The United Kingdom is to begin its deployment of Eurofighter Typhoon combat aircraft to Romania in May, the defence minister said on 27 March.
Defence Secretary Michael Fallon confirmed the timing of the Royal Air Force (RAF) deployment that was first announced by the Ministry of Defence (MoD) in November 2016.
Four Typhoons from 3 (Fighter) Squadron will fly from their homestation of RAF Coningsby in Lincolnshire to Mihail Kogalniceanu Airbase in southeast Romania, where they will remain through to September. During their deployment, the Typhoons will patrol the Black Sea region under the auspices of NATO's Southern Air Policing mission. As noted by the MoD, the UK is the first nation to provide aircraft to this NATO mission.
Quick Reaction Alert (QRA) Typhoons typically fly with two 2,000 litre drop-tanks (although this option will likely not be needed for Romania), four Advanced Short Range Air-to-Air Missiles (ASRAAMs), four AIM-120 Advanced Medium Range Air-to-Air Missiles (AMRAAMs), and an internal Mauser BK-27 27 mm cannon.
Further to NATO's Southern Air Policing mission, the US Air Force (USAF) recently flew a pair of Boeing F-15C Eagles out of Bulgaria to help augment that country's MiG-29 'Fulcrum' fighters. The joint US-Bulgarian patrols were also flown as part of wider measures to reassure the alliance member nations of Eastern Europe.
NATO air policing missions in Europe currently cover Albania; the Baltic states; the BENELUX nations of Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg; Iceland; and Slovenia. These sit under the oversight and guidance of Allied Air Command (AIRCOM) at Ramstein in Germany, with two Combined Air Operations Centres (CAOCs) at Uedem in Germany and Torrejon in Spain executing the missions.
With Uedem in Germany covering northern Europe above the Alps, Torrejon in Spain is responsible for southern Europe below the Alps (including the Black Sea and the Mediterranean).
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