Royal Air Force and Royal Navy personnel have been taking part in a maritime exercise with NATO allies in the Black Sea, led by the Romanian Navy Fleet Command.

Squadron Leader Roger Cruickshank, a pilot from 135 Expeditionary Air Wing (EAW), who flew a sortie from Mihail Kogalniceanu Air Base over the Black Sea under the control of a Royal Navy Type 45 destroyer, said:

“The Exercise started by joining up with two Romanian Air Force MIG21s, then flying overhead HMS Duncan in close formation.

This was a fantastic symbol of how we are closely working together with our NATO allies and a historic moment as part of Exercise Sea Shield.  I was controlled by HMS Duncan, who used her sophisticated systems to maintain full awareness of my position and simulated enemy aircraft trying to attack the ship.”

The Commanding Officer of 135 Expeditionary Air Wing, Wing Commander Chris Ball, was invited by the Romanian Fleet Command to attend the opening ceremony and formal reception at Constanta port.  According to a press release, at the opening ceremony Wg Cdr Ball said:

“Exercise Sea Shield will be an invaluable training opportunity for us. We will be collaborating in to provide air power within a maritime exercise.  135 EAW personnel will work alongside military personnel from a diverse range of nations and forces within NATO.  Together, we will enhance the mutual understanding between air, land and maritime within the Black Sea, reinforcing the UK commitment to the alliance and our ability to effectively contribute to NATO collective defence.”

“I’d like to emphasise the importance of Exercise Sea Shield. This year we are delighted to see such a diverse mixture of multinational forces participating, NATO has provided a partnership under which we can maintain the security and stability of all our nations. I thank all the nations that will be participating, this is an opportunity for us all to work together, ensuring NATO readiness is upheld and proving that NATO is both a credible and efficient alliance.” – VICE ADMIRAL ALEXANDRU MIRSU Chief of the Romanian Naval Forces.


  1. Exquisite kit. Typhoon and type 45. Just wish we had more of them.
    We are lacking in numbers.
    Putin knows without the USA Europe would quickly be ground down. Attritional loses like the Falklands do not seem to factor into MOD or governmental force levels.
    No one seems to consider a destroyer, frigate or submarine or 2 could be sunk. Then where would we be?
    No reserves.

    • I agree. Russia could penetrate deep into Europe if it chose to attack through the Balkans but it would be stopped. Air superiority is a given and even the European numbers and kit are far superior not to mention when the Americans join the dance. In light of all this their numbers would quickly become meaningless. I wouldn’t underestimate Poland’s capabilities to wage a conventional war either.

      The ugly truth is that no European country could go at it alone anymore. The costs of running a modern military operation are so demanding that further cooperation is inevitable if we are to remain a significant actor.

      Brexit has already made the UK poorer and growth rates are also down constantly since the vote paralised and divided this great country. I also think in light of recent American foreign polcy choices the UK will further drift from the US.

      We are living turbulent times and in my opinion some soft power should now be shifted back towards real hardware and equipment ( what I mean is slash foreign aid and remove Trident from MoD budget ). I think it is crucial that the country retains its defence industry and he Royal Navy is further built up. As an island nation a relatively small but well equipped land force is sufficient if supported by proper reserves but it would be a grave mistake to let the RAF and the RN further deteriorate.

      I also believe that Brexit or not, UK industries will benefit from the coming rearmament of Europe. Contrary to what some would believe on the continent the UK is seen as close allies despite all what is happening.

  2. CEC and MADL are now critical for all our major assets.

    A T31 becomes a far. Better solution if it has CEC – does this come at a price, yes but for me that price is worth it.

    Typhoon and T45 should both get further investment in my opinion, as both are very impressive.


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