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Romanian Air Force F-16s Swiftly Intercept Potential Threats, Ensuring Baltic Airspace Security

On April 7, 2023, two F-16 fighter jets from the Romanian Air Force (RoAF) participating in NATO’s Baltic Air Policing mission were deployed to identify and accompany two Russian Suhoi Su-27 Flanker fighters. Just six days into their role at ┼áiauliai Air Base in Lithuania, the Romanian F-16 jets were promptly scrambled by the Combined Air Operations Centre Uedem, Germany, in response to an aerial incident over the Baltic Sea within international airspace.

“The successful completion of our inaugural scramble task as part of the enhanced Air Policing mission in the Baltic States demonstrates the exemplary preparedness of our ‘Carpathian Vipers’ detachment in ensuring airspace security, and showcases the Romanian Air Force’s ability to deploy and employ our F-16 aircraft effectively in NATO operations,” stated Colonel Cosmin Vlad, the commander of the F-16 detachment.

A group of two unidentified aircraft was detected flying over international waters within NATO’s jurisdiction, without providing identification or establishing communication with civilian Air Traffic Control agencies. Adhering to standard Alliance procedures, the Romanian Air Force (RoAF) F-16 jets were immediately scrambled, leading to the subsequent identification of the two Russian Air Force Suhoi Su-27 Flanker jets.

After professionally executing the interception and identification maneuvers, the NATO jets safely escorted the Russian aircraft back to Šiauliai Air Base.

The Romanian Air Force, alongside the Portuguese F-16 detachment, conducts Air Policing sorties, effectively securing the NATO skies over Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania as part of the collective Baltic Air Policing mission. Both detachments assumed their responsibilities for the 62nd rotation of Allied fighters executing this mission on April 1, 2023.

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