Military News

Friday, October 23, 2015

ANG, Romanian AF build partnership during exercise Dacian Viper 2015

by Capt. Lauren Ott

10/22/2015 - CAMPIA TURZII, Romania -- The Air National Guard and the Romanian Air Force partnered up for the Dacian Viper Exercise DV day 16 Oct. 2015 at Campia Turzii, Romania.

Major General Eric Vollmecke, Air National Guard Mobilization Assistant to the Commander, USAFE-AFAFRICA, along with leadership from the Alabama Air National Guard and the Romanian Air Force, explained to dignitaries and media members how the exercise is an example of the long standing history of partnership that that the Alabama ANG and Romanian Air Force share. The partnership, part of the Guard's official State Partnership Program, has been in place since 1993.

Four F-16 Fighting Falcons and approximately 150 airmen from the 187th Fighter Wing, Alabama ANG, are participating in the Dacian Viper exercise, which is a flying-training deployment designed to increase readiness to conduct combined air operations and to meet future security challenges.

The ANG State Partnership Program supports combatant commander and embassy security cooperation objectives by pairing a state's National Guard with a partner nation's military.

From 1993 to the present, Alabama has conducted more than 140 engagements with Romania.

"It's a tremendous training opportunity," said Gen Vollmecke, speaking of the ability to bring Alabama ANG F-16s to Romania. "The ranges in Romania allow us to conduct the full spectrum of operations, while flying with and against MiG-21s."

Dacian Viper will also help ready the Romanian Air Force to begin replacing its fleet of MiG-21 Lancers with F-16 Fighting Falcons, which will further increase interoperability between Romania, the U.S. and all of its NATO allies.

Romania signed a contract with Portugal in 2013 to acquire 12 of the Fighting Falcons.

During his opening remarks at the DV day, U.S. Ambassador to Romania, Hans Klemm, commented that the State Partnership Program will enable the U.S. to support the Romanian Air Force through their transition to the F-16s.

"This is the multi-role fighter that the United States military flies and knows best," said the Ambassador. "We plan to teach you everything we know about this fighting platform so that when we deploy together, the U.S. and Romania, there is little to no difference between our capabilities."

There are currently 22 State Partnership Program relationships in EUCOM and 10 in AFRICOM.

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