ARC Freedom ready for another trip toward Europe fully loaded with US military equipment.
Five pilots from 409 Squadron and their five CF-18 Hornets departed 4 Wing Cold Lake Wednesday, Aug. 16 for Romania.
Part of the mission will include air policing while the other part will focus on training and engagement with the Romanian Air Force (RoAF). These duties will alternate on a weekly basis.
Wing Commander Col. Paul Doyle commented that this deployment is related to Russian activity in the Black Sea.
“The Black Sea is an active area and it’s active because of the events that transpired in Crimea with the NATO response to the illegal annexation of Crimea on the part of the Russians,” Doyle said. “We stand together as an alliance towards this. We see the Russians are flying in the Black Sea because there are NATO ships that are in the Black Sea.”
Doyle explained that the role of the pilots while conducting air policing missions will be to demonstrate a presence in the area and escort Russian planes back to their air space.
“It’s a presence to show that we have the capacity and the capability to be there close to what’s going on,” Doyle explained. “We don’t do anything aggressive. You maintain a decent amount of separation from the aircraft and it’s understood what we’re doing when we do that.”
The pilots will be flying with the Romanians that are based out of Constanta, located on the Black Sea coast. It is the oldest continuously inhabited city in Romania, founded around 600 BC.
The United Kingdom’s Royal Air Force has been in Romania since April and 409 Squadron will be relieving them.
One of the pilots explained that this is a NATO commitment through Operation Reassurance meant to reassure Canada’s allies of NATO solidarity.
The total number of Canadians in Romania will be 130.
The trip to Romania began with a flight to Bagotville, Que., where the pilots will spend one day. Then they fly to Prestwick, Scotland, and finally over to Constanta, Romania. Given the stops in each city to become accustomed to the time change, and in case of poor weather, the pilots expect to arrive Aug. 20.
Mayor Craig Copeland and Member of Parliament David Yurdiga were present to wish the pilots well before they deployed.
“What the base here is all about is not only protecting Canada but to go over where there’s issues in the world,” Mayor Copeland said. “We’ve got the best pilots in all of the world right here in Canada so we’re proud and you know our thoughts and prayers are with them when they’re there overseas, no matter what mission they’re on.”
The mission itself begins Sept. 1 and will continue until Dec. 31.
US Military overseas operation ongoing on daily basis, hard to say where these vehicles will be transported, too many options open, just wait and check Ro-Ro Cape Victory AIS updates on Marine Traffic.
Officially these vehicles are bound for Europe, Atlantic Resolve operation.
Exactly the same US “Number 14” tanks we saw yesterday in Hungary, come into sight today in Poland near the Ukrainian border.
Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin had to scrap a trip to Moldova on Friday after his plane was barred from entering Romanian and Hungarian airspace.
Rogozin told Russian news agencies that he and other Russian officials were traveling on a commercial flight to the Moldovan capital of Chisinau when the plane was denied passage over Romania or Hungary, both European Union members. It had to land in the Belarusian capital of Minsk because it was running out of fuel.
The deputy prime minister is one of the most senior Russian officials slapped with an EU visa ban in 2014 following Russia’s annexation of Crimea.
Rogozin told the Interfax news agency that he started using commercial flights after Romanian authorities closed their airspace to his chartered flight in 2014.
Romania’s foreign ministry confirmed on Friday that authorities had not allowed Rogozin to enter the country’s airspace.
In a tweet later Friday, Rogozin said Romanian authorities “put lives of the passengers, women and children at risk” by forcing the plane to divert. He issued a warning for the Romanian government: “You wait for an answer, bastards!”
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The exchange of briefings on military exercises between Russia and NATO is not enough for deescalation, this requires the restoration of fully-fledged contacts between military officials, Russia’s envoy to NATO Alexander Grushko said Thursday.
“If we talk seriously about deescalation, the prevention of dangerous military incidents, such briefings, even at the ambassadorial level, will not be enough,” Grushko told reporters.
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The United States deployed a battery of Patriot long-range anti-aircraft missiles in Lithuania to be used in NATO wargames from Tuesday – the first time the advanced defence system has been brought to the Baltics where Russia has air superiority.