The Romanian Air Force 86th Air Base "Lieutenant Aviator Gheorghe Mociorniță" (Romanian: Baza 86 Aeriană "Locotenent aviator Gheorghe Mociorniță") is located in commune Borcea, Călărași County near the town of Fetești.[1] It is currently the home of the 53rd Fighter Squadron (operating Lockheed Martin F-16s).

RoAF 86th Air Base
Baza 86 Aeriană "Locotenent aviator Gheorghe Mociorniță" Borcea
Near Fetești in Romania
F-15E Strike Eagles of the 336th Fighter Squadron and Romanian F-16s parked at the base in 2021
Coat of arms of the 86th Air Base
Coordinates44°23′44″N 027°43′32″E / 44.39556°N 27.72556°E / 44.39556; 27.72556
Site information
Controlled by Romanian Air Force
Site history
In use1958-Present
Garrison information
General de flotilă aeriană Iulian Pațilea
Occupants53rd Fighter Squadron "Warhawks"
Airfield information
IdentifiersICAO: LRFT
Elevation55 metres (180 ft) AMSL
Direction Length and surface
18/36 2,800 metres (9,186 ft) Asphalt

The current commander of the base is General de flotilă aeriană Iulian Pațilea.[2]

History Edit

On 9 August 1958, the 206th Tactical Fighter Aviation Regiment, equipped with MiG-17PF fighters, together with the 499th Technical Base are moved to the Cocargeaua (today Borcea) aerodrome and received a squadron of MiG-19 aircraft. The unit was first formed in the spring of 1952 on the Deveselu airfield, then moved several times to Ianca, then to Otopeni. Since 1959, the 206th Tactical Fighter Aviation Regiment has been subordinated to the 15th Tactical Fighter Aviation Division and received a new name - the 86th Fighter Aviation Regiment.[2]

In 1967, an important change took place in the 86th Fighter Aviation Regiment, with the introduction of a new type of MiG-21F-13 fighter jet. Thus, the 86th Fighter Aviation Regiment was fully equipped with supersonic aircraft: two squadrons with MiG-21F-13 and one squadron with MiG-19.

After 1989 Edit

In 1995, the 86th Fighter Aviation Regiment turned into the 86th Fighter Aviation Group and the 86th Fighter and Fighter Bomber Air Base. At the same time, the 86th Fighter Aviation Group was awarded the honorary title "Lieutenant Aviator Gheorghe Mociorniță [ro]".[2]

Starting in 1997, a squadron at the 86th Air base began intensive training, in order to become capable of carrying out joint missions with NATO forces. A special training program was initiated, aiming at a higher level of interoperability, and for this purpose the Fighter-Bomber Squadron was fully equipped with MiG-21 LanceRs.[2] Between 2013 and 2015, the base was modernized to NATO standards. Facilities were also built to accommodate the F-16 fighters.[1] Since 2016, it is the home base of the 53rd Fighter Squadron, the first Romanian Air Force squadron equipped with F-16s.[3] By the end of 2000, as a result of the Romanian Air Force reform, the structure of the 86th Air Base changed again. The 86th Air base has now a modular structure, fitting NATO's airbase model and offering a real background for achieving appropriate interoperability at this level, with the declared purpose to provide the necessary basis to plan, organize, command, and accomplish the missions assigned.

In February 2022, hours after the Russian invasion of Ukraine, two F-35 Lightning II aircraft of the United States Air Forces in Europe landed at the 86th Air Base, in support of the NATO mission.[4] The MiG-21 LanceR was officially retired on 15 May 2023. Ceremonies were held at the 71st Air Base and at the 86th Air Base. The MiGs were then flown to the 95th Air Base in Bacău for storage.[5]

F-16 training center Edit

In July 2023, it was announced that the F-16 training center intended for Romanian, Ukrainian and other NATO pilots is to be located at the 86th Air Base. The hub is supported by an international coalition which was formed during the 2023 Vilnius summit. Lockheed Martin, and its subcontractor Draken International will also participate in the project. It is to be organized by Romania, the Netherlands, and the company Draken International. Romania provides the base infrastructure, the Netherlands is to provide the 18 F-16 aircraft for training,[6] while Draken International is to provide the instructors and technicians. The center is set to become operational at the end of the year.[7][8] The training center will first use the aircraft for refresher training of the hired F-16 instructors. This is to be followed by training of NATO and Ukrainian pilots. Training courses will only take place in NATO airspace.[9]

On 29 August, a Letter of Intent for the establishment of the F-16 Training Center was singed by the Romanian and Dutch Ministries of Defence, and Lockheed Martin during the Informal Meeting of EU Defence Ministers in Toledo, Spain.[10]

Gallery Edit

References Edit

  1. ^ a b Ionela Stănilă (29 September 2022). "Baza 86 Aeriană Borcea, 70 de ani de existență. Aici sunt găzduite avioanele de luptă F-16". Adevărul (in Romanian).
  2. ^ a b c d "Baza 86 Aeriană". (in Romanian).
  3. ^ "Se reinfiinteaza escadrila lui Horia Agarici - 53 Warhawks". UCT Media (in Romanian). 29 September 2016. Archived from the original on 22 October 2021.
  4. ^ "F-35 Fighter Jets, Sent By The USA To Romania". Romania Journal. February 24, 2022. Retrieved February 25, 2022.
  5. ^ "Ceremonie de retragere a aeronavelor MiG-21. LanceR. F-16 preia responsabilitatea deplină". (in Romanian). 15 May 2023.
  6. ^ Adelin Petrișor (12 August 2023). "Primii opt piloți ucraineni de F-16 vor pilota aeronavele americane în vara lui 2024". TVR (in Romanian).
  7. ^ Adelin Petrișor (14 July 2023). "Centrul pentru pregătirea piloţilor de F-16 de la Fetești, organizat de România, Olanda şi o companie americană". TVR (in Romanian).
  8. ^ "Șeful Armatei României: Hub-ul pentru F-16 va fi în primul rând pentru antrenarea piloților români. România pune la punct ultimele detalii, inclusiv cu implicarea Lockheed Martin". DefenseRomania (in Romanian). 15 July 2023.
  9. ^ "Lockheed Martin gaat F-16-trainingen verzorgen in Roemenië". (in Dutch). 29 August 2023.
  10. ^ Pablo Díaz (30 August 2023). "F-16 Training Center Established in Romania for Ukrainian Pilots; Netherlands, Lockheed Martin Set to Collaborate". Aviacionline.

External links Edit