Canada Hosts International Air Forces During Exercise Maple Flag 2012

CFB COLD LAKE, Alta. ─ The pilots, crews and air­craft of sev­er­al nations are fly­ing along­side mem­bers of the Roy­al Cana­di­an Air Force (RCAF) in an inter­na­tion­al live-fly mil­i­tary exer­cise host­ed by 4 Wing Cold Lake through­out the month of June.

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“Through our lead­er­ship in inter­na­tion­al oper­a­tions over Libya and in Afghanistan, we have demon­strat­ed our com­mit­ment to glob­al peace and secu­ri­ty,” said the Hon­ourable Peter MacK­ay, Min­is­ter of Nation­al Defence. “This major exer­cise is an exten­sion of the respon­si­bil­i­ty we have to both Cana­di­ans, and to our allies, and it serves to ensure our com­bined readi­ness when respond­ing to today’s evolv­ing secu­ri­ty threats.” 

Known as Exer­cise Maple Flag since it began in 1978, the exer­cise allows air force per­son­nel from dif­fer­ent nations to devel­op their inter­op­er­abil­i­ty by sim­u­lat­ing a Unit­ed Nations air cam­paign against a high­ly-capa­ble ene­my. A full spec­trum of capa­bil­i­ties will be exer­cised, includ­ing com­mand and con­trol, air-to-air and air-to-ground oper­a­tions, air-to-air refu­elling, air­borne warn­ing and con­trol, air trans­port, rotary-wing tac­ti­cal air­lift, and intel­li­gence, sur­veil­lance and recon­nais­sance. The abil­i­ty of air forces to inte­grate with land forces will also be incor­po­rat­ed into the exercise. 

“This exer­cise is key to assur­ing the oper­a­tional readi­ness of the RCAF, encom­pass­ing mod­ern com­bat, joint ser­vice with­in the Cana­di­an Forces, and multi­na­tion­al coor­di­na­tion and coop­er­a­tion,” said Major-Gen­er­al Alain Par­ent, Com­man­der of 1 Cana­di­an Air Divi­sion and the oper­a­tional com­man­der of the RCAF. “We are solid­i­fy­ing our own lessons learned from recent oper­a­tions over­seas, as well as cement­ing inter­op­er­abil­i­ty and tac­ti­cal-lev­el insight with our allies.” 

This year’s Maple Flag also includes Exer­cise Winged War­rior, thus incor­po­rat­ing addi­tion­al train­ing oppor­tu­ni­ties for non-fight­er air­craft and land forces. 

Nations par­tic­i­pat­ing in Maple Flag/Winged War­rior 2012 include Aus­tria, Brazil, France, Ger­many, the Nether­lands, New Zealand, the Repub­lic of Sin­ga­pore, the Unit­ed States, and the Unit­ed King­dom, as well as NATO par­tic­i­pa­tion. Observ­er nations include Argenti­na, Chile, Colum­bia, India, Japan, Mex­i­co, Oman, the Repub­lic of Korea, South Africa, and Uruguay. 

Cana­di­an Forces par­tic­i­pat­ing units include air ele­ments from 14 Wing Green­wood, N.S., 3 Wing Bagotville, Que., Cana­di­an Forces Base (CFB) Val­carti­er, Que., 8 Wing Tren­ton, Ont., 17 Wing Win­nipeg, Man., and 19 Wing Comox, B.C., as well as the 3rd Bat­tal­ion Princess Patricia’s Cana­di­an Light Infantry out of Edmon­ton, Alta. 

Exer­cise Maple Flag in var­i­ous forms has been con­duct­ed since 1978, and has occurred annu­al­ly since 1987, oth­er than in 1991 due to Gulf War I, 1999 due to the Koso­vo Con­flict, and in 2011 due to oper­a­tions over Libya. Exer­cise Winged War­rior began in 1981 as a live-fly, live-fire exer­cise and devel­oped more recent­ly into a mul­ti-pur­pose syn­thet­ic exer­cise to achieve a state of high oper­a­tional readi­ness for participants. 

Depart­ment of Nation­al Defence, Canada 

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