NATO Surveillance Planes Temporarily Deployed to Romania

Two of three NATO surveillance planes deployed temporarily to Romania have arrived at an air base near Bucharest, from where they will fly missions to monitor Russian military activity near the borders of the 30-nation military alliance.

The Airborne Warning and Control System planes landed at Otopeni air base on Tuesday afternoon, with one more expected later. They are due to be based there for several weeks.

The AWACS aircraft, which NATO refers to as its “eyes in the sky” belong to a fleet of 14 usually based in west Germany. They have large fuselage-mounted radar domes and can detect aircraft hundreds of kilometers away.

Germany’s ambassador to Romania, Peer Gebauer, said on the airfield after the first plane landed that the deployment “underlines our resolve to stay strong in this time of crisis.”

“This AWACS surveillance mission, which is to start today in Romania, is another proof of our resolve – of our commitment to defend every inch of allied territory,” he said.

Since Russia invaded Ukraine on Feb. 24, NATO has bolstered its presence on Europe’s eastern flank, including by sending additional multinational battlegroups to alliance members Romania, Hungary, Bulgaria, and Slovakia. The AWACS have also performed regular patrols over eastern Europe and the Baltic Sea region to track Russian warplanes near NATO borders.

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