NATO has announced a plan to deploy several Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS) aircraft to Romania, bringing them closer to the alliance’s Eastern border.
The aircraft will be deployed at Otopeni, a Romanian Air Force base within Bucharest Henrri Conada International Airport (OTP).
The aircraft, usually stationed at Germany’s NATO Air Base Geilenkirchen, are set to arrive to OTP on January 17, 2023.
“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,” NATO spokesperson Oana Lungescu is quoted as saying in a press release.
Geilenkirchen serves as a base for 14 Boeing E-3 Sentry aircraft operating as part of NATO Airborne Early Warning & Control Force program, subordinated to the Allied Air Command (AIRCOM).
They represent NATO’s main joint airborne surveillance asset in Europe. The E-3 Sentry, derived from Boeing’s 707 airliner, can monitor airspace within a radius of over 400 kilometers (250 miles).
The aircraft often conduct flights along the alliance’s astern border, monitoring the situation over Russian, Ukrainian and Belarusian airspaces.
NATO release did not reveal how many aircraft are to be relocated, nor why this time has been selected for redeployment.
The mission is going to last ‘several weeks’, according to the statement. Along with the aircraft, around 180 supporting military personnel are to be stationed in Romania.