Canadian Army, Royal Canadian Air Force, and the United States Army personnel are currently engaged in Exercise VIKING TALON in Petawawa from May 9-16. The purpose of the exercise is to ensure the partnered militaries can plan and execute joint air assaults.
“The U.S and Canada have enjoyed a very long co-operative history but that doesn’t mean our militaries are necessarily completely interoperable. So, this kind of training is really important because we do work together all over the world on a regular basis and it’s really important that we take the opportunities to make sure, although our militaries are similar, that we do work together from time to time to help promote that interoperability,” said Lt. Daniel Mazurek, Public Affairs Officers 2 CMBG.
Units involved in the exercise consist of 450 Tactical Helicopter Squadron, based in Petawawa; 438 Tactical Helicopter Squadron, based in St-Hubert, Quebec; 3rd Battalion, The Royal Canadian Regiment based in Petawawa; and elements of the 82nd Airborne and 82nd Combat Aviation Brigade out of Fort Bragg, North Carolina.
Both Canadian and American Forces have brought in various helicopters for the training including American Chinooks, Blackhawks, the new RCAF CH-147 Chinooks and RCAF Griffon helicopters.
The exercises will include air mobile assaults and paradrops to insert soldiers onto a battlefield.
“Soldiers will be]Using those helicopters to insert soldiers into a battlefield either by parachute, actually having them jump out the back, or through air mobile assaults which would be delivering them by helicopters. So, the helicopter is tactically landing and offloading their soldiers,” stated Mazurek.
Exercises, such as this, ensure that both Canadian and American Forces can work seamlessly together on missions around the world while providing the two militaries with a chance to learn from each other.
“When we train like this there’s an immense amount of learning that happens on both sides, not just as we learn each other’s practices and standard operating procedures, but also things that work well that maybe one nation was doing better than the other,” added Mazurek.