State Secretary Simona Cojocaru, head of the Department for Defence Policy, Planning and International Relations, and the deputy head of the Defence General Staff, Lieutenant General Vasile Toader, participated on Thursday, at the southeastern Mihail Kogalniceanu 57th Air Force Base, in the ceremony for NATO certification of the detachment of Royal Air Force (RAF) in view of executing the service of enhanced Air Policing.
“The strategic partnership between Romania and the United Kingdom is solid and powerful. Today, the United Kingdom is contributing once more to strengthening the security of Romania, but also of the Black Sea region. The participation of the Royal Air Force in the air policing missions this year, on Romanian territory – the third mission of its kind after the ones in 2017 and 2018, but also the announced intention to participate in the mission next year shows the commitment supported by the United Kingdom for our region. Your presence his is not an exercise. It represents the essence of our discouragement and defence posture that demonstrates unity and solidarity,” said State Secretary Simona Cojocaru, quoted in a Ministry of National Defence (MApN) release.
In his turn, the ambassador of the United Kingdom in Bucharest, Andrew Noble stated, during the ceremony that such air policing missions constitute the guarantee that we will be able to counteract any aggression or threat targeting us.
Lieutenant General Vasile Toader addressed the 200 servicemen (pilots and technical staff) who make up the British detachment.
“I addressed the invitation to the British allies that during their mission in our country they participate in the exercises we have planned for the months of May and June which target increasing interoperability and prove the multi-domain commitment of forces, as well as the invitation to allot time to discover the wealth of national culture and the beauty of places and to enjoy Romanian hospitality,” said the deputy head of the Defence General Staff.
Present at the ceremony on behalf of the NATO Air Command in Ramstein, Germany, Air Commodore Jason Appleton, the deputy head of General Staff, welcomed the British servicemen and bid them good fortune in fulfilling the enhanced Air Policing mission together with Romanian servicemen, as part of the measures of the North Atlantic Alliance for discouragement and defence on NATO’s Eastern Flank.
The British detachment, formed of nearly 200 servicemen (pilots and technical staff), with four Eurofighter Typhoon craft, will execute enhanced Air Policing missions under NATO command in the next four months, together with Romanian Air Force servicemen operating F-16 Fighting Falcons and MiG-21 LanceR.
The RAF mission is the third of its kind at Mihail Kogalniceanu run by the Royal Air Force, after similar missions in 2017 and 2018.
The Air Policing missions run jointly contribute to the development of reaction and discouragement capacities, as well as to consolidate interoperability between the Romanian Air Force and the Royal Air Force, proving involvement and determination in the context of challenges generated by the COVID-19 pandemic.