Royal Air Force Eurofighter Typhoonss on Quick Reaction Alert based in Romania with 121 Expeditionary Air Wing have scrambled to intercept a Russian fighter flying in International Airspace over the Black Sea. Operating out of the Romanian Mihail Kogalniceanu Air Base near Constanta on the Black Sea coast, RAF Typhoons on the NATO Enhanced Air Policing mission scrambled on 17th August as the Russian aircraft was detected entering the Bucharest Flight Information Region and heading towards Romanian territorial airspace.
Responding to the Quick Reaction Alert scramble call one of the RAF Typhoon Pilots: “When the unidentified, though suspected Russian aircraft entered the Romanian Flight Information Region we were scrambled to carry out a visual identification. We were airborne within minutes and heading towards the track; it wasn’t long before we intercepted the aircraft and identified it as a Russian SU-24 Fencer. It had flown no closer than 20 miles from the Romanian coast before we intercepted it. We shadowed it until it left the Flight Information Region heading North East. We then resumed our combat air patrol mission and returned to base.”
“Every time we scramble to intercept unidentified aircraft in support of the enhanced Air Policing mission we are demonstrating our steadfast commitment to NATO by helping to secure NATO airspace in the Black Sea region and reassure our Romanian allies,” Wing Commander Lamping Commanding Officer 121 Expeditionary Air Wing said.
As with many Russian Military sorties the aircraft had not filed a Flight plan and was not speaking with Romanian Air Traffic Control so making it a flight safety hazard to all air users. Alongside other NATO Allies that have been carrying out this mission on a rolling basis since 2017, the UK has been providing Quick Reaction Alert assistance to enhance the Air Policing carried out by the Romanian Air Force’s own fleet of fast-jet aircraft since May. Romania is equipped with MiG -21LanceR and the American built F-16 aircraft. Wing Commander Lamping the Commanding Officer of 121 Expeditionary Air Wing was operating out of the Romanian air base.