RAF Typhoons intercept Russian Su-30
RAF Typhoons intercept Russian Su-30 Flankers.

On 21 August jets of the Royal Air Force, currently based in Romania under NATO’s enhanced Air Policing mission, were launched in response to two Russian Su-30 Flanker aircraft operating near NATO airspace over the Black Sea.

The Russian Federation Air Force jets departed from Mainland Russia and flew over the Black Sea toward the Romanian coastline. Their transponders were not activated, nor did they have a flight plan or talk to Civilian Air Traffic Control. NATO’s southern Combined Air Operations Centre at Torrejon, Spain launched the RAF jets from their temporary home base at Mihail Kogalniceanu, Romania to monitor the situation in the air. At around 12:30, after the successful completion of their mission, the RAF Typhoons returned to Mihail Kogalniceanu.

One of the Typhoon pilots from 1(Fighter) Squadron, attached to 135 Expeditionary Air Wing, said: "Everything went as planned with both of us, launching and heading east towards the two contacts. We had radar contact and shadowed the two aircraft as they flew through the Romanian Flight Information Region, but we never got within visual range to see them. It was a successful Operational mission, we achieved exactly what the UK Typhoons from 1(Fighter) Squadron are expected to do as part of 135 Expeditionary Air Wing and the NATO enhanced Air Policing mission.”

Air Policing is a 24/7 peacetime mission safeguarding the integrity of all NATO members’ airspace. Enhanced Air Policing is part of NATO’s Assurance Measures introduced in 2014. At the time the Alliance started implementing 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. The Royal Air Force is currently augmenting the Romanian Air Force, showing their solidarity with NATO member Romania and their commitment to a strong and secure Alliance. In September, after the end of the United Kingdom’s rotation, Canada is going to be the next NATO member to send fighter jets to Romania under the enhanced Air Policing mission, augmenting the Romanian Air Force and securing the skies over the country.

Source, Image: Allied Air Command Public Affairs Office

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