The eight EF-18 fighters provided by Spain for the defence of the Alliance's eastern flank, under NATO command since 1 December, have reached their first 200 hours of flight time in their enhanced air policing mission. They patrol Romanian airspace and identify aircraft approaching without displaying the appropriate international identity code. These 8 fighters of the 15th Wing, together with 130 men and women of the Spanish Armed Forces are deployed at the Fetesti Air Base in Romania, forming the 'Viespe' Air Tactical Detachment.
Spain is providing this detachment in response to NATO's request to maintain and increase the allies' contribution to promoting security and stability in the region through deterrence and defence along the eastern flank.
This mission is part of the collective commitment of Alliance members to the surveillance of common airspace, in particular those in the Southern Application Zone, such as Romania, Bulgaria and Albania. The Allied deployment in Romania includes Italian EF2000 aircraft, Romanian F-16s and the aforementioned Spanish EF-18s.
It is a peacetime mission aimed at preserving the security of Alliance airspace. It is a collective task involving the continuous, 24/7 presence of fighter aircraft, crews and maintenance, Force Protection and support personnel, ready to react to any violation of Allied airspace.