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May 31, 2022

USAF and RNLAF fighters conduct air operations in Black Sea region

The exercise is aimed at enhancing interoperability between the participating forces to undertake future missions.

The US Air Force (USAF) has deployed its F-35 Lightning II fifth-generation fighters to undertake air operations together with the Royal Netherlands Air Force (RNLAF).

The deployment is aimed at supporting Nato’s vigilance activities in the Black Sea region.

The USAF’s fighter jets, which were deployed to Spangdahlem Air Base (AB) in Germany, flew on a long-range mission to Bulgaria on the eastern flank to support the vigilance activities.

In the eastern flank region, the USAF’s fighter jets were then linked with the Bulgarian Air Force and the RNLAF’s F-35 aircraft.

The RNLAF F-35 aircraft is based in Bulgaria as part of the Nato’s enhanced Air policing mission.  

The USAF’s F-35 jets landed at Graf Ignatievo AB in Bulgaria to increase their endurance and range in the Black Sea region.

Nato’s Headquarters Allied Air Command at Ramstein Air Base in Germany deputy chief of staff operations brigadier general Christoph Pliet said: “The ability to leverage the advanced capabilities provided by Allied 5th generation aircraft is key to enhancing Nato’s situational awareness and strengthening our defensive posture in this important region.

“Alliance aircraft routinely operate together in the Black Sea region in order to hone communication skills and enhance interoperability for future missions.”

The fifth-generation fighter aircraft from both the nations carried out the air operations within the Bulgarian airspace.

The routinely activities and operations have been conducted to exercise the freedom of navigation and overflight to enhance Nato and allied nations’ collective defence.

Additionally, the activities aim to secure the airspace of the Nato’s member nations in the region.

Recently, the US Vermont Air National Guard’s (ANG) F-35 jets were also deployed to conduct enhanced air policing mission in Nato’s eastern flank.

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