watcherzero
Watcherzero
11 days ago
Reply to  Gavin Gordon

UK grounded the Typhoons and Hawks for inspection and certified them fit. This is the US airforce grounding their F-35’s for inspection now.

I would guess they were checking serial numbers of the explosive charges for a particular known bad batch or visually inspecting for signs of deterioration in the charge.

Last edited 11 days ago by Watcherzero
Gavin Gordon
Gavin Gordon
11 days ago
Reply to  Watcherzero

Cheers, hopefully not long. What’s the status on our F35s?

Watcherzero
Watcherzero
10 days ago
Reply to  Watcherzero

Update, the grounding was prompted by an engineer in the US noticing the explosive charge initiator was unusually light, it was found to be missing the explosive charge itself. Martin Baker have ordered inspections for a series of batch numbers where ‘Production steps have been omitted’ as of last Wednesday the US had found three initiators missing their explosive charge during inspections and thats when the US Airforce elevated it from an inspection notice to a grounding to allow inspections to be completed faster by freeing engineers from other flight operation work.

Chipper
Chipper
11 days ago
Reply to  Watcherzero

Just the press over egging the pudding again, read the below. They just added an extra check to each aircraft before its next flight and replaced the cartridge if it was between certain batch numbers. Cmdr. Zachary Harrell, spokesperson for the Commander of Naval Air Forces, issued a statement saying those statements did not reflect the current situation with its F-35 fleet. “U.S. Navy and Marine Corps F-35C Lighting II operations are not impacted by the potential defect in the cartridge activated devices. F-35Cs are not grounded,” he said, adding that “A small number of CADs in F-35Cs were determined… Read more »

Watcherzero
Watcherzero
11 days ago
Reply to  Chipper

Your getting confused between branches, it was the Airforce that ground their aircraft thats a press release from the Navy/Marine Corp. The Air Force and the Joint services Training Centre (The largest US users) have implemented a 90 day inspection deadline from 19th July and from July 29th elevated it to a grounding until inspections complete.

EXCLUSIVE: Air Force grounding F-35s over ejection seat concerns – Breaking Defense

Chipper
Chipper
10 days ago
Reply to  Watcherzero

Just saying it’s a bit strange don’t you think? politics at play perhaps? when everyone else (inc your own armed forces) are just including the inspection before each aircraft’s next flight (as they do anyway) Let’s face it you don’t have to dismantle the aircraft to check the batch number of an ejection seat charge.

Watcherzero
Watcherzero
10 days ago
Reply to  Chipper

Their reasoning is if they ground operations that frees all the engineers who would be supporting continued flight operations to work on the inspections meaning it all gets done much quicker. I think the fact they had found 3 explosive initiators that were missing their explosive fill by last Wednesday might be behind the decision to accelerate the inspections.

maurice10
maurice10
11 days ago

Why on earth did we dispense with GR4’s when at least 40? were still flyable at the end of service? I don’t buy training issues as most of these retained aircraft could have been assigned to a reserve squadron, and flown by type pilots for at least a decade. This national reserve would serve as low-flying dogs capable of delivering ordinance just as it always did without placing F35/Typhoons on such gardening duties. Rather than simply dumping these airframes at Cosford or base gates, they could still serve as they are with the Germans. The UK policy of casting perfectly… Read more »

Andrew
Andrew
11 days ago
Reply to  maurice10

Maurice,

What would be the life expectancy of a Tornado crew flying low level missions against Russian forces/targets?

To maintain flyable reserves would cost a lot of money…. surely that money would be better invested in modern/current kit?

Supportive Bloke
Supportive Bloke
11 days ago
Reply to  Andrew

The Tonka wasn’t a great plane in terms of speed. The electronics fit was great for its day but was totally put in the shade by the T2 Typhoon never mind T4 or F35. As the T2 Typhoon was a better bomb truck anyway why the keep the Tonka? FYI keeping fast jet pilots current is a big deal and for that reason alone training infrastructure would have to be in place. I do agree that this slightly nutty idea that you only have limited numbers front line kit (planes or ships) and no reserves or reserve pilots does have… Read more »

maurice10
maurice10
11 days ago
Reply to  Andrew

Pretty high probability the Tornado crews would survive and the costs would not be to the detriment of other newer airframes. That argument is full of holes considering the OFS date for Tornado was considerably longer than its actual demise. If it’s good enough for the Germans then it was worth retaining. You don’t throw away a good screwdriver when you buy a powered one.

Andrew
Andrew
11 days ago
Reply to  maurice10

We lost a fair few Tornadoes in Iraq…. That was decades ago…. SAM technology would be leaps and bounds more advanced now…

As for the Germans deploying Tornadoes, I’d maybe say it would have something to do with the readiness/availability (or lack of) for their Eurofighters…

maurice10
maurice10
11 days ago
Reply to  Andrew

Of cause there is attrition but it’s better to lose a Tornado than a Typhoon or F35, if we talking about budgets. As for the fleet being knacker that needs to be proved and I doubt such claims could be proven. It’s all Horlicks putting good aircraft to the cutter’s torch. The Uk has done it for decades especially between the two World Wars, resulting in bugger all come conflict….ring any bells? If I were to dictate policy, there would always be a meaningful reserve for our armed forces, especially when you consider the time it takes to manufacture assets.

Mr Bell
Mr Bell
11 days ago
Reply to  Andrew

Andrew that was first few days of the war and because the RAF tornadoes were tasked with first wave strikes against Iraqi airbases. Using runnway busting cluster munitions. Very high risk attacks performed bravely and effectively. No other aircraft in the desert storm forces could perform thise strikes except perhaps an F117A but those were few in number and assigned C3 targets.

Sean
Sean
10 days ago
Reply to  Andrew

Eurofighters aren’t certified for the B61 free-fall tactical nuclear weapon like the Tornado, that’s why they still fly the latter. Though in the last week they decided to replace them with F35As which are similarly certified.

Sean
Sean
10 days ago
Reply to  maurice10

The Germans are dumping their Tornadoes for F35s. The only reason why they’ve kept them flying this long is that they’re the only aircraft they have that’s certified for carrying nuclear bombs. They’ve been prevaricating for ages what to replace them with and have finally decided to go F35.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
11 days ago
Reply to  Andrew

They took some losses using JP233 so quite high I suspect.

Richard Graham
Richard Graham
11 days ago

During the Gulf war it was widely reported in the popular press that Tornados were shot down by AAA fire and MANPADS during delivery of the JP233 munition, but in fact none of the losses occurred during the attack phase of a JP233 mission. Only one aircraft was lost actually arrying the JP233 when Tornado ZA392 crashed 16 km after delivering the weapon at low level; enemy fire was not reported and it was believed that this was an incident of controlled flight into terrain. Attacks using JP233 were suspended six days into the Gulf War, as the Iraqi Air Force was effectively no… Read more »

Last edited 11 days ago by Richard Graham
Louis
Louis
11 days ago
Reply to  Andrew

Agreed on the tornado, but if tranche 1 typhoons really are still going to be decommissioned we should definitely give them to the US to store in some desert in case shit hits the fan as there still is many typhoon pilots.

maurice10
maurice10
11 days ago
Reply to  Louis

A good point about Tranch1 and placing them in the desert would make eminent sense. Some aircraft can remain airworthy for years in such conditions. Funny how the US believe in reserve assets so there must be some logic in my proposal? The cost of cocooning the Typhoons would be affordable and maintenance could be in the hands of the indigenous staff. Sadly, Whitehall would sell the cenotaph if it wasn’t so firmly planted.

Graham b
Graham b
11 days ago
Reply to  Andrew

This argument has always meant we have fewer and fewer of more expensive machines. If you cannot provide 24 hr cover from all directions the intelligent bad guys will exploit the gaps. OA from ww2 showed that high expensive systems that are often not unavailable are less use than cheaper systems that are. One final point you say that tornado would not stand a chance on low level bombing missions against russian targets. You miss the point these missions can be given to the f35s. The tornados can do the far more numerous less intense mission better and far cheaper… Read more »

Mr Bell
Mr Bell
11 days ago
Reply to  Andrew

Against Russian targets I think the life expectancy would be pretty good. I dont buy the myth of Russian super weapons anymore S300 and S400 has been fully explored and evaluated by IAF and they have respect for these systems but dont find them to be that frightening. The evidence in Ukraine points to a piss poor military that NATO could flatten in a coventional war in a matter of a few weeks.

Robert Blay.
Robert Blay.
11 days ago
Reply to  maurice10

Our Tornados were knackered by 2019. They had flown more hours then German, Italian and Saudi Tornados combined. Fantastic aircraft, still very capable, but we don’t do reserve fleets, it costs to much money that could be spent on the frontline. Tornado will be missed, but Typhoon and F35 provide capabilitys Tornado can’t live with. Money needs to go on new equipment, not the old. 👍

Jim
Jim
11 days ago
Reply to  maurice10

Take a look at the results of Tornado ops during the first gulf War! Manpads, ak47 and good old cfit were taking them down at least 1 a day with the embarrassing result of RAF pilots and navs being paraded daily on TV by Sadam!. Imagine if we had persisted and lost 30 airframes in 30 days ops. We ditched JP233 after about 12 days or so. Never heard of Huntings finest since. No, Tornado low level was always a suicide mission. Best give it up to missiles and drones.

Graham b
Graham b
11 days ago
Reply to  maurice10

I agree defence decisions are far too often taken on peace time efficiency (eg cost cutting and just in time production) than on war time robustness and flexibility.
There is no such thing as sufficient in war time. The more you have of even old systems the fewer deaths and lower likelihood of catastrophic failure.

Andy Poulton
Andy Poulton
11 days ago
Reply to  maurice10

Cost.
Cost of crews and cost of maintenance as spares became harder and harder to source.

IT’s great having numbers but pretty poor if they can’t be maintained in a safe flying configuration and even worse if there aren’t any pilots to fly them

Graham b
Graham b
9 days ago
Reply to  Andy Poulton

The problem is that pilots and spares have been cut even more than the aircraft.
At least the media notices when you cut aircraft, however when you cut spares or qualified crews then you do not tell anybody.

All of the European nato nations have had to cannibalise aircraft even during peacetime flying intensity and few have war stocks.

RobW
RobW
11 days ago
Reply to  maurice10

The decisions to retire Tornado and mk1 Typhoons were sound. Both obsolete and expensive to maintain, with degrading availability. For that matter the decision to buy F35B, and wait for it to be developed before ordering in the required numbers, was also a good one.

Whoever decided not to order additional Typhoon made a bad call though, IMO. I doubt very much we’ll do that now even with a budget increase. The money is probably better spent on ASM for Typhoon and increased mass in other areas, particularly drones and P8s. Plus of course properly funding Tempest.

Monkey spanker
Monkey spanker
11 days ago
Reply to  RobW

Yeah it’s crazy talk to think of keeping the tornado in RAF service now. The costs of keeping 40 tornado GR4 flying today would be massive. 2-3 squadrons worth of people. Needing to make bespoke spares as some stores had been exhausted. Then there is the issue that you have of keeping 1000+ people unable to move onto other roles within the RAF. Every role the tornado did can be done by other systems. So bottom line is what do you not fund to have old worn out GR4s. Now if a cheaper to run, less worn out aircraft was… Read more »

Sean
Sean
10 days ago
Reply to  RobW

Agreed. Tranche 1 Typhoons aren’t upgradable like the T2 and T3.
Every country that bought them has decided to get rid of them, bar Spain which is doing it’s own upgrade on the cheap.

Graham b
Graham b
11 days ago

Another good Article spoilt by the lazy use of yhe word massive without bothering to include the number of aircraft involved. To be massive it has to be several hundred aircraft.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
11 days ago
Reply to  Graham b

Spoilt seems a tad strong? Just ignore the “massive” bit, you can do it. There…that’s better!
Reading the article it looks like less than 20 aircraft. That in itself is no small number though and the massive description would include the ground organisations including AD systems, radar, and the liaison and planning between 7 air forces.

Louis
Louis
11 days ago

20 aircraft could probably destroy the entire Russian army in Ukraine, and originally when writing I was joking, but it’s not even far off, 20 US A10s could probably cause the Russians to retreat from Ukraine.

AlexS
AlexS
11 days ago
Reply to  Louis

Ridiculous, you have no notion what is war.

Airborne
Airborne
11 days ago
Reply to  AlexS

Not so, while Louis comment was a little tongue in cheek, 20 modern, western, well trained and experienced platforms and crews (with a lot more than 80-90 flying hrs PA) could in fact close the airspace over the conflict area in Ukraine, to Russkie air assets. And, many of us have direct notion and experience of war, how about you? Cheers.

Supportive Bloke
Supportive Bloke
10 days ago
Reply to  Airborne

I would tend to agree that 20 modern aircraft with a full suite of backup such intel and ISTAR would pick off Mad Vlad’s tanks at will. In the parade to Kiev, it would have been a total Turkey shoot with 20 Typhoons with 12 ATM’s going in per day in 4 waves with F35 over watch. That would be an attrition rate if 240 vehicles per day….. I don’t think moral would take that kind of bartering. I’m sure we would do it nicely blipping one tank every few minutes so the crews would be hiding in the vegetation… Read more »

Airborne
Airborne
10 days ago

Total agreement from me SB👍

Graham b
Graham b
9 days ago

Unfortunately the typhoon is not a particularly good tank buster. It is a Air Defence fighter that can carry bombs. The F35 is a bomber but carries only a few bombs because of stealth. The true tank killer was the cluster bomb which cannot be carried by any RAF aircraft. Each aircraft can only fly once or twice a day and the targets and SAMs will fire back. Even in the first gulf the average number of tanks killed per sortie was about 1. What most people forget in that war was that there were thousands of sorties open terrain… Read more »

Supportive Bloke
Supportive Bloke
9 days ago
Reply to  Graham b

I have ready what you posted below about you background: which is very interesting. What you are saying about GW1 etc doesn’t, I am afraid, carry over to the present technology(ies). The present tank busting missiles essentially just need to be dropped in approximately the right place and a valid target zone identified. Then they set to work, in a manner not too dissimilarly to NLAWS with their own target identification and attack profiles. That is a lot of a simplification but we have seen the 90% hit-to-kill ratio of NLAWS so I’m able to believe that the aerial weapons… Read more »

Graham b
Graham b
9 days ago
Reply to  Airborne

No please read my earlier comment. FYI. I was a senior analyst in Bosnia 1996 and Kosovo 1999 and chief analyst for SE Iraq 2003 and Chief Analyst ISAF in Afghanistan 2006/7. So i have a little credibility.
I am a long term advocate of advisers being properly trained in the mathematics of air warfare. Unfortunately too many people are fooled by the top trumps view of air warfare and the 2 vs 2 fallacy.
Air power is a numbers game!

Graham b
Graham b
9 days ago
Reply to  Louis

No you are thinking of the first gulf war where the terrain was open, the enemy
was not mixed with civilians or friendlies the enemy inept, we still had cluster weapons and we deployed 1000s of bombing sorties.

Now we have the opposite of the above. Plus an intense multi layered SAM system.

The effect of the 20 aircraft on this exercise would not change much.

Mr Bell
Mr Bell
11 days ago

20 aircraft is a massive formation compared to Putins raping, castrating, looting, mass murdering joke of an armed forces. The Russians only ever send 2 to 4 aircraft into action at a time. Have zero expertise in a tactical air campaign and even 24 relatively dated NATO aircraft (these arent F22s, F35s, Typhoons, B1/B2s or F15EX) would be able to prosecute and defeat almost any Russian target or airforce formation (only 4 at a time)

Graham b
Graham b
9 days ago

Annual Nato Northern Banner Exercise in the 1990s included 140 bombing sorties per day. These were intercepted by 50 plus fighters. Then you can add all of the tankers and Awacs on both sides.That was massive!

20 aircraft is minuscule.
The fallacy that 20 aircraft is impressive is an example of George Orwells Animal Farm’s theory that people can easily be fooled be continually modification of the norm.

AlexS
AlexS
11 days ago
Reply to  Graham b

Agreed. Unfortunately is now what journalism is. Overhype almost everything.

Monkey spanker
Monkey spanker
11 days ago
Reply to  Graham b

I don’t think massive is misleading. It’s 7 different countries all contributing to an aircraft exercise. No one else in the world can do this. To be 100’s of aircraft it would have to be a red flag type event. Most of the countries listed don’t even have 100 aircraft total.
My thoughts why aren’t the RAF typhoons taking part. I thought they were in Romania and another bunch in Cyprus.

AlexS
AlexS
10 days ago
Reply to  Monkey spanker

So what term you would use for 40, for 100, for 200?

Graham b
Graham b
9 days ago
Reply to  AlexS

It depends on the types and numbers of sorties but 40 is large, 100 is very large and 200 is massive.

Steve M
Steve M
10 days ago

I saw 2 Phoons get trailed out to Akt on Thursday, Voyager fm Bzn took off flew SW circled once over Glastonbury waiting for 1 phoons frm Con and did 2nd waiting for 1 fm LOS both phoons went of ADSB after joining up Voyager then went SSE down across Malta at 27k turned round just east of island and climbed/sped up and flew back to BRZ at 40k basically trailed 2 chicks did final tanker to get them to Akt then went home? guess if they are replacing frames another will either go to Akt an trail them back… Read more »