Policing the Bulgarian Airspace

USAF jets will be taking to the skies over Bulgaria in September to assist the NATO partner with air policing for the first time. The two F-15s will join Bulgarian MiG-29s for one week starting on Sept. 9, according to a NATO release. Bulgaria’s air policing is being enhanced by a foreign service for the first time at the request of Bulgarian authorities. NATO Deputy Secretary General Alexander Vershbow said the enhanced measures are “a demonstration of solidarity and support” for Bulgaria, according to the release. NATO allies, including USAF, have carried out an air policing mission over the Baltics for more than 10 years. Former US Air Forces in Europe-Air Forces Africa commander Gen. Frank Gorenc said last year the scope of that mission had expanded significantly following Russia’s 2014 invasion of Crimea. F-15s from the Massachusetts Air National Guard’s 104th Fighter Wing and C-130Js from the 86th Airlift Wing at Ramstein AB, Germany, were in the Eastern European country to train with the Bulgarian Air Force during the Thracian Flag exercise earlier this summer.