Romania says NATO plane to start mission exercise today

BUCHAREST, March 11 Tue Mar 11, 2014 8:17am EDT

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BUCHAREST, March 11 (Reuters) - A NATO E-3A AWACS plane will fly over Romanian airspace as part of a planned exercise on Tuesday, Romania's defence ministry said.

NATO had said AWACS (airborne early warning and control) planes will fly from their home airbases in Geilenkirchen, Germany, and Waddington in Britain.

The Romanian ministry said AWACS planes fly at an altitude of 9,000 metres (5.6 miles), their radar can survey an area of up to 312,000 square kilometres and can detect low-flying targets.

The NATO alliance said on Monday it will start reconnaissance flights over Poland and Romania to monitor the situation in neighbouring Ukraine where Russian forces have taken control of Crimea.

Ukraine is not a NATO member but Russia's intervention in Crimea has alarmed neighbouring countries, including alliance members that used to be dominated by the Soviet Union. (Reporting by Radu Marinas)

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