The Canadian Armed Forces’ Air Task Force (ATF) in Romania completed its four-month mission in support of Operation REASSURANCE just before the turn of the new year.
On Dec. 31, ATF-Romania ended its mission which included the support of Block 45 of NATO enhanced Air Policing (eAP). The Air Task Force had been supporting the 45th rotation of NATO eAP since Sept. 2017.
ATF-Romania was comprised of 135 CAF members mainly from 2 Air Expeditionary Wing, Bagotville, and 4 Wing, Cold Lake, and were supported by personnel from several other Wings and Bases across Canada.
“Canada and Romania are close partners within NATO. The Canadian Armed Forces is proud to have participated in cooperative defence activities in support of NATO enhanced Air Policing in Romania. I congratulate the men and women of Air Task Force-Romania for their professionalism, hard work, dedication to the mission, and for projecting the best of what Canada has to offer,” said LGen. Stephen Bowes, Commander Canadian Joint Operations Command.
Along with its eAP mission, ATF-Romania, which consisted of four CF-18 Hornet fighter jets, conducted training with its Romanian hosts. Training included medical support, flight safety, aircraft maintenance, command and control, and military policing.
The Air Task Force’s CF-18 Crews trained alongside Romanian Air Force MiG-21s, F-16s and Puma helicopters. They also had a chance to train with other international allies including Portuguese F-16s, US Army Blackhawk helicopters and NATO airborne warning and control systems (AWACs). The CF-18 crews also trained with French and Romanian vessels in the Black Sea.
ATF-Romania also visited many Romanian Armed Forces bases and installations, including their Combat Readiness Centre, the newly renovated 86th Air Base with its F-16 Fighting Falcon fighter aircraft, a training academy for new aircrew, and several headquarters, in an effort to exchange best practices. In late September, a small contingent also visited Slovenia.
During their mission, ATF-Romania also completed several charitable activities in support of local communities, including delivering donations to an orphanage.
“This mission has been an outstanding opportunity and a point of pride for the entire Air Task Force. 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. Our Romanian hosts have been very gracious, and have treated us like family—the entire Air Task Force is very grateful for their support,” said LCol. Mark Hickey, Commander Air Task Force-Romania.