OTTAWA --- Canada’s Air Task Force (ATF) in Romania will complete its four-month mission in support of Operation REASSURANCE and Block 45 of NATO enhanced Air Policing (eAP) on December 31, 2017.
Throughout the mission, ATF-Romania successfully built on the already strong, established relationships with Romania and other NATO Allies. ATF-Romania demonstrated Canada’s commitment to the NATO Readiness Action Plan, reassured Canada’s allies, and helped to support regional stability.
In addition to the eAP mission, the Air Task Force conducted regular training with its Romanian hosts. This training included medical support, flight safety, aircraft maintenance, command and control, and military policing. ATF-Romania also conducted several activities in support of local communities, including delivering donations to an orphanage.
ATF- Romania’s CF-18 Hornet crews trained alongside Romanian Air Force MiG-21s, F-16s and Puma helicopters—in addition to Portuguese F-16s, US Army Blackhawk helicopters and NATO airborne warning and control systems (AWACs). The CF-18 crews also trained with French and Romanian vessels in the Black Sea.
“Canada and Romania are close partners within NATO. The Canadian Armed Forces is proud to have participated in cooperative defence activities in support of NATO enhanced Air Policing in Romania. I congratulate the men and women of Air Task Force-Romania for their professionalism, hard work, dedication to the mission, and for projecting the best of what Canada has to offer,” said Lieutenant-General Stephen Bowes, Commander Canadian Joint Operations Command.
“This mission has been an outstanding opportunity and a point of pride for the entire Air Task Force. It has been an honour to contribute to the NATO Alliance in such a meaningful way while working alongside our Romanian counterparts as we build even stronger ties. Our Romanian hosts have been very gracious, and have treated us like family—the entire Air Task Force is very grateful for their support,” said Lieutenant-Colonel Mark Hickey, Commander Air Task Force-Romania.
--ATF-Romania was composed of approximately 135 Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) personnel and four CF-18 Hornet fighter jets. Since September 2017 they have operated in support of the 45th rotation of NATO eAP.
--In an effort to learn and share best practices with their Romanian hosts, ATF-Romania conducted several site visits to Romanian Armed Forces bases and installations, including their Combat Readiness Centre, the newly renovated 86th Air Base with its F-16 Fighting Falcon fighter aircraft, a training academy for new aircrew, and several headquarters.
--In late September, a small contingent from the ATF, along with two CF-18 Hornets, visited Slovenia in an effort to share best practices and demonstrate Canada’s solidarity with a NATO Ally.
--The members of ATF-Romania were mainly from 2 Air Expeditionary Wing, Bagotville, and 4 Wing, Cold Lake, and were supported by personnel from several other Wings and Bases across Canada.
--Following its mission completion, ATF-Romania’s four CF-18 Hornets and personnel will return to Canada in January 2018.
--NATO’s enhanced Air Policing is a peacetime collective defence mission, which safeguards the integrity of the Alliance’s airspace.