The US Air Force has based MQ-9 Reaper unmanned aircraft and approximately 90 airmen to the 71st Air Base in Campia Turzii Air Base, Romania, where they will 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.
This deployment has been fully coordinated with the Romanian government, the service said.
Last year, the air force deployed MQ-9 Reapers from Detachment 2 at Miroslawiec Air Base in Poland to Estonia’s Amari Air Base, where they performed missions similar to those that will carried out by Aviano-based MQ-9s.