The U.S. Air Force has sent MQ-9 Reaper aircraft and dozens of Airmen to the 71st Air Base in Campia Turzii Air Base in northwest Romania, to conduct intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance missions in support of NATO operations, a U.S. defense site reported.
The MQ-9s are unmanned aerial vehicles which are capable of remotely controlled or autonomous flight operations.
They will fall under the an unmanned aerial vehicle capable of remotely controlled or autonomous flight operations 31st Expeditionary Operations Group, Detachment 1, until the squadron of 90 is fully operational. Both units are subordinate to the 31st Fighter Wing at Aviano Air Base in Italy, DIVIDS which is part of the U.S. Department of Defense reported.
“The forward and ready positioning of our MQ-9s at this key strategic location reassures our allies and partners, while also sending a message to our adversaries, that we can quickly respond to any emergent threat,” said Gen. Jeff Harrigian, the United States Air Forces in Europe and Air Forces Africa commander.
The deployment was fully coordinated with the Romanian government. The U.S and Romania enjoy a close military-to-military relationship as NATO allies and cooperate on a number of regional security issues.
Romania, which is historically pro-American, sees the U.S. as a guarantor of stability and democracy in the region in the face of an increasingly hostile Russia.
In addition to exercising ISR capabilities, the MQ-9s will support Agile Combat Employment concepts, fly freedom of maneuver missions and integrate with joint and coalition forces in the region.
While in theater, the MQ-9s may also participate in
exercises that ensure interoperability with allied and partner nations.
The forward MQ-9 presence enabled by this deployment demonstrates the United States’ commitment to the security and stability of Europe and aims to strengthen relationships between NATO allies and other European partners, the publication said..