Canada’s Air Task Force – Romania begins 2020 NATO enhanced Air Policing mission

Nilgiri

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Nilgiri

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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.

The CF-18s were scrambled by NATO’s southern Combined Air Operations Centre at Torrejon, Spain after the Russian aircraft was detected by the Romanian Air Force’s Control and Reporting Centre. The Canadian fighter pilots carefully monitored the Russian aircraft until it left the Romanian flight information region.


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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.

The CF-18s were scrambled by NATO’s southern Combined Air Operations Centre at Torrejon, Spain after the Russian aircraft was detected by the Romanian Air Force’s Control and Reporting Centre. The Canadian fighter pilots carefully monitored the Russian aircraft until it left the Romanian flight information region.


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This kind of events have unfortunately turned into a routine movements in the Black Sea region. From the invasion over Crimea to these days Bulgaria is confirming same intensity of dangerous flights and interceptions. They are being identified by Romania and then escorted by Romanian, Bulgarian and Turkish fighter jets. Unfortunately the Bulgarian and Romanian air forces are not in their best shape. Romania is slowly upgrading the air fleet and Bulgaria purchased 8 new F-16 Block 70 to take the place of some aging MiG-29s but I think it is not enough. Romania is surely doing better but Bulgaria is falling behind when it comes to it's armed forces. It's good to see NATO members working coordinately and facing the threat together.
 

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The intercept of a Russian Su-27 Flanker by two CF-188 Hornets over the Black Sea on Sept. 23 might have been relatively straightforward, but it was a significant marker and confidence-booster for the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) detachment conducting enhanced air policing and training with the Romanian Air Force.

“It’s one of those things that really electrifies the morale of the task force,” admitted LCol David McLeod, Commander of Air Task Force-Romania, which began operations on Sept. 5 following a certification ceremony from NATO on Sept. 3 at Mihail Kogalniceanu Air Force Base.

“Once that first intercept is complete, it is easier to settle into the [mission]. You tick that box: we’ve been able to do what we came here to do. The pilots were amped up and our maintainers and everyone else on the detachment was really excited.”

The intercept was “fairly benign, which is what we expect to see from the professional aviators flying out of those other bases on the other side of the Black Sea,” said McLeod, who was one of the pilots on quick reaction alert (QRA) duty that day.

The two Hornets were tasked to interdict the Flanker by NATO’s southern Combined Air Operations Centre at Torrejon, Spain, after the Russian aircraft was detected by the Romanian Air Force’s Control and Reporting Centre. They made contact and identification over the Black Sea and tracked the SU-27 to the edge of the Romanian flight information region (FIR) without incident.

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