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RCAF begins NATO air-policing role in Romania


September 8, 2020
By Wings Staff


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Canada’s Romanian air-policing mission includes an RCAF detachment of approximately 135 personnel and six CF-18 Hornet fighter jets. (Photo: Canadian Armed Forces)

The Canadian Armed Forces on September 3 received its readiness certification from the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) for Air Task Force – Romania, an enhanced air-policing mission under Operation REASSURANCE that officially began on September 5.

During this mission, a detachment from the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF), consisting of approximately 135 personnel and six CF-18 Hornet fighter jets, will help secure the skies over Romania until December 2020.

National Defence explains the Air Task Force will work with the Romanian Air Force under NATO command and control.  Operation REASSURANCE is Canada’s contribution to NATO assurance and deterrence measures. Air Task Force – Romania is the air component of that mission, which the Canadian Armed Forces has supported since 2014. This newest deployment is the fifth time Canada has sent a detachment to Romania in support of NATO’s enhanced air-policing.

“Every year, this Air Task Force provides a concrete example of Canada’s commitment to NATO’s collective defence,” said Major-General Eric Kenny, Commander 1 Canadian Air Division and Joint Forces Air Component Commander. “Air policing is a critical part of NATO’s mandate and is a mission our crews excel at, thanks to their training and experience with our own 24/7/365 NORAD mandate.”

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During the mission, National Defence explains Canadian fighter pilots, mostly from 433 Tactical Fighter Squadron (433 TFS), will hold a quick reaction alert posture to augment Romanian air-policing capabilities. They will also fly training missions together with the Romanian Air Force, as well as other regional Allies and partners. This will include patrolling Romanian air space and, if necessary, intercepting any aircraft that enter it without authorization.

“Having deployed on this mission in 2014, I know how much our pilots and entire Task Force benefit from this opportunity to work with our NATO allies,” said Lieutenant-Colonel David McLeod, Commander of Air Task Force – Romania. “Working alongside our NATO allies is critical to collective defence, but also provides an invaluable opportunity to learn from one another. I am honoured to be back as the Air Task Force Commander and I am looking forward to working and flying alongside our Romanian allies again.”