September 01, 2014 - The Canadian Air Task Force (ATF) officially joined NATO’s Baltic Air Policing (BAP) mission following a hand-over ceremony today in Siauliai, Lithuania, as Canada continues to promote security and stability in Central and Eastern Europe in the face of increasing Russian hostility.
While participating in BAP, four CF-188 Hornet aircraft and more than 130 airmen and airwomen from the Royal Canadian Air Force will work with NATO Allies from September to December 2014, in order to preserve the integrity of the airspace of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, and react to any intrusions.
The Canadian ATF recently relocated to Siauliai, Lithuania, from Campia Turzii, Romania, where they had conducted training with their NATO Allies from early May until August 22. The Canadian ATF arrived in Siauliai on August 26.
Based on the operational requirements for the BAP mission, four of the CF-188 Hornets which deployed to Romania were relocated to Lithuania to participate in BAP. The two remaining Canadian aircraft will remain in Europe. The decision about the number of Canadian aircraft required for participation in BAP was made following planning and coordination with NATO and Canada’s Allies.
Baltic Air Policing is an important activity undertaken by NATO allies to preserve the integrity of NATO European airspace and safeguard NATO nations from air-based threats.
Portugal, Netherlands, Germany and Canada are all contributed forces to the BAP mission. Canada and Portugal will be operating side by side out of Siauliai Air Base in Lithuania.
The Canadian ATF based in Lithuania is composed of personnel from 2 Wing Bagotville, 3 Wing Bagotville, 4 Wing Cold Lake, 8 Wing Trenton, 14 Wing Greenwood, 17 Wing Winnipeg, and 22 Wing North Bay. These personnel include aircrew and personnel who provide operational support to air assets, such as force protection, intelligence, aerospace management and maintenance coordination.
“In the wake of increased military aggression from Russia, Baltic Air Policing is a demonstration of Allied solidarity and NATO’s dedication to the security of its members. Canada is proud to support stability in the region by participating in this important mission.”
Canadian Air Task Force begins Baltic Air Policing mission