Spangdahlem Airmen, fighter jets swap Air Policing role with Aviano’s ‘Buzzards’

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  • USAFE-AFAFRICA Public Affairs

Six F-16 Fighting Falcons from Aviano Air Base’s 510th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron have arrived at Fetesti Air Base, Romania, April 29, to replace members of Spangdahlem Air Base’s 480th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron.

The 480th EFS completed its 3-month rotational deployment in support of NATO’s Enhanced Air Policing mission in the Black Sea region.  The F-16 aircraft as well as personnel and support equipment from the 480th EFS arrived at Fetesti AB in February to enhance NATO’s collective defense posture and support the enduring Air Policing mission, aided by Allies from Romania, Italy, and the United Kingdom.

“The continued presence of U.S. F-16s in the south-east region ensures critical capability for the Air Policing mission and strengthens NATO’s collective readiness.” said Gen. Jeff Harrigian, U.S. Air Force in Europe – Air Forces Africa commander. “Our ability to operate shoulder-to-shoulder with our regional Allies bolsters our collective defense and interoperability across the Eastern flank.”

Airmen of the 510th EFS will continue the mission of the 480th EFS and work closely with Italian Typhoons that have been safeguarding the skies since December 2021. 

Since 2014, the NATO Alliance has implemented assurance measures with the goal to secure regional stability and assure Allies.  Critical to this effort is Enhanced Air Policing, or eAP, which demonstrates NATO's solidarity, collective resolve, and ability to scale defensive missions in response to an evolving security situation.

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