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On Sept. 3, the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) Air Task Force – Romania (ATF-Romania) received their readiness certification from the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) during a certification ceremony held at the Romanian Air Force Base Mihail Kogalniceanu. This certification allowed the Task Force to officially begin their enhanced Air Policing mission under Operation Reassurance in Romania on Saturday, Sept. 5.
During this mission, the detachment from the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF), consisting of approximately 135 personnel and six CF-18 Hornet fighter jets, will help secure the skies over Romania until December 2020. The Air Task Force will work with the Romanian Air Force under NATO command and control as part of Operation Reassurance, which is Canada’s contribution to NATO assurance and deterrence measures.
Protection measures against COVID-19 were taken during the certification ceremony to ensure the health and safety of all present. While conducting their mission, the Air Task Force members are working alongside our regional partners and Allies in Romania, and taking all the necessary precautions to minimize the risk to the safety of our personnel and the local population. Despite the limitations of operating in a COVID-19 environment, the CAF have remained agile and able to conduct successful missions around the world, all while adhering to both domestic and host nation COVID-19 safety requirements.
“Every year, this Air Task Force provides a concrete example of Canada’s commitment to NATO’s collective defence,” said MGen Eric Kenny, Commander 1 Canadian Air Division and Joint Forces Air Component Commander. “Air Policing is a critical part of NATO’s mandate and is a mission our crews excel at, thanks to their training and experience with our own 24/7/365 NORAD mandate. I know they will take every opportunity to share their knowledge and learn from our Romanian and regional allies, as they help secure the Romanian skies.”
“Having deployed on this mission in 2014, I know how much our pilots and entire Task Force benefit from this opportunity to work with our NATO allies,” said LCol David McLeod, Commander of Air Task Force – Romania. “COVID-19 has not dulled the enthusiasm of the great team that comes with me and I know their knowledge and professionalism will be evident throughout the deployment. Working alongside our NATO allies is critical to collective defence but also provides an invaluable opportunity to learn from one another. I am honoured to be back as the Air Task Force Commander, and I am looking forward to working and flying alongside our Romanian allies again.”
- During the mission, Canadian fighter pilots, mostly from 433 Tactical Fighter Squadron (433 TFS), will hold a quick reaction alert posture to augment Romanian air policing capabilities. They will also fly training missions together with the Romanian Air Force, as well as other regional Allies and partners. This will include patrolling Romanian air space and, if necessary, intercepting any aircraft that enter it without authorization.
- Operation Reassurance is Canada’s contribution to NATO assurance and deterrence measures, which demonstrates Canada’s ability and willingness to react rapidly to international crises and to work side by side with its NATO Allies to reinforce NATO’s collective security. Air Task Force – Romania is the Air component of the mission.
- The Canadian Armed Forces have supported the mission since 2014, with this deployment marking the fifth time Canada has sent a detachment to Romania in support of NATO’s enhanced Air Policing.