The Day of Romanian Aviation and Air Force represents an occasion to remember those who devoted their life to flight, National Defence Minister Gabriel Les told the event organised on Saturday at the Air Heroes' Monument, in Aviators' Square."Here, at the Air Heroes' Monument, we salute the efforts of all Romanian military and civil aviators who contributed to the development of aviation and we commemorate, at the same time, the aviator heroes fallen in the line of duty in the air battles in the two world wars. To those we owe our eternal gratitude and respect. At this moment, as well, we honour the memory of the pilots who lost their life during more recent missions, heroes who put, most of the times, the life of civilian population above their own. Unfortunately, after these tragedies we have a deeper understanding of the aviators' love for their profession, a beautiful one, but one with a high risk level," Minister Gabriel Les said.
The Minister brought to mind that "Romania holding the Presidency at the Council of the European Union was a success, which the Romanian Air Force also significantly contributed to."
"In this sense, I wish to highlight the results of your participation in the activities conducted within the Romanian Presidency, among which I would bring to mind the most important moments - the Sibiu Summit, the Spartan 2019 European Exercise and the Conference of commanders of Air Force Academies of Europe," he underscored.
Gabriel Les also said that the Romanian Air Force "is currently under a wide process of modernising and making it operational, of consolidating the combat capacity of the structures and of developing new capabilities. The demarch is so much more important as we are witnessing an accelerated increase in challenges in the Black Sea region, and Romania's responsibility is major, taking into account the strategic position on the eastern flank of the Alliance."
Les also spoke of the "commitments to consolidate the capabilities of the hunting aviation, through the National Defence Ministry, following Parliament's approval, initiating the procedure of assigning the purchase contracts for a package of five more aircraft from the Government of the Portuguese Republic and the additional package of goods and services from the Government of the United States of America," pointing out that "the aircraft are necessary for the continuation of the process of gradually achieving the Critical Air Operational Capability."
"I believe this thing, together with the purchase of the Patriot systems devoted to air defence and the endowment of radiolocation with modern radars, ensure a modern capacity of defence of Romania's and NATO's air space, fully interoperable with the similar systems of our allies," the Minister said.
According to him, "Romania presents itself today as a factor of security, control and stability of the air space in the Black Sea region, by conducting the Strengthened Air Police service under the NATO command together with specialist military structures of the allied states," bringing to mind "the important support granted by Italy, Canada and the UK."
In the end, Les has sent the military that he appreciates their effort and the respect for the profession they have and congratulated them for the passion and devotion they proved in the missions they carried out.
The celebration moment was opened with singer Marcel Pavel performing the national anthem of Romania.
In the opening of the event, air fleet General Viorel Pana, Air Force Chief of Staff, read the common order of the National Defence Minister, the Interior Minister and the Transport Minister on the celebration of the Day of the Romanian Aviation and Air Forces.
"This year we are celebrating the Day of the Romanian Aviation and Air Force, in the context of the 15th anniversary since joining NATO and Romania holding, between January and June 2019, the Presidency of the Council of the European Union. Today, the Romanian Air Force is undergoing, same as the entire military system, a dynamic process of modernisation and putting into operation, consolidation of the combat capacity, development of new capabilities to allow the surveillance, deterrence and rejection of aggressive actions against Romania, in accordance with the plans drawn up on a national and allied level, at the same time with fulfilling on the scheduled dates the military commitments assumed by Romania," the ministers' common message reads.
According the the message, the Day of the Romanian Aviation and Air Forces "is one of the celebrations with a special symbolic and historic value for the Interior Ministry, an institution associated with the rapid intervention in risk situation and saving lives, including when it comes to the air component."
"It is a special day for the professionals in this area, for those who carry on the heritage of courage and devotion of those who places themselves to the service of Romanians assuming the risks of this job. This moment of celebration must also be an occasion to pay homage to those who sacrifices themselves on behalf of the commitment to the country and citizens, those who put the security of their fellow citizens above their own life. (...) Dear celebrated, your professional training, passion and devotion you constantly show brought you the well-deserved respect and gratitude being consecrated professionals of the defence of the Romanian air space and messengers of promoting Romania's image worldwide. We are proud of you and we admire your devotion and responsibility which you show in performing your duty every day," the message of the three ministers shows.
The event went on with a religious service, followed by a flight over the Air Heroes' Monument of approximately 25 military aircraft of the type F-16 Fighting Falcon, MiG-21 LanceR, IAR-99 Falcon, IAR-99 Standard, C-27J Spartan and IAR-330 Puma belonging to the Romanian Air Force, two Eurofighter Typhoon aircraft of the Italian Air Force, six EC-135 and Mi-17 helicopters of the Interior Ministry, three IAR-330 Puma helicopters of the Romanian Intelligence Service and four Extra 300 aircraft belonging to Romania's Airclub.
Afterwards, wreaths of flowers were laid at the Air Heroes' Monument to the memory of the aviator heroes on behalf of the Presidency, the Senate, the Chamber of Deputies, the National Defence Ministry, the Interior Ministry and the Transport Ministry.
The ceremony ended with the guard of honour parade.