Two RAF Typhoons along with two RoAF MiG-21 LanceRs intercepted a Romanian C-27J aircraft. The cargo plane was not a threat: it was carring the media to the NATO certification ceremony for the RAF detatchment in Romania.
|Two Romanian MiG-21 LanceR jets intercept a C-27J over Romania.|
On April 27, 2018, a Romanian C-27J took off from the 90th Otopeni airlift base to carry media rapresentatives to the NATO certification ceremony in Mihail Kogalniceanu air base. During its route the cargo plane was intercepted by two RAF Typhoons along with two Romanian MiG-21 LanceRs to showcase to the journalists the maneuvers usually performed to intercept a threat (See the videos at the bottom). The fighters flanked and forced the C-27 to land at Mihail Air Base. This drill is a standard procedure for Allied air forces and may typically occur during NATO Air Policing, a 24/7 peacetime mission executed to safeguard the airspace of all Allies.
The ceremony completes a three day process in which the detachment’s pilots and personnel had to undergo safety briefings, conduct familiarization flights and ensure interoperability with their Romanian hosts and colleagues. The four RAF Typhoon combat aircraft arrived at Mihail Kogalniceanu Air Base on April 23. Allied Air Command, NATO’s authority for all Integrated Air and Missile Defence matters, delegates the responsibility for the certification process to Combined Air Operations Centre Torrejon. As southern command and control unit for Air Policing, it is responsible for all NATO airspace south of the Alps, including Romania.
While the Romanian Air Force is fully capable of protecting its airspace, enhanced Air Policing (eAP) is part of NATO’s Assurance Measures, implemented after Russia’s illegal and illegitimate annexation of the Crimean peninsula in 2014. Allies’ augmentation of Romania’s own Air Policing capabilities sends a clear message of NATO’s resolve, commitment and solidarity to its Eastern Allies. Romania has successfully and professionally conducted its own Air Policing under NATO control and standards since its accession in 2004.
Besides conducting NATO’s Air Policing mission at home, the RAF has also previously deployed Typhoons to the Baltic States in recent years to protect NATO airspace in the region. This is the second time RAF Typhoon aircraft fly sorties and training missions alongside the Romanian MiG-21 fighters showcasing Allied solidarity, commitment and capability.
Written by Matteo Sanzani
Images and Videos: Simona Zanetti and Matteo Sanzani