Airmen from Aviano AB, Italy, concluded their weeklong visit to Campia Turzii, Romania, where their F-16s trained alongside Romanian MiG-21s for the first time, according to an Aviano release. The exercise built combined air operations skills and allowed the Romanian airmen to familiarize themselves with F-16 operations, as Romania is slated to purchase its own F-16s via an agreement with fellow NATO ally Portugal. US and Romanian airmen joined for a flyover formation during the April 17 closing ceremony. Romania’s Prime Minister Victor Ponta attended the event, praising his country’s partnership with the United States. He had the opportunity to fly in an F-16 during his visit. Last October, Romania announced it had reached agreement with Portugal to purchase 12 surplus F-16s, with deliveries slated to start in 2016. Exercises such as these have taken place between the United States and its Eastern European NATO allies since Russia’s illegal annexation of Ukraine’s Crimea region. (Campia Turzii report by SSgt. R.J. Biermann)
U.S. Air Force F-35s and F-22s regularly deploy deep into the Pacific region from Alaska, Utah, and Hawaii. In the future, though, the head of U.S. Indo-Pacific Command would like to see the Air Force permanently station fifth-generation aircraft west of the international date line—closer to China.