The Royal Air Force has started to move personnel and equipment in preparation for a NATO Air Policing mission in Romania.
Personnel from No 1 Expeditionary Logistics Squadron and No 2 Mechanical Transport Squadron have been preparing and transporting the equipment and supplies needed to sustain the Typhoon jets that will be deploying to carry out the NATO enhanced Air Policing mission in the Black Sea region this summer, say the Royal Air Force.
According to the Royal Air Force website:
“The RAF NATO mission is known by its military name as Operation Biloxi and is the first major operation for the newly formed RAF Support Force, of which the A4 Force Elements are a part. They bring together most of the capabilities and skills needed to sustain modern air operations and exercises, including Specialist engineering, logistics, advanced military communications, tactical medical services and the mountain rescue team.”
In addition to the RAF Wittering based units, personnel from RAF Coningsby and RAF Lossiemouth have also been preparing and despatching equipment to Romania.
According to NATO, the ‘Enhanced Air Policing’ is undertaken in response to Russia:
“NATO takes its responsibility to ensure integrity, safety and security of its airspace very seriously. For member nations that do not have the necessary air capabilities, agreements exist to ensure a single standard of security across European NATO airspace. Enhanced Air Policing is part of NATO’s Assurance Measures introduced in 2014, after Russia’s illegal and illegitimate annexation of the Crimean peninsula. The Alliance implemented these Assurance Measures with the goal to demonstrate the collective resolve of Allies, demonstrate the defensive nature of NATO and deter Russia from aggression or the threat of aggression against NATO Allies.
They are flexible and scalable in response to fluctuations in the security situation facing the Alliance and send a strong, unambiguous message to the public. As part of these Assurance Measures, NATO’s Air Policing mission is enhanced across two Implementation Areas. NATO members are authorised and encouraged to provide additional assets to the Alliance supplementing existing Baltic Air Policing capabilities in the northern Implementation Area and, in parallel, augmenting national Air Policing capabilities in the southern Implementation Area.”