Canada’s contribution to NATO enhanced Air Policing
On August 31, 2017 Canada officially replaced the United Kingdom to conduct enhanced Air Policing alongside its Romanian Allies to preserve the integrity of NATO countries sovereign airspace. Canada’s 2 Air Expeditionary Wing in Bagotville sent an “AFAST” to prepare for the arrival of Operation REASSURANCE’s Air Task Force ( ATF) Commander, main body and CF- 188 Hornet Air Detachment from Cold Lake. On August 11, 33 members of the Airfield Activation Surge Team ( AFAST) departed Canadian Forces Base Bagotville destined for Romania. The task was to activate the Canadian camp at the Romanian Air Forces’ 57th Airbase Mihail Kogalcineanu Airport for Air Task Force Romania ( ATFR) which would follow. The AFAST concept works well. Essentially, a Command Team leads an Operational Support Element, a Force Protection Element, and a Mission Support Element to surge forward and prepare the ground for the follow- on ATF Main Body which includes the Air Detachment. An AFAST is a team with air expeditionary skill sets focused on preparing and enabling air power. Being part of this AFAST as part of the Canadian Armed Forces Operation REAS- SURANCE was a very exciting mission for the 2 Air Expeditionary Squadron members, 2 Wing units and the 409 Squadron Nighthawks. First on the ground always provides steady challenges and endless opportunities for creative solutions. Through the diligence of our members, their creative solutions and the infectious positivity, we were able to achieve initial operating capability with no delay, and I was proud of the team. When the CF‑188’ s arrived, it was clear Royal Canadian Air Force Air Power had arrived. We were no longer an AFAST – we were an ATF.