RAF Typhoons practice intercept of B-52 Bombers as part of NATO air policing mission

RAF Typhoon alongside a USAF B-52H over Romania. Courtesy of MOD. UK Crown Copyright.

Typhoon jets from RAF Lossiemouth in Scotland have been conducting various operations and training exercises in Romania as part of NATO’s air policing mission.

The four RAF Typhoons arrived in Romania in April to take part in the NATO enhanced Air Policing (eAP) mission this summer. They are based out of Mihail Kogalniceanu airbase on the Black Sea coast near Constanta.

This week they carried out a practice scramble to intercept the two United States Air Force B-52H Stratofortress long-range bombers that were transiting through Romanian airspace.

The pilots and jets of IX(B) Squadron are well versed in Quick Reaction Alert (QRA) activities and are “complementing” the Romanian QRA force which is equipped with MiG -21LanceR and American built F-16s.

Wing Commander Batt, Officer Commanding IX (Bomber) Squadron described it as a successful mission with allies in the region.

“These training sorties provide us with a valuable test of our preparedness and is a visible demonstration of our ability to integrate effectively with our NATO allies.”

The RAF’s 121 Expeditionary Air Wing, currently deployed to Romania is responsible until September 2021 for supporting the Romanian Air Force in the protection of its airspace as part of NATO’s enhanced Air Policing mission.

The Typhoons from the 121 Expeditionary Air Wing also recently carried out a Close Air Support training mission with NATO Joint Terminal Attack Controllers (JTAC) teams from the US Air Force and the Italian Army.

JTACs speak directly to pilots. Courtesy of MOD/UK Crown Copyright

JTACs direct the actions of combat aircraft when they engaged in Close Air Support and other offensive air operations from a forward position. The exercise allowed the US and Italian JTACs to practice their skills with another NATO ally by speaking directly to the RAF pilots in the cockpit and to guide them to their targets on the ground, according to the RAF.

US Air Force Technical Sergeant Palmer added: “While simulators can be fantastic training, no one can replicate a pilot flying better than an actual pilot. Working with personnel from other nations gives me more of a worldwide perspective and helps build relations for future events. It also allows me to see the differences in techniques that other nations use, helping to improve our combined workflow during training and missions.”

This is the third time the RAF has been deployed to Romania as part of NATO’s enhanced Air Policing (eAP) of the Black Sea region.

About Anttoni James Numminen 16 Articles
Anttoni is a freelance journalist and aviation enthusiast based in Scotland. You can usually find him on Twitter discussing current affairs, aviation and occasionally politics @A_James_Esq.