Canadian jets ready for NATO air policing over Romania
Canadian CF-188 fighters are ready to begin NATO air policing patrols over Romania. At the Mihail Kogalniceanu Airbase on Thursday (31 August 2017), the detachment was certified to operate alongside the MiG-21s of their Romanian hosts. The Canadian detachment succeeds a deployment by the UK's Royal Air Force.
MIHAIL KOGALNICEANU, Romania – On August 31 NATO recognised full operational capability of the Royal Canadian Air Force detachment, deployed to Romania for NATO’s enhanced Air Policing mission. The Canadian CF-188 fighters are going to augment Romania’s Air Policing capabilities, securing the skies alongside Romanian MiG-21s.
"In augmenting an already credible Air Policing capability of the Romanian Air Force Canada and Romania stand shoulder to shoulder as close partners within NATO” says Brigadier General Scott Clancy, Director General Air Readiness of the Royal Canadian Air Force.
Lieutenant General Ruben Servert, Commander of CAOC Torrejon, presented the certificate to the Canadian detachment. He thanked the pilots and ground crews for their commitment, wishing them a successful mission and emphasized the importance of the mission for NATO’s Assurance Measures.
"The goal of implementing these Assurance Measures is to demonstrate the collective resolve of Allies, demonstrate the defensive nature of NATO and deter any aggression or threat of aggression against NATO Allies” states Lieutenant General Servert.
To receive full operational status by NATO, pilots and personnel have to undergo safety briefings, conduct familiarisation flights and ensure interoperability with their Romanian hosts and colleagues. Allied Air Command, NATO’s authority for all Integrated Air and Missile Defence matters, delegates the responsibility for the certification process to its southern Combined Air Operations Centre (CAOC) at Torrejon, Spain. As southern command and control unit for Air Policing, CAOC Torrejon is responsible for all NATO airspace south of the Alps, including Romania.
The enhanced Air Policing mission is part of NATO’s Assurance Measures, implemented after Russia’s illegal and illegitimate annexation of the Crimean peninsula in 2014. Allies’ augmentation of Romania’s own Air Policing capabilities sends a clear message of NATO’s resolve, commitment and solidarity to its Eastern Allies. Romania has successfully and professionally conducted its own Air Policing under NATO control and standards since its accession in 2004. Preceding the Canadian deployment, the mission was successfully conducted by a detachment from the Royal Air Force. Currently a detachment of the Italian Air Force is conducting the same mission in Bulgaria, underlining NATO’s capability, vigilance and high degree of interoperability among forces.