Above Image: A Royal Canadian Airforce CF-188 Hornet aircraft takes off during Operation REASSURANCE– Air Task Force Romania on November 7, 2019 at the Mihail Kogӑlniceanu Airbase. Photo: LS Erica Seymour, 4 Wing Imaging.
Two Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) CF-18 Hornet fighter jets from Operation REASSURANCE’s Air Task Force Romania intercepted a Russian SU-27 Flanker operating near Romanian airspace over the Black Sea on September 23, 2020.
NATO’s southern Combined Air Operations Centre at Torrejon, Spain, scrambled the CF-18s after the Romanian Air Force’s Control and Reporting Centre detected the Russian aircraft. The Canadian fighter pilots carefully monitored the Russian aircraft until it left the Romanian flight information region.
“Our Air Task Force delivered on both assurance and deterrence missions in the same afternoon, intercepting a Russian SU-27 Flanker near Romanian airspace as well as training with our allies on a NATO exercise. This is a prime example of our Canadian aviators’ agility in delivering on multiple missions no matter the circumstance,” Major-General Eric Kenny, Joint Forces Air Component Commander proudly stated.
This intercept was the first for the Air Task Force, which started its mission earlier this month following a NATO certification ceremony on September 3rd, 2020.
The Canadian Air Task Force is working with the Romanian Air Force as part of NATO’s enhanced Air Policing (eAP) mission, Canada’s contribution to NATO assurance and deterrence measures.
Operation REASSURANCE demonstrates Canada’s ability and willingness to react rapidly to international crises and to work with its NATO Allies to reinforce NATO’s collective security. Air Task Force, Romania is the Air component of the mission.
During the mission, Canadian fighter pilots hold quick reaction alert and fly training missions together with the Romanian Air Force, as well as other regional allies, to augment Romanian air policing capabilities. This includes patrolling Romanian air space and, if necessary, intercepting any aircraft that enter it without authorization.
“We achieved exactly what Canadian pilots from Air Task Force Romania are expected to do, which is to ensure the integrity of the airspace of our NATO Ally, Romania. Taxiing in after the intercept, the whole Air Task Force was energized. This is what we are here for, and morale is high when we get to use our skills for such an important mission as enhanced Air Policing,” says Lieutenant-Colonel David McLeod, Commander of Air Task Force, Romania.
While conducting their mission, the Air Task Force members are taking all the necessary precautions to decrease the risk to the safety of personnel and the local population. The CAF has been successfully conducting missions around the world, all while following COVID-19 safety requirements.