On March 31, the Spanish Air Force detachment operating their Eurofighter aircraft alongside the Romanian Air Force under NATO enhanced Air Policing completed their mission.
“My team deployed here in Romania to execute NATO’s enhanced Air Policing mission successfully completed their deployment today, demonstrating the flexibility and interoperability of the Alliance forces,” said Lieutenant Colonel José Enrique Hernández Medel, Commander of the Spanish Detachment. “130 men and women of my detachment have worked tirelessly to ensure the operational readiness of the Eurofighters for the NATO mission,” he added.
“Six Eurofighters of the Spanish Air Force landed in Constanta, Romania, on January 25, with the intention of enhancing the surveillance and defence of the airspace on the Black Sea shore,” Lieutenant Colonel Medel said. “Today, after two months, the mission is over, and we have more than fulfilled the goals set. This sends a clear message of cohesion and solidarity among the member countries of the North Atlantic Alliance. It also proves Spain’s strong commitment to international security and NATO,” he concluded.
During this time, the Spanish from 11th Wing at Morón de la Frontera, Seville, have flown nearly 400 sorties under the operational command of the Spanish Operations Command. The aircraft and their pilots have performed training missions together with Romanian Air Force F-16 and MiG-21 fighter aircraft. They contributed airpower during two NATO naval exercises and performed alert missions under the control of the Allied Combined Air Operations Centre at Torrejón.
“The tactical and operational experience accumulated during these two months on the Allied mission is enormous and provides a great benefit for the employment of the Eurofighter,” said Lieutenant Colonel Medel. “Operating in a deployed mode with meteorological, geographical and strategic conditions that differ so much from the usual ones for the unit force the constant revision of techniques, tactics and procedures that result in updating and improving the system,” he added.
“NATO has been continuously performing the Air Policing mission in the airspace of Allied countries for 60 years. This ensures security and is one of the reasons why Europe enjoys the longest period of peace in the continent’s history,” said Lieutenant Colonel Medel. “The enhanced Air Policing mission is a continuation of NATO’s collective defense plans aimed at deterrence through permanent presence and transparency of its operations. The success achieved during this enhanced Air Policing rotation is a further sign of the Allies’ efforts and their firm commitment to collective defense,” he added.
This is the eighth time that Spanish Air Force fighter aircraft have participated in NATO Air Policing missions outside their borders. Although this is their main task in their home bases, deployments are always an important challenge and an opportunity for improvement.
“Interaction with other forces, the joint and combined training and the need for coordination with other armed forces enriches the units by providing new perspectives that open the door to different solutions,” concluded Lieutenant Colonel Medel.