New day of surveillance missions in the Black Sea. However, it was an unusual day as we tracked two simultaneous missions by two Boeing RC-135W aircraft.
The first aircraft, an USAF (reg. 62-4131 – c/s JAKE11) took off from RAF Mildenhall and first conducted a mission over the border between Poland and Belarus and then headed to eastern Romania where it carried out its mission.
The second aircraft, a RAF (reg. ZZ665) took off from RAF Mildenhall and operated off the coast of Romania and Bulgaria in the Black Sea (always within the FIRs of the two countries). In this mission, we did not record the presence of RAF Typhoon escorts as in the past, perhaps because the mission took place close to the coasts of NATO countries.
It is interesting to note that two RC-135W aircraft were sent on a mission on the same day. This suggests that NATO is increasing its surveillance activity in the Black Sea in response to the increase in tension in the region.
The USAF aircraft’s mission was particularly significant as it included a flight area over the border between Poland and Belarus. This area has been the subject of intense military activity by Russia in recent months, and the RC-135W aircraft’s flight could have been used to gather information on Russian activities in the region.
The RAF aircraft’s mission was shorter and took place entirely within the FIRs of Romania and Bulgaria. The lack of escort by RAF Typhoons could be due to the fact that the mission took place close to the coasts of NATO countries, and therefore it was not necessary to provide additional protection.
It is possible that NATO will continue to increase its surveillance activity in the Black Sea in the coming months. Tension in the region remains high, and NATO is determined to monitor Russian activities closely.