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Spanish Eurofighters join NATO air policing mission in Bulgaria

Spanish Air Force Eurofighter
Photo: NATO

Spanish Eurofighters have landed in Bulgaria where they will support NATO’s enhanced air policing mission.

The Spanish Air Force will fly alongside their Bulgarian colleagues safeguarding the airspace along the eastern flank.

According to NATO, Bulgarian and Spanish fighter aircraft are set to jointly perform air policing tasks from November 14 to December 2.

The Spanish Air Force has deployed around 150 personnel and six Eurofighter F-2000 Typhoon aircraft. The mission will carry out measures on ensuring the security of NATO allies and will fulfil the tasks incorporated in the Standing Air and Missile Defence Plan of the NATO Integrated Air and Missile Defence System (NATINAMDS).

“Joint deployments like this are a testament to the interoperability of our Air Forces within the Alliance and is a great success for NATO,” said Major Zarza, Spanish detachment commander.

“The Bulgarian Air Force will continue to provide its national contribution to the NATO Integrated Air and Missile Defence System. The combined employment of Bulgarian and Spanish Air Force equipment and personnel in NATO’s air policing mission proves the capability of Bulgaria’s combat aviation to act in an integrated manner with the Allies’ forces; collectively, to patrol and protect the airspace of the member states of the Alliance,” said Major General Dimitar Petrov, Commander of the Bulgarian Air Force.

The Bulgarian Air Force ensures 24/7 NATO air policing with their MiG-29 fighter jets. Allied detachments enhance this capability flying alongside the Bulgarian fighters. To modernize its fighter aircraft fleet, Bulgaria has ordered a total F-16 fighters from the United States, the first of which are expected to arrive in 2023, after a two-year delay.

Bulgaria hosted several NATO fighter detachments at Graf Ignatievo Air Base under NATO’s enhanced air policing arrangements since 2014, e.g. from Italy, Spain and the United States.