MIHAIL KOGALNICEANU, Romania – The Royal Canadian Air Force CF-18 fighter detachment deployed to Romania in support of NATO’s enhanced Air Policing on the Black Sea shores is completing their mission and ready to redeploy to Canada in early December.
Since 2014, Canada has consistently supported NATO’s enhanced Air Policing mission and showcased the strong transatlantic bond within the Alliance and our commitment to collective security
“After four months here at Mihail Kogalniceanu Air Base we have had the opportunity to work alongside our Romanian colleagues and several Allies and conducting interoperability training enhancing NATO’s collective assurance and deterrence on the southeastern flank,” said the Air Task Force-Romania detachment commander, Lieutenant Colonel Stephen Latwaitis.
During the deployment, the pilots of the 180-strong CF-18 detachment have flown nearly 500 sorties supported by the members of the task force representing bases from across Canada including from the Royal Canadian Navy, Army and Air Force.
Four Royal Canadian Air Force CF-18 fighter jets and 180 service members from across the Canadian Armed Forces conducted NATO's enhanced Air Policing in Romania from August to November 2022. Photo by Yissachar Ruas.
The Canadian jets were on stand-by to launch quick reaction alert sorties alongside the Romanian F-16s when directed by the Combined Air Operations Centre at Torrejón Spain, and controlled by the Control and Reporting Centre in Bucharest Photo by Eric Chaput.
The Canadian CF-18s supported numerous operational sorties, training events and exercise demonstrating the NATO interoperability amongst the Allies in the region - photo from a recovery exercise by Eric Chaput.
Stronger together - the Canadian CF-18 detachment (left) is replaced by an Italian Eurofighter detachment (right) who will continue the NATO mission with the Romanian Air Force until August 2023. Photo by Eric Chaput.
“We were on stand-by to launch quick reaction alert sorties when directed by the Combined Air Operations Centre at Torrejón Spain, and controlled by the Control and Reporting Centre (CRC) in Bucharest. We had liaison officers embedded in the CRC that worked daily with their Romanian counterparts” added Lieutenant Colonel Latwaitis.
The Canadian CF-18s supported numerous operational sorties, training events and exercise demonstrating the NATO interoperability amongst the Allies in the region underscoring NATO’s transatlantic bond. Exercise highlights were Thracian Viper in Bulgaria, Olympic Cooperation in Greece and Neptune Strike over Romania working with a United States carrier strike group.
Canadian fighter detachments have been a regular sight in the skies above the city of Constanța on the Black Sea. “Since 2014 with the beginning of NATO’s enhanced Air Policing in the country, Canada has consistently supported this mission and showcased the strong transatlantic bond within the Alliance and our commitment to collective security,” Lieutenant Colonel Latwaitis added.
This is the seventh time the CAF have deployed an ATF to Romania on Op REASSURANCE. The first time was in 2014 in Campia Turzii, then in Mihail Kogalniceanu Air Base in 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021, and now 2022.
From December 1 on, an Italian Air Force detachment will fly Eurofighters out of Mihail Kogalniceanu Air Base for their contribution of the enhanced Air Policing mission.
Since 2014, the enhanced Air Policing mission has assured the Allied populations of NATO’s enduring commitment to collective deterrence and defence. It demonstrates the Alliance is capable and willing to sustain a strong and robust posture along the entire Eastern flank.