Bulgarian and Dutch fighters will jointly perform airspace protection tasks
The Air Force of the Kingdom of the Netherlands relocated four F-35 aircraft today, April 6, at Graf Ignatievo Air Base, Bulgaria. They will perform tasks on enhanced airspace protection together with the Bulgarian Air Force until May 31, 2022.
The Dutch on-duty crews, together with their Bulgarian counterparts, will perform tasks in the area of air duty, interception, visual reconnaissance and escort. The Bulgarian Air Force will continue to fulfill its national commitments to be on duty in the NATO Integrated Air and Missile Defense System (NATINAMDS). Each of the parties will bear the costs of its own forces and resources involved in the strengthening of air security.
With its decision of March 8, 2022, the Council of Ministers authorized the joint implementation of tasks to strengthen the protection of the airspace of our country by the Air Forces of Bulgaria and the Netherlands. In the implementation of the joint tasks in air protection (Air Policing) the Bulgarian fighters on duty will be used as a priority. The mission is implementing measures to ensure the security of NATO's Eastern Flank member countries and will be implemented under the plans and procedures of the Alliance's Integrated Air and Missile Defense System (NATINAMDS).
The protection of NATO airspace is a peacetime collective defense mission. Its purpose is to ensure the integrity and security of the airspace of Allied allies.
The participation of personnel and equipment from the Bulgarian Air Force in the joint Air Policing operations proves the capabilities of Bulgaria's combat aviation to act integrated with the forces of the allied countries to ensure the air security of the countries of the Eastern Flank of the Alliance.
Decisions to ensure the security of Allies in Eastern Europe were taken by Heads of State and Government at the NATO Summits in Wales in 2014 and in Warsaw in 2016. One of these decisions is to strengthen the security mission in the airspace of the eastern flank member states with allied forces on a rotating basis. The Bulgarian Air Force jointly performed Air Policing tasks in 2014 and 2016 with forces and resources from the US Air Force, in 2017 - with forces and resources from the Air Force of the Italian Republic and in 2022 - with forces and funds from the Air Force of the Kingdom of Spain. Since 2012, the Bulgarian Air Force has performed a significant number of cross-border operations together with the Air Forces of Greece and Romania.
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