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” fighter aircraft 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.
This intercept was the first for the Air Task Force which started its mission earlier this month following a NATO certification ceremony on September 3, 2020.
“On September 23, our fighter pilots and support staff from Air Task Force Romania showed that they are capable of delivering exactly the type of support that NATO has asked for on this mission. In this case, our Air Task Force delivered on both assurance and deterrence missions in the same afternoon, intercepting a Russian SU-27 Flanker near Romanian airspace as well as training with our allies on a NATO exercise. This is a prime example of our Canadian aviators’ agility in delivering on multiple missions no matter the circumstance”, said Major-General Eric Kenny, Joint Forces Air Component Commander.
“We achieved exactly what Canadian pilots from Air Task Force Romania are expected to do, which is to ensure the integrity of the airspace of our NATO Ally, Romania. Taxiing in after the intercept, the whole Air Task Force was energized. This is what we are here for and morale is high when we get to use our skills for such an important mission as enhanced Air Policing. I am immensely proud of my team whose hard work made conducting simultaneous assurance and deterrence missions for NATO possible, especially so early in our deployment”, said Lieutenant-Colonel David McLeod, Commander of Air Task Force – Romania.
The Canadian Air Task Force is working with the Romanian Air Force as part of NATO’s enhanced Air Policing (eAP) mission, Canada’s contribution to NATO assurance and deterrence measures. During the mission, Canadian fighter pilots hold quick reaction alert (QRA) and fly training missions together with the Romanian Air Force, as well as other regional allies, to augment Romanian air policing capabilities. This includes patrolling Romanian air space and, if necessary, intercepting any aircraft that enter it without authorization.