Four Italian Air Force Eurofighter Typhoon jets touched down at Mihail Kogalniceanu Air Base, Romania, and six Spanish Air Force F-18s landed at Fetesti Air Base, Romania, on November 25, to continue NATO’s enhanced Air Policing mission securing the Black Sea coast. The Italian fighter jets will be flying alongside Romanian fighters from December 2022 to the end of July 2023; dubbed Task Force Air Romania (TFA-R) “Gladiator” the detachment is comprised of personnel and aircraft of the Italian Air Force Eurofighter Wings 4, 36, 37 and 51. Spanish F-18 fighter jets also deployed to Romania on November 25. They landed at Fetesti Air Base and the detachment will conduct enhanced Air Policing and support Alliance enhanced Vigilance Activities and work with the Romanian and Italian Air Force securing the skies in the next four months.
“By deploying Italian fighters, the Alliance demonstrates a reliable, robust and effective capability for the NATO Air Policing and NATO Air Shielding missions along the eastern flank. Our national contribution in Romania underlines the Alliance’s ability to resolve and to adapt swiftly to any changes in the international security environment, by defending every inch of NATO territory,” said Colonel Michele Morelli, Italian Task Force Air “Gladiator” Commander.
NATO started conducting enhanced Air Policing out of the Mihail Kogalniceanu Air Base near Constan?a on the Black Sea Coast in 2014 following Russia’s illegal annexation of Crimea. Ever since, Allied fighter detachments have augmented the collective Air Policing posture in Northern and Southern Allies on the eastern flank ensuring population and deterring potential aggression. Italy has regularly supported this mission both in the North and the South underscoring its commitment to NATO collective defence and enhancing its interoperability with Allied air forces.
NATO Air Policing is a peacetime mission, which aims to preserve the security of Alliance airspace. It is a collective task and involves the continuous presence – 24 hours a day, 365 days a year – of fighter aircraft and crews, which are ready to react quickly to possible airspace violations. Established in 1961 during the Cold War, NATO Air Policing has been an integral part of NATO Integrated Air and Missile Defence (IAMD) for 60 years. On duty 24/7/365, NATO Air Policing is a constant in a rapidly changing security environment, giving NATO the capability to preserve the integrity of Alliance airspace in peacetime.