Tags: Operations & Exercises
By Captain Mathew Strong, Air Task Force – Romania Public Affairs
The Canadian Armed Forces’ (CAF) Air Task Force (ATF) in Romania was certified mission ready by NATO’s Combined Air Operations Centre – Torrejon during a ceremony on Thursday, August 31, 2017.
This certification confirms the CAF is now ready to begin flight operations in support of NATO enhanced Air Policing mission in the region. ATF Romania is supporting Romania in policing its airspace from September to December 2017.
Dignitaries from Canada, Romania and NATO attended the event, which included a short parade with personnel from both the RCAF and the Romanian Armed Forces, including the 30th Honor Guard Regiment “Mihai Viteazul” from Bucharest, Romania.
“The Royal Canadian Air Force is here today to fulfill the goals of NATO`s assurance and deterrence measures by augmenting the Romanian Air Force. They will, as two nations under NATO, conduct Air Policing of Romanian airspace,” said Lieutenant-General Ruben Servert, Commander Combined Air Operations Centre – Torrejon.
“We are ready to start contributing both our expertise and capabilities to the already robust air policing capabilities of the Romanian Air Force,” said Lieutenant-Colonel Mark Hickey, Commander of ATF Romania.
Members of the ATF and the Romanian Armed Forces stood on parade as the ceremony unfolded, receiving a brief inspection from the general officers and dignitaries in attendance.
Speeches were delivered by Lieutenant-General Servert; Director General Air Readiness of the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF), Brigadier-General Scott Clancy; the Canadian Ambassador to Romania, Bulgaria and Moldova, Mr. Kevin Hamilton; and the Romanian Minister of National Defence, Adrian Tutuianu. Afterwards, two CF-188 Hornets conducted a flypast along with two F-16s and two MIG-21s from the Romanian Air Force.
At the end of the ceremony, the attending dignitaries were invited to tour a static display of a CF-18 Hornet and a MIG-21.
The ATF in Romania is deployed in support of Block 45 of NATO enhanced Air Policing. The 135-personnel-strong Canadian Air Task Force has its largest representation from 409 Tactical Fighter Squadron in 4 Wing Cold Lake, and 2 Air Expeditionary Wing in Bagotville, QC. However, its members are also from nearly all other wings and bases across the CAF, which brings strength and diversity to this large group of professionals.
Enhanced Air Policing is part of NATO assurance and deterrence measures introduced in 2014. The CAF previously supported this mission in Lithuania in 2014 and in Iceland earlier in 2017.
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.