Romania Considers Joining ENJJPT Program at SAFB

The Euro-NATO Joint Jet Pilot Training Program, ENJJPT, at Sheppard Air Force Base, may be expanding in the near future as another country looks to join the program. 

The program has seen a lot of success since it started at Sheppard in 1981. 

The program has produced more than 6,800 fighter pilots for the NATO alliance since the program started, and now the country of Romania is interested in using the program to strengthen its air force. 

A small Romanian delegation is in Texoma checking out the Wichita Falls community, Sheppard Air Force Base, but specifically the ENJJPT. 

Romanian Air Force Colonel Alexandru Trandafir says his country is interested in joining ENJJPT after buying F-16s.

"The base is absolutely awesome," Col. Trandafir says. "The program that they have here is world class I'll say, if not the best in the world. I think that this would make a very, very good addition for the development of the Romanian Air Force."

Colonel Trandafir says the community's involvement with the base is also very appealing.

"I'll like to say that the Wichita Falls community was absolutely amazing. They really, really supported our visit here. I'm really impressed about the commitment and dedication of the people around here," Col. Trandafir says.

Each year, ENJJPT trains about 200 student pilots and 75 instructor pilots from 13 NATO alliance countries.

Colonel Glen Lawson, Chief of Defense Cooperation at the U.S. Embassy in Bucharest, Romania says Romania's involvement in the program will benefit the NATO countries as a whole.

Col. Lawson says, "When they get the F-16s they are part of that combined alliance when anything is needed, action in the air, this will robust that and enable them to react with the rest of the NATO partners.

He says the Romanians were left impressed.

"What Sheppard has put forth is displaying this program, the training program on the other side, the community, with the hospitality they've shown; it couldn't have been better," Col. Lawson says. 

In addition, Col. Lawson says if the Romanian Air Force decides to join ENJJPT, the process will be very simple because they are a NATO country.

He says all they'll have to do is sign a Memorandum of Understanding. 

He says they say there is no timeline as to when that might happen, but he says the Romanian Air Force will be meeting with a ENJJPT Steering Committee in September so he expects it to happen shortly after that.

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