The U.S. Air Force has based MQ-9 Reaper aircraft and approximately 90 Airmen to the 71st Air Base in Campia Turzii Air Base, Romania, to conduct intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance missions in support of NATO operations. The MQ-9s will fall under the 31st Expeditionary Operations Group, Detachment 1, until the squadron is fully operational. Both units are subordinate to the 31st Fighter Wing at Aviano Air Base, Italy.
“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.
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.
This deployment has been fully coordinated with the Romanian government. The United States and Romania enjoy a close military-to-military relationship as NATO allies and cooperate on numerous regional security issues. From Campia Turzii air base,, the United States MQ-9s have a shorter flight to Balkans and the Black Sea in support of NATO and allied operations.
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. USAFE did not disclose the number of Reapers that will be assigned to the Romanian Air Force base, which houses a unit of Romanian Air Force MiG-21 fighter jets and helicopters.