Seven US Air Force F-16 Fighting Falcon jets are used to help Bulgaria police Alliance airspace in and around the Black Sea region.
The multirole fighters, based at Aviano Air Base in Italy, are flying training missions and patrols alongside Bulgarian Air Force MiG-29 Fulcrum fighter jets in early autumn 2020.
As the pilots acquaint themselves with each other and their nations’ operating procedures, they improve their ability to keep the skies safe in the region as part of NATO’s enhanced Air Policing mission. Pilots and aircrew practised social distancing on and off the air base in accordance to COVID-19 prevention measures.
Allied fighters first deployed to Bulgaria in 2016, when the US Air Force sent F-15 Eagle fighters to Graf Ignatievo Air Base, near Plovdiv. In 2017, the Italian Air Force deployed Eurofighters to fly alongside the Bulgarian MiGs.