RAF Starts Deploying For NATO Air Policing Mission In Romania

The enhanced Air Policing mission, known by its military name Operation Biloxi, will see the RAF help protect NATO airspace in the region.

The Royal Air Force has begun moving equipment ahead of its deployment on NATO's Air Policing Mission in Romania. 

Personnel from No 1 Expeditionary Logistics Squadron (1 EL Squadron) and No 2 Mechanical Transport Squadron (2 MT Squadron) have been preparing and transporting equipment and supplies needed to sustain the Typhoon jets taking part in the mission in the Black Sea region this summer.

The deploying personnel, based at RAF Wittering in Cambridgeshire, will be responsible for moving the military equipment across borders to set up and then sustain the operation.

It is stationed at Mihail Kogălniceanu air base in the south-east of the country, near Constanța, and will be supported by engineering and logistics personnel from the RAF Support Force. 

The mission will see the RAF help protect the alliance's airspace in the region.

While 2 MT Squadron will transport the equipment to the military port at Marchwood in Hampshire, a team from 1 EL Squadron will make sure the kit is properly prepared.

Senior Aircraftman Alex Bennett-Yard, 2 MT Squadron, said: "It’s an involved and detailed process. 

"We have to make sure the schedule works in order to get all the right equipment there on time.

"We do that by ensuring all the kit that has to travel has all the proper diplomatic and international clearances in place."

Personnel from RAF Wittering are responsible for moving the RAF military equipment across borders to Romania (Picture: RAF).

Mobility Supply Flight has prepared all the freight needed by the RAF for the mission, including the specialist airfield vehicles, and will oversee the shipping to Romania.

Acting Sergeant Lee Markham, who has been involved in the logistics for several NATO Air Policing Missions, said "it's the biggest task of the year".

"We've been involved from the start, preparing and packing all the kit to travel by air and sea for the A4 Force Elements," he said.

"Our Port Liaison role sees us manage freight, ISO containers and vehicles from across the RAF ready for travel on the ferry."

In addition to the units from RAF Wittering, personnel from RAF Coningsby and RAF Lossiemouth have also been preparing and dispatching equipment to Romania.

Group Captain Jo Lincoln, Commander of the A4 Force Elements and Deputy Commander of the RAF Support Force, said "this is what the Support Force is all about".

"It sounds like a simple thing, but modern airpower depends entirely on having the right kit on the ground, ensuring those aircraft and their crews are appropriately supported."