March 28, 2022 2.30 pm

Typhoon jets from RAF Coningsby join NATO mission in Romania

Nato’s Air Policing mission for the Black Sea region

Four Typhoon jets from the 3 (Fighter Squadron) normally based at RAF Coningsby have been deployed to Romania to join the long-standing NATO Air Policing mission for the Black Sea region.

The jets will conduct the NATO Air Policing mission – Operation Biloxi – from Mihail Kogalniceanu Air Base on the Romanian Black Sea coast.

Operation Biloxi is the British name for the mission and it is the fourth time since 2017 that the RAF have conducted it. This deployment is in addition to long-standing continuous missions undertaken by NATO Allies across the Eastern Flank.

The mission is supported by 150 RAF personnel based at RAF Wittering, who form the headquarters of an Expeditionary Air Wing (EAW). The personnel recently had training at RAF Leeming’s Operational Training Centre.

Air policing is a purely defensive operation and a permanent NATO mission which began in 1961 during the Cold War. The mission ensures the security and integrity of all NATO Alliance member’s airspaces.

Airspace is monitored by operation centres and where it is assessed that an interception is required, NATO aircraft can be scrambled as part of a Quick Reaction Alert. The UK supports Romania by augmenting its own capabilities.

The RAF deployment to Romania has been supported by personnel from No 1 Expeditionary Logistics Squadron and No 2 Mechanical Transport Squadron. It is part of the RAF Support Force formed in 2020

Both squadrons have prepared and transported equipment and supplies to maintain and sustain the Typhoon jets during the mission.

James Heappey, Minister for the Armed Forces, said: “The UK remains committed to NATO and European security in the face of Russian aggression and the unprovoked invasion of Ukraine.

“Operation Biloxi is a long-standing NATO mission and the Royal Air Force are playing a central role in security and deterrence in Europe.”

Air Vice-Marshal Phil Robinson, Officer Commanding 11 Group, said: “The arrival of our personnel and equipment in the region highlights the RAF’s continued commitment and contribution to the NATO Air Policing mission in Romania.

“During the deployment, we will be working alongside our Romanian and other NATO partners, enabling the delivery of the mission and protecting and reassuring our allies, whilst building confidence and maintaining deterrence.”