NATO assets conduct air defence drills in the Black Sea

Black Sea
Turkish Air Force F-16 fighters conducted ADEX maneouvres with the NATO ships. (Photo Credit: Turkish Air Force)

On July 2, NATO Air and Maritime forces conducted an Air Defence Exercise (ADEX) in the Black Sea to improve Alliance cooperation, practice air-maritime communications and build stronger relationships between Allies. 

According to a press release of NATO Maritime Command, the participation included Allied fighter assets from the Greek, Romanian and Turkish air forces, a NATO AWACS, a Romanian C-27 transport aircraft, a Turkish Military Patrol Aircraft and three Allied frigates from the Standing NATO Maritime Group 2 (SNMG2) – Italian Navy flagship Fasan, the Romanian Navy Regina Maria and the Turkish Navy Barbaros. SNMG 2 forces are transiting across the Black Sea and will take part in Exercise Sea Breeze 2021 after the ADEX.

While initially Turkish Air Force F-16 fighters simulated attacks on the NATO ships which trained defence drills against these attacked in the Black Sea, the Greek and Romanian F-16s, in a separate event, conducted similar training manoeuvres with the Greek fighters attacking the ships which responded in a joint manner with the Romanian fighters. Subsequently, the Greek and Romanian fighters conduct air-to-air combat drills.

This exercise shows how Allies use unique opportunities to train multiple Allied forces in a multi-domain environment. By exercising in international waters and airspace just off the Romanian coast, NATO is able to further develop our operational tactics and refine airspace coordination with our Black Sea Allies. Allied Air Command experts in cooperation with the Combined Air Operations Centre at Torrejón, Allied Maritime Command and the participating nations planned the event over a number of weeks.

“Overall the air-maritime integration training demonstrates NATO’s capabilities, readiness and resolves to protect Allied populations; with our ships and aircraft peacefully operating off the Romanian coast we also assure the Allies in the region,” said Allied Air Command Deputy Chief of Staff Brigadier General Andrew Hansen. “Our jets are unarmed to enable maximum training benefit and allowing for interoperability among the four Allies’ fighters,” he added.

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Two Romanian Air Force F-16 fighter jets escorted the C-27 transport aircraft for a while during the exercise on July 2. (Photo by Brett Dodge.)

“We have clear command and control arrangements and strict rules of engagement in place that every participant knows. These ensure that we conduct the training in a responsible and de-escalatory manner while still showing a credible and ready presence of NATO assets in the region,” said Combined Air Operations Centre Torrejon Commander, Lieutenant General Fernando de la Cruz.

NATO Allies frequently integrate Allied Air and Maritime assets to improve interoperability, build trust and enhance readiness in the Black Sea region during combined joint training events. The activities on July 2 underlined the Allies’ commitment to collective defence and to maintain peace and preserve security in this region both at sea and in the air.

Check out Naval Library App to find out the air defence capabilities of NATO allied countires’ navies.

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