The Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) is sending approximately 135 personnel and five Royal Canadian Air Force CF-188 Hornets to Constanta, Romania, to participate in NATO Enhanced Air Policing from September to December 2018.
The Air Task Force (ATF) in Romania is composed mainly of personnel from 425 Tactical Fighter Squadron, supported primarily by members of 2 Wing (the RCAF’s air expedition wing) and 3 Wing, all based in Bagotville, Quebec.
“The members of the Royal Canadian Air Force deploying in support of NATO enhanced Air Policing in Romania are ready to contribute to this vital collective defence mission,” said Brigadier-General Iain Huddleston, deputy commander, force generation at 1 Canadian Air Division. “Canadians can be proud of this contribution, as we build on the already strong relationship we have fostered with our Romanian and regional Allies over the past several years.”
This mission is part of Operation REASSURANCE, Canada’s contribution to NATO assurance and deterrence measures in Central and Eastern Europe. During this deployment, the Hornets will augment the Romanian Air Force’s air policing capabilities.
NATO enhanced Air Policing has been part of its assurance and deterrence measures since 2014. These measures demonstrate the collective resolve of Allies, the defensive nature of NATO, and help deter the threat of potential aggression against NATO Allies.
“Our highly-trained airmen and airwomen are committed to support NATO in safeguarding Allied airspace. Preserving the integrity of NATO airspace is a collective task, and we are dedicated to contribute in keeping the Romanian skies safe and secure,” said Lieutenant-Colonel Timothy Woods, the commander of Air Task Force Romania. “Our mission is to preserve peace and prevent conflict in the region.”
“Through our Defence Policy we pledged to keep Canada engaged in the world,” said Defence Minister Harjit S. Sajjan. “Our support to air policing in Romania is an important contribution and strong demonstration of our ongoing support to NATO, one of our most important multilateral relationships.”
NATO’s enhanced Air Policing is a peacetime collective defence mission, safeguarding the integrity of the Alliance airspace. The CAF previously supported this mission through the air component of Operation REASSURANCE when the ATF was deployed in Romania for the Block 45 of NATO enhanced Air Policing from September to December 2017, in Lithuania for the Block 36 of NATO Baltic Air Policing (BAP) from September to December 2014, and in Iceland from May to June 2017. (In the context of NATO Air Policing, a block refers to the rotation of Allied nations conducting air policing missions.)
The CAF first deployed an ATF to Romania as part of Operation REASSURANCE from April to August 2014 at the Romanian Air Force 71st Air Base in Campia Turzii. During this mission, the Hornet aircrew shared best practices with their Romanian counterparts, resulting in enhanced interoperability when securing the Alliance’s airspace.
During its deployment to Romania in support of the Block 45 of NATO enhanced Air Policing, 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.
“Collective defence is at the very heart of NATO’s founding treaty. The Canadian Armed Forces remain as committed to that principle now as we were almost 70 years ago. Our air women and men will work cooperatively with our Allies to ensure the integrity of their airspace. As a strong supporter of NATO, we are proud to contribute our capabilities to NATO’s enhanced Air Policing in Romania,” said Major-General Bill Seymour, deputy commander of Canadian Joint Operations Command.
Operation Reassurance refers to the CAF’s activities in support of NATO’s assurance and deterrence measures through the provision of military capabilities for training, exercises, demonstrations of collective resolve and assigned NATO tasks.