US Moves Reaper Drone Squadron From Poland to Romania, Buttressing NATO Intel in Black Sea

Europe

A US Air Force squadron of MQ-9 Reaper drones has temporarily relocated to Romania. It’s the latest shifting of NATO intelligence equipment to the Black Sea region.

The 52nd Expeditionary Operations Group Detachment 2, part of US Air Forces Europe’s 52nd Fighter Wing, has shifted its base of operations temporarily 580 miles southeast, to Campia Turzii Air Base in Romania, while its home base at Miroslawiec, Poland, gets its runway replaced, USAFE announced on July 4.

The group flies General Atomics’ Reaper drone, a replacement for the ubiquitous Predator that sports improvements in nearly every field, from ordnance to speed and flight time, and has become the Air Force’s bread-and-butter UAV. This squadron, however, is assigned to the role of intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) along NATO’s eastern border.

The squadron reached full operational capability in March, although the Pentagon has been flying drones out of Poland for over a year.

“I need … more ISR” in Eastern Europe, US Army Gen. Curtis Scaparrotti, the Supreme Allied Commander Europe of NATO Allied Command Operations, told the US Senate Armed Services Committee in March. “[My final] concern is my intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capacity, given that increasing and growing threat of Russia.”

“This temporary relocation is conducted with the full cooperation of our NATO ally, Romania,” USAFE said, although it didn’t specify how long the…

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