On March 31, the Spanish Air Force detachment operating their Eurofighter aircraft alongside the Romanian Air Force under NATO enhanced Air Policing completed their mission. During this time, the Spanish from 11th Wing at Morón de la Frontera, Seville, have flown nearly 400 sorties under the operational command of the Spanish Operations Command. The aircraft and their pilots have performed training missions together with Romanian Air Force F-16 and MiG-21 fighter aircraft. They contributed airpower during two NATO naval exercises and performed alert missions under the control of the Allied Combined Air Operations Centre at Torrejón (CAOC TJ).
“My team deployed here in Romania to execute NATO’s enhanced Air Policing mission successfully completed their deployment today demonstrating the flexibility and interoperability of the Alliance forces,” said Lieutenant Colonel José Enrique Hernández Medel, Commander of the Spanish Detachment. “130 men and women of my detachment have worked tirelessly to ensure the operational readiness of the Eurofighters for the NATO mission. Six Eurofighters of the Spanish Air Force landed in Constanta, Romania, on January 25, with the intention of enhancing the surveillance and defence of the airspace on the Black Sea shore. Today, after two months, the mission is over, and we have more than fulfilled the goals set.” he added.
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.
NATO members are authorized 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. Since 2014, Baltic Air Policing has been continuously augmented as part of the Assurance Measures by a second detachment, based at Ämari, Estonia. In the South, Romania’s and Bulgaria’s national Air Policing capabilities are and have been temporarily augmented by detachments from various Allied Air Forces. Whilst these nations are fully capable of conducting Air Policing operations on their own, aircraft and pilots of augmenting detachments can also be scrambled to conduct intercepts.