During the short deployment of German fighter pilots to Estonia, the focus was on further deepening operational collaboration with their Spanish counterparts under enhanced Air Policing in the Baltic region. The goal was to make a next step in Germany’s Plug & Fight programme aimed at taking fighter interoperability to a new dimension. The deployment culminated – on November 15 – in the first mixed Spanish-German quick reaction mission above the Baltic Sea. A confirmation of the level of integration of both Allies’ Eurofighter fleets.
Since 2019, Germany has conducted this increased integration with the Eurofighter fleets of the United Kingdom, Italy and Spain, when Luftwaffe jets were joined by Royal Air Force Typhoons in Estonia flying alongside each other and shadowing procedures. The next level was achieved in 2020, when mixed jet formations took off for unarmed training missions and used each other’s ground support equipment. In 2021 and 2022 mixed quick reaction alert formations conducted training scrambles with hot weapons and, subsequently, also alarm sorties.
In Romania, four German Eurofighters supported by a 150-strong detachment will be flying under the NATO banner until December 20. The mission is to prevent potential airspace violations above all along the border between Romania and Ukraine. On alert 24/7, they work hand in glove with the F-16s of the Romanian Air Force and a deployed French surface-based air defence system enabling integrated air defence. In the past, violations of the Romanian airspace by small drones have occurred repeatedly.
“After the recent drone incidents, Germany deploys Eurofighters to Constanta. This support for our Romanian friends goes without saying. The German Air Force is wherever it is needed,” said the German Air Chief Lieutenant General Ingo Gerhartz.
The two deployments underscore Germany’s commitment to collective security under a NATO umbrella. It underlines the advanced interoperability and strong cohesion of Allied air forces.
“The Alliance and its members are capable of swiftly deploying additional assets to the eastern flank to protect people and territory against potential threats. 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,” said Group Captain Michael Carver, acting Deputy Chief of Staff Operations at Allied Air Command, Germany.