Nato is set to deploy its E-3 airborne warning and control system (AWACS) aircraft to Romania to strengthen the alliance’s defence posture in the eastern flank.

Scheduled to arrive in Romania on 17 January, the aircraft will continue this surveillance mission over the next several weeks.

The surveillance jets belong to a fleet of 14 Nato aircraft from the alliance’s airbase in Geilenkirchen, Germany.

Apart from AWACS aircraft, a team of around 180 military personnel will also support the surveillance operation in Romania.

The troops and aircraft will be based at a Romanian Air Force base in Otopeni near Bucharest, Romania, throughout the mission.

During this deployment period, the E-3 AWACS aircraft will carry out various reconnaissance sorties, specifically above the alliance’s territory, over the next few days.

The aircraft will primarily perform air surveillance duties to monitor the activities of the Russian armed forces in the region.

Nato spokesperson Oana Lungescu said: “As Russia’s illegal war in Ukraine continues to threaten peace and security in Europe, there must be no doubt about Nato’s resolve to protect and defend every inch of allied territory.

“Our AWACS can detect aircraft hundreds of kilometres away, making them a key capability for Nato’s deterrence and defence posture. I thank Romania for hosting the aircraft, which makes an important contribution to our early warning.”

The upcoming deployment is part of Nato’s increased efforts to maintain the air presence in the eastern European region, following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Nato’s AWACS fleet has been engaged in conducting several surveillance missions over eastern Europe and the Baltic Sea region since February 2022 to monitor and track the activities of Russian warplanes near Nato borders.