Canada’s Air Task Force concludes its NATO enhanced Air Policing mission in Romania

A Royal Canadian Air Force pilot gives a thumbs-up gesture from inside an aircraft before taxiing down the runway.
A CF-188 Hornet Royal Canadian Air Force pilot, currently deployed on Operation REASSURANCE in support of NATO enhanced Air Policing, gives the thumbs-up prior to taxiing down the runway at Mihail Kogalniceanu Air Base, Constanta, Romania on August 24, 2017. Photo: Sgt Daren Kraus

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

The members of Canada’s Air Task Force (ATF) in Romania completed their four-month deployment on support of Operation REASSURANCE on December 31, 2017. This deployment supported Block 45 of NATO enhanced Air Policing.

“This mission has been an outstanding opportunity and a point of pride for the entire ATF,” said Lieutenant-Colonel Mark Hickey, Commander Air Task Force-Romania. “It has been an honour to contribute to the NATO Alliance in such a meaningful way while working alongside our Romanian counterparts as we build even stronger ties.”

Throughout the mission, ATF-Romania (ATF-R) successfully built on Canada’s already strong and established relationships with Romania and its other NATO allies. ATF-R demonstrated Canada’s commitment to the NATO Readiness Action Plan, reassured Canada’s allies, and helped to support regional stability.

In addition to the enhanced Air Policing mission, the Air Task Force trained regularly with their Romanian hosts, covering a variety of specialties. These included medical support, flight safety, aircraft maintenance, command and control, and policing. ATF-R also conducted several activities in support of the local community.

“We worked hard to achieve everything we did, and we achieved a lot,” said Master Warrant Officer Todd Farrow, the ATF-R Fighter Detachment Warrant Officer.

“I think everyone is feeling really lucky, not only because of the chance to contribute to NATO, but because of the opportunities to participate in local traditions and celebrations with other Romanians,” he said, referring to the ATF’s participation in the National Day Parade in Bucharest on December 1, 2017.

The members of ATF-R took many opportunities to interact with NATO allies and the Romanian Armed Forces. These included visits to: Slovenia (with two ATF-R CF-188s); the Romanian Air Force (RomAF)’s 86th Air Base, complete with newly acquired F-16 Fighting Falcons; the RomAF Academy in Brasov; a Naval facility in Constanta; and the RomAF’s Combat Readiness Centre near Bucharest.

With the mission now complete, ATF-R’s four CF-188 Hornets have returned to Canada, and its personnel have headed home to their various wings and bases.

“The end of a mission is always a bittersweet moment,” said Lieutenant-Colonel Hickey. “Our Romanian hosts have been very gracious, and have treated us like family. The entire Air Task Force is very grateful for their support, and I am certain we will all look back on our time in Romania with fond memories.”
Operation REASSURANCE and its contribution to NATO’s enhanced Air Policing is a peacetime collective defence mission, which safeguards the integrity of the Alliance’s airspace. The CAF first deployed an ATF to Romania as part of Op REASSURANCE from April to August 2014 at the Romanian Air Force 71st Air Base in Campia Turzii.

Image gallery

  • Romanian soldiers stand next to an aircraft on a tarmac while other soldiers sit on the aircraft during training.
  • Three soldiers load a missile on an aircraft.
  • Soldiers stand on parade while two aircraft fly by in the air.
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