Tags: Operations & Exercises
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.