The Royal Canadian Air Force Returns Home
The Royal Canadian Air Force Returns HomeYissachar Ruas

Last week a fighter contingent of F18s and Polaris tankers of the Royal Canadian Air Force returned to Canada following an almost 5 month deployment to Romania. This was not the RCAF’s first deployment to Romania, but it was the first following the Russian invasion of the Ukraine.

The Royal Canadian Air Force is a relatively small while an extremely potent force. Despite its relatively calm surroundings, the RCAF is a constant player in the European Theatre of operations. As an active NATO member, the RCAF deploys frequently to the continent. A contingent of RCAF CF-18s have deployed as part of NATO’s Air Policing Mission to Lithuania, Iceland and Romania in recent years. Its last deployment coming just last October to Romania. The RCAF’s previous major deployments provided insight to the Cold War type conflict Russia engages with its neighbors, such as flying towards the Kaliningrad enclave unannounced and probing. The RCAF’s last Air Policing Mission, was its last prior to the conflict, the deployment concluded on the cusp of the tensions between Russia and the Ukraine.

Royal Canadian Air Force
Royal Canadian Air ForceYissachar Ruas

This time around the RCAF contingent felt the elevated state of alertness within the NATO Alliance borders.

The RCAF as a rule of thumb, bases its aircraft movement on homegrown Tanker support. So whenever a directive is issued for RCAF CF-188s to be deployed across the Globe, there is almost certainly a Polaris contingent in a key role supporting the mission. Polaris Squadron known as “Husky” has supported all past missions to the NATO Alliance, piggy backing Hornets to Iceland, Lithuania and Romania.

During the recent Husky deployment to Romania there were several added elements. In addition to supporting the EAP (Enhanced Air Policing) role, the 437 squadron participated in Ex Thracian Viper supporting the RCAF contingent alongside the Romanian, Bulgarian and Greek Air Forces. The Exercise is meant to enhance interoperability between the forces with an emphasis on the Air Policing mission as well as Air to Ground missions.

With a safe return home it is hopeful that by the time the RCAF’s next deployment comes up, the War in Ukraine will have ended.

Royal Canadian Air Force
Royal Canadian Air ForceYissachar Ruas