Air Task Force – Romania visits the Republic of Slovenia

Canadian Armed Forces pilots walk towards the CF-188 Hornet aircraft on the tarmac at Cerklje Air Force Base, Slovenia on 21 September 2017 during a bilateral defence visit as part of an outreach activity for Operation REASSURANCE. Image by: Sergeant Daren Kraus

Canadian Armed Forces pilots walk towards the CF-188 Hornet aircraft on the tarmac at Cerklje Air Force Base, Slovenia on 21 September 2017 during a bilateral defence visit as part of an outreach activity for Operation REASSURANCE. Image by: Sergeant Daren Kraus

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By Captain Mathew Strong, Air Task Force – Romania Public Affairs

Members of the Canadian Armed Forces’ (CAF) Air Task Force (ATF) in Romania visited Cerklje ob Krki Military Airport in Slovenia from September 20 to 21, 2017.

As part of Operation REASSURANCE, the CAF sent two CF-18 Hornet fighter aircraft to Slovenia to conduct a bilateral defence cooperation visit. The aim of the visit was to share ideas and experiences, and enhance transatlantic links in the way we address common security challenges.

“As we deepen our already excellent bilateral relations through increased military cooperation and enhanced economic opportunities, I am confident that the best is yet to come,” said Ambassador of Canada to Hungary, Slovenia and Bosnia and Herzegovina, Ms. Isabelle Poupart.

The Slovenian Armed Forces (SAF) are currently engaged as part of NATO’s enhanced Forward Presence Canadian-led battlegroup in Latvia. The CAF consider this partnership as a clear demonstration of solidarity and our ability to defend Allied territory against potential aggression.

During the visit, the CF-18s conducted an extended landing sequence, providing a brief glimpse of the Hornet’s capabilities. Shortly after landing, Major Kevin Foster, Officer Commander of the Fighter Detachment for Air Task Force – Romania, and his crew provided a brief tour of the CF-18 to the attending media and dignitaries.

The media visit included speeches from Ambassador Poupart; Jelko Kacin, Slovenian Permanent Representative to NATO; and Major General Alan Geder, Deputy Chief of the General Staff. It was followed by a brief question and answer period.

“I am convinced that today’s visit by representatives of the Canadian Armed Forces confirms the readiness of our two countries to enter into broader and deeper cooperation in the fields of defense and military operations well into the future,” said Major General Geder.

The visiting CAF members received an extensive tour and briefing of SAF operations at the 15th Wing, located at Cerklje ob Krki Military Airport. Tours included an up close look at their fleet of Pilatus PC-9s, and their Canadian-built fleet of Bell 412 helicopters, which are nearly identical to the CAF’s fleet of CH-146 Griffon helicopters.

This is the first time the CAF have sent CF-18s to Slovenia in several years, and the first time the Air Task Force (ATF) in Romania has deployed outside of their normal area of operations since arriving in Romania in late August.

The ATF in Romania is deployed in support of Block 45 of NATO enhanced Air Policing, a NATO assurance and deterrence measure first introduced in 2014.

Image gallery

  • A group photo at the air traffic control tower, at Cerklje Air Force Base, Slovenia on September 20, 2017 during Canada's bilateral defence cooperation visit to Slovenia. 
Front row (L-R) Ms. Vera Alexander, Deputy Permanent Representative to the Joint Delegation of Canada to NATO, Isabelle Poupart, Ambassador to Hungary, Slovenia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Chief Warrant Officer (CWO) Debbie Martens, Air Task Force (ATF) Romania CWO, Captain Mat Strong, ATF Romania Public Affairs Officer, Major-General Alan Geder, Slovenian Deputy Chief of the General Staff, Jelko Kacin, Slovenian Permanent Representative to NATO. Back row (L-R) Corporal Matthew Muise, Sergeant Michael Breen, Master Corporal  Ameekpal Singh, Corporal Lauren Chambers-Anderson, Warrant Officer Dean Gullacher, all members of ATF Romania currently deployed on Operation REASSURANCE in support of NATO enhanced Air Policing.
  • Major Slavko Majcen, Slovenian Air Force, briefs Major Kevin Foster, Air Task Force Romania Fighter Detachment Officer Commanding, on the capabilities of the Pilatus PC9 aircraft, at Cerklje Air Force Base, Slovenia, on September 21, 2017 during a bilateral defence cooperation visit. Image by: Sergeant Daren Kraus
  • Canadian Armed Forces pilots walk towards the CF-188 Hornet aircraft on the tarmac at Cerklje Air Force Base, Slovenia on 21 September 2017 during a bilateral defence visit as part of an outreach activity for Operation REASSURANCE. Image by: Sergeant Daren Kraus
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