The Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) 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. 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. 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.
“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. 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,” said the Air Task Force-Romania detachment commander, Lieutenant Colonel Stephen Latwaitis.
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 Constan?a on the Black Sea. 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.
The McDonnell Douglas CF-18 Hornet (official military designation CF-188) is a Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) variant of the American McDonnell Douglas F/A-18 Hornet fighter aircraft. In 1980, the F/A-18 was selected as the winner of the New Fighter Aircraft Project competition and awarded a production order; deliveries of the CF-18 to the Canadian Armed Forces began in 1982. CF-18s have supported North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) air sovereignty patrols and participated in combat. On 28 March 2022, The Canadian Government announced that they will enter advanced negotiations with Lockheed Martin for 88 F-35A Lightning II aircraft. The F-35 is the top bidder from the Future Fighter Capability Project, with Saab and their proposal, the JAS-39 Gripen coming in second.