On July 1, 2022, the Italian Air Force Eurofighters completed their deployment to Romania in support of NATO’s enhanced Air Policing (eAP) in the south; they are scheduled to continue their Allied mission in the North in Poland beginning in August 2022. After reaching Full Operational Capability in early December, eAP South operations began with four Eurofighter EF-2000A aircraft; command and control of the Italian fighter jets was transferred to NATO’s Allied Air Command in Ramstein, Germany, acting via its southern Combined Air Operations Centre at Torrejón, Spain.
“Italy’s operation to strengthen Air Policing on NATO’s eastern flank in Romanian airspace began in December 2021 with the establishment of the Task Force Air – Romania (TFA-R) “Black Storm” at Mihail Kog?lniceanu Air Base in Constanta. It ended today after seven months of securing the skies in the region with our Romanian colleagues. When the detachment handed over the eAP mission in Romania to the Royal Air Force Typhoons in April, the Italian Eurofighters’ mission changed to the so-called enhanced Vigilance Activity (eVA)” said, TFA-R Commander Colonel Roberto Losengo.
In response to Russia’s actions in Ukraine, NATO decided – at the end of February 2022 – to implement additional reassurance measures fostering a persistent and strengthened posture of deterrence and defence at the Alliance’s eastern borders. Italy immediately doubled the air assets employed by TFA-R. The TFA was composed of about 160 military personnel mostly from the Italian Air Force. In these seven months, the Italian Eurofighters achieved about 1,400 flight hours, generating over seven hundred sorties, more than half of them flown as eVA Combat Air Patrol missions, and about 50 alert scrambles.
The Eurofighters and crews that participated in the operations in Romania came from all Italian Air Force Wings employing this fighter jet. In parallel to the main mission, a high degree of interoperability with Alliance air assets deployed in the area has been achieved. In addition to Quick Reaction Alert (QRA) duty jointly executed with German Eurofighters in April, the TFA held Personnel Recovery and Slow Mover Interceptor exercises with Romanian and U.S. air forces and carried out more joint activities with the French and Romanian Navy, and, finally, flew Close Air Support missions for Belgian, French, Romanian and U.S. Army contingents. The Italian Typhoons will continue executing NATO’s eAP operations in Poland at the beginning of August.