Four German Eurofighter jets, supported by 150 personnel, will fly from Romania under a Nato banner to reinforce the border with Ukraine, Nato’s Allied Air Command announced on 24 November.

The aim is to police a boundary that has seen a flurry of recent drone incursions during the full-scale invasion by Russia.

“After the recent drone incidents, Germany deploys Eurofighters to Constanta,” said the German Air Chief Lieutenant General Ingo Gerhartz. “This support for our Romanian friends goes without saying. The German Air Force is wherever it is needed.”

The mission is to prevent potential airspace violations along the Romania-Ukraine border. On constant alert, the German Eurofighters will collaborate with the Romanian Air Force’s F-16s and a French surface-based air defence system to provide integrated air defence. 

Reuters reported on 30 September a possible breach of Romanian airspace by Russian drones during an overnight attack against Ukrainian infrastructure, after fragment of Russian drones were found on three separate occasions that month. The BBC reported on 13 September that Romanian civilians living near the border with Ukraine were told to shelter from Russian drones as it hit Ukrainian ports along the river Danube.

Greater Eurofighter integration

The jets arrived in Romania on 22 November after a brief stint in Estonia supporting Nato’s Air Policing mission with quick reaction alert missions in collaboration with Spanish Eurofighters. The missions contribute to an overall goal of increasing integration between Eurofighter fleets, including with Nato Allies in Italy, Spain an the United Kingdom.

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“The Alliance and its members are capable of swiftly deploying additional assets to the eastern flank to protect people and territory against potential threats,” said Group Captain Michael Carver, acting Deputy Chief of Staff Operations at Allied Air Command, Germany. “The close integration within Nato Air and Space Power helps us accomplish this mission afforded to us by the Washington treaty almost 75 years ago – collective security.” 

The deployments to Estonia and Romania are part of Germany’s Plug & Fight programme aimed at increasing fighter interoperability that has seen the first mixed Spanish-German quick reaction mission above the Baltic Sea. In a prior mission in 2019 German Eurofighters flew alongside British Typhoons in Estonia, and later mixed formations used each others ground support equipment in 2020.