MIHAIL KOGALNICEANU AIR BASE, Romania – Four Royal Air Force (RAF) Typhoon fighter aircraft departed Romania on 28 August, ending the UK's five-month leadership of NATO's enhanced Air Policing mission in the country. Since April the Typhoons had spent alternate weeks on high-readiness standby to safeguard NATO's airspace over the Black Sea, augmenting the Romanian Air Force's existing Air Policing capability.
The Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) is now preparing to assume responsibility for the NATO mission, while two of the RAF's Typhoons proceed to Estonia to join NATO training with the British Army.
The Typhoons launched once in response to Russian air activity over the Black Sea, and flew more than 280 sorties to support NATO training with Romanian, Hungarian and Bulgarian armed forces. Towards the end of tour of duty, eight of its personnel were awarded the Romanian Air Force's highest peacetime honour for their work in the country.
"As we hand over NATO duties to our colleagues in the Royal Canadian Air Force, the men and women of my detachment can be proud of what we have achieved. In our five months here, we were ambassadors for the RAF," said Commanding Officer, Wing Commander Andy Coe. "We learned much from our Romanian friends, even as we passed on our experience to them and to our other allies in the region. It's been a privilege to lead a team who have embraced NATO's principles with complete enthusiasm and dedication," he added.
The RCAF's enhanced Air Policing detachment, comprising 135 specialists from across the Canadian Armed Forces, is preparing for a vital NATO certification on 31 August with Combined Air Operations Centre Torrejon, Spain. Four RCAF CF-188 Hornet fighter aircraft arrived in Romania on 20 August, and will be patrolling the skies shortly after the NATO certification.
Story by Royal Air Force Detachment Public Affairs Officer