Canada’s Air Task Force (ATF)-Romania has completed its four-month deployment with the North American Treaty Organization’s (NATO’s) enhanced Air Policing in Romania. ATF-Romania is the air component of Operation Reassurance, Canada’s contribution to NATO’s assurance and deterrence measures in Central and Eastern Europe, a release from the Royal Canadian Air Force reads.
“The Canadian Armed Forces has been actively participating alongside our NATO Allies in measures to maintain security and stability in Central and Eastern Europe,” said Lieutenant-General Michael Rouleau, Commander Canadian Joint Operations Command. “As a member of NATO, Canada contributes in keeping the Alliance’s airspace safe and secure, and once again fulfilled its commitment to the NATO Air Policing mission through the hard work of Air Task Force Romania members.”
ATF-Romania is composed of about 135 Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) personnel and five CF-18 Hornets. The members of ATF-Romania are mainly from 425 Tactical Fighter Squadron, supported by personnel primarily from 2 Air Expeditionary Wing and 3 Wing Bagotville, Québec.
As outlined in its defence policy, “Strong, Secure, Engaged”, Canada is committed to the principle of collective defence of the Alliance, which is at the very heart of NATO’s founding treaty. The ATF-Romania mission demonstrates that Canada takes seriously its responsibility to contribute to efforts to deter aggression by potential adversaries in all domains.
“Enabling Canada’s commitment to NATO is an important part of our mandate to deliver air power to all CAF missions around the world,” Major-General Christian Drouin, Commander 1 Canadian Air Division, said. “1 Canadian Air Division has been proud to support this mission over the past several months. I am incredibly proud of what the women and men of Air Task Force Romania have achieved.”
Following its mission completion, ATF-Romania’s CF-18 Hornets and its personnel will return to Canada in January 2019. This is Canada’s third ATF deployment to Romania on Operation REASSURANCE. The ATF first deployed from April to August 2014 to the Romanian Air Force 71st Air Base in Campia Turzii, and from September to December 2017 to Constanta.
In addition to the enhanced Air Policing mission, Air Task Force members conducted regular training with their Romanian counterparts, including flight operations, medical support, flight safety, aircraft maintenance, command and control, and military policing.
“The region around the Black Sea is very active for Air Defence, and our Air Task Force was proud to assist the Romanian Air Force and NATO with Air Policing in this busy region,” said Lieutenant-Colonel Tim Woods, Commander Air Task Force-Romania. “We were able to share some best practices with our Romanian Allies, and to train for potential future operations together.”
NATO’s enhanced Air Policing is a peacetime collective defence mission, which safeguards the integrity of the Alliance’s airspace. It is part of NATO assurance and deterrence measures introduced in 2014.
The CAF has previously deployed an ATF to Lithuania, as part of NATO Baltic Air Policing from September to December 2014, and to Iceland, as part of Iceland Air Policing from May to June 2017.