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RCAF hosts largest and most complex training exercise in Cold Lake

The fifteenth iteration of Exercise MAPLE FLAG is currently underway in Cold Lake, AB.

The largest and most complex Royal Canadian Air Force exercise, Exercise MAPLE FLAG is taking place between May 29 and June 23 primarily at the Cold Lake Air Weapons Range.

Nearly 1,600 Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) personnel and more than 500 personnel from allied and partner nations are taking part in the exercise.

“Exercise MAPLE FLAG, and those like it, enables the RCAF to continue its history of generating world-class air power. This exercise is a great opportunity to enhance our agility, reach, and power while integrating with our domestic joint partners and allies,” said MGen. Christian Drouin, Commander, 1 Canadian Air Division and the Canadian NORAD Region.

Allied partners taking part in this year’s Exercise MAPLE FLAG include the United States Air Force, the United States Air Force Reserve, the United States Marine Corps., the French Air Force, the Republic of Singapore Air Force, and the British Army.

Aircraft part of this exercise include CF-18 Hornet Fighters, CH-147F Chinook helicopters, CH-146 Griffon helicopters, CC-130J Super Hercules transport aircraft, CC-130T Hercules air-to-air refuelling and transport aircraft, and contracted Dornier Alpha Jets.

Additionally, the United States is supplying F-16 Falcon fighters and E-3 Sentry airborne command and control aircraft; France is contributing A400M heavy tactical airlift aircraft and E-3 Sentry airborne command and control aircraft, and the Republic of Singapore is contributing F-16 Falcon fighters.

The aim of this exercise is to sharpen a multitude of skills within a challenging operating environment that will enable participants to become an Agile and Integrated force, with the Reach and Power (AIRPower) to achieve the mission.

In recent years, Exercise MAPLE FLAG has started to host elements of joint forces training, like the 1 Wing-led Helicopter Advanced Tactical Aviation Course supported in part by the Canadian Army.

Exercise MAPLE FLAG prepares Canadian and international aircrew, maintenance, and support personnel for the rigours of operations in the modern aerial battlespace.

“We are proud to once again host Exercise MAPLE FLAG in support of our Canadian and international partners and allies. The personnel of 4 Wing and CFB Cold Lake have been working hard over the past year to plan this incredible, fully immersive training opportunity. To prepare ourselves for real world combat, we must practice our combined capabilities in a large force, realistic environment, something Exercise MAPLE FLAG allows us to do,” said Col. Paul Doyle, Commander 4 Wing Cold Lake.


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Mishall Rehman

Originally from Atlanta, GA, Mishall is a freelance journalist pursuing her passion for writing in her new homeland Canada. She currently lives in Trenton, ON with her husband.

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