On Jul. 2, eight F-15C Eagles belonging to the 131st Fighter Squadron, Barnes Air National Guard Base, Massachusetts, and the 194th Fighter Squadron, Fresno Air National Guard Base, California, depolyed to the 71st airbase Campia Turzii, Romania, to take part in exercise Dacian Eagle 2016.
The arrival of these F-15s occurred on the same day the Romanian Air Force MiG-21s returned home after a few months deployment at the 95th Airbase in Bacau, while the runway at Campia Turzii was being repaired.
Both aircraft types will take part in Dacian Eagle between July and September.
According to the Romanian Air Force, along with 200 American personnel from the California and Massachusetts ANG, more than 200 romanian pilots and technical personnel from the 71st Airbase are taking part with MiG 21 LancerRs and IAR 330 Puma helicopters (SOCAT and MEDEVAC) in the traditional drills at the 71st airbase with the purpose of increasing the level of preparation and interoperability between the participants.
“The excercise is an opportunity to practice the techniques, tactics and standard procedures common in air operations, according to NATO standards by performing flights in cooperations with the American partners” and to deter further Russian aggression….
The LanceRs are modernized MiG-21s that were given new avionics for all-weather operations, more modern avionics and the ability to employ PGMs (Precision Guided Munitions).
Although they have a limited endurance (30-45 minutes “play time”), the LanceRs are fast and maneuverable and quite good to perform the adversary role against more modern fighters.
They will start being replaced by F-16 MLUs starting this autumn.
Two F-22 Raptors and one KC-135 Stratotanker arrived in Romania.
Two F-22s and approximately 20 supporting Airmen, with the 95th Fighter Squadron, Tyndall Air Force Base, Florida, arrived at Mihail Kogalniceanu Air Base, Romania, on the on Apr. 25.
The F-22s belong to the contingent (the largest Raptor deployment to Europe to date ) recently deployed to RAF Lakenheath, UK, and will remain at the Romanian airbase on the Black Sea coast, for a brief period of time before returning to the UK, to continue their training deployment.
“Today, we rapidly deployed these aircraft, along with a KC-135 Stratotanker, here to showcase our flexible response and our range of capabilities,” Lt. Gen. Timothy Ray, 3rd Air Force commander, said in a U.S. Air Force release.
“These aircraft have the ability to project air dominance quickly, at great distances, to defeat any possible threat.”
“It’s important we test our infrastructure, aircraft capabilities, and the talented Airmen and allies who will host these aircraft in Europe,” said Gen. Frank Gorenc, U.S. Air Forces in Europe and Air Forces Africa commander. “This deployment advances our airpower evolution and demonstrates our resolve and commitment to European safety and security.”
The latest variant of the legendary Mig 21 as you have never seen it before.
The MiG 21 LanceR is the upgraded avionics and weapons systems version of the MiG 21 Fishbed, developed by Elbit Systems and Aerostar Bacău for the Romanian Air Force. The first LanceR flew in 1996 and was a LanceR A version.
The LanceR program saw the upgrade of a total of 114 MiG 21 airframes in three versions: the ground attack version (LanceR A), the two seater trainer version with ground attack capabilities (LanceR B) and the air superiority version (LanceR C).
The upgrade aimed at making the old Cold War planes capable to use both eastern and western weapons systems, mainly focused in the cockpit configuration with the introduction of modern avionics, HOTAS and NATO compatible weapon systems.
One major upgrade of the RoAF MiG-21s was the DASH mounted displays, the LanceR being one of the first fighters to employ this type of technology.
The MiG 21 LanceR fleet is split between the 71st Air Base Câmpia Turzii and the 86th Air Base Feteşti.The main mission of the MiG 21 LanceRs of the RoAF is providing QRA (Quick Reaction Alert) duties under the NATO control network by way of the Combined Air Operations Center in Torrejon.
The awesome photographs in this post were shot by photographers Liviu Dnistran and Bogdan Pop during the Falcon Defence 2015, an exercise that saw the Portuguese Air Force training with the MiG 21 LanceR jets of the Romanian Air Force, 71st Air Base. The Portuguese AF deployed four F-16 fighter planes and support personnel for almost two months.
In particular, Dnistran and Pop took part in one of the training missions during which 5 MiG 21s were joined by two F-16s: a great opportunity to see mixed formations of LanceRs and Vipers and some very nice angles of the MiG 21.
The A-10 Thunderbolts are involved in the “Dacian Thunder 2015”, a long exercise taking place in Romania from the end of March to July.
U.S. and Romanian air forces are conducting joint training aimed to strengthen interoperability and demonstrate the countries’ shared commitment to the security and stability of Europe amid tensions with Russia. Not far from Ukraine, Crimea and Moldova.
The infamous Warthogs, coming from Spangdahlem airbase, are currently stationed at the 71 airbase of the Romanian Air Force – Campia Turzii.
Notably, this is not the first deployment of the A-10 to Transylvania. The A-10 were involved in “Dacian Thunder 2009” exercise in the past.
According to numerous Romanian media outlets, including the ziuaveche.ro and ziarul21.ro websites, the tank-busters are going to be involved in a long “Dacian Thunder 2015” operation, planned for the period between Mar. 27 and Jul. 7. 2015, which will involve 350 soldiers and 12 A-10s.
Provided this is confirmed, the deployment in Romania would be larger than the recent deployment in Poland which saw 4 Warthogs operate from Powidz AB, supporting the Dragoon Ride exercise.
When it comes to involvement of the Romanian Air Force, four MiG-21 LanceR fighters and six IAR-330 Puma helicopters will be taking part in the operation, providing SAR (Search and Rescue) and Medevac support.
Aim of the Dacian Thunder exercise is to enhance interoperability and provide training for the Romanian and U.S. pilots, through joint air operations. Not far from Ukraine, Crimea and Moldova.
Special thanks for help with translation of Romanian language to Łukasz Domanski.