First Round Of Maple Flag
Wraps Up Today
by William B. Scott
05/26/00 10:58:05 AM U.S. EDT
COLD LAKE, ALBERTA — The first period of this year's six-week Maple Flag exercise ends today, capping Round One of an intensive international training program aimed at honing coalition air warfare skills. Approximately 1,500 people and many of the 118 aircraft will depart later today, clearing the Cold Lake airfield ramp for the next contingent — including seven German MiG-29s — that arrive tomorrow for their two-week segment.
The 33rd Canadian-hosted Maple Flag has several objectives rooted in the Allied Force air campaign against Yugoslavia last year:
Fly more strike missions at medium altitudes. Several European air forces still prefer Cold War methods, attacking low and fast, but losses to anti-aircraft guns and older missiles have convinced most nations that higher is better.
Practice more air-to-air refueling. In Kosovo, a shortage of aerial tankers constrained a number of sorties, forcing real-time changes in strike plans.
Perform operations in poor weather conditions.
Engage more “infrared-significant” industrial targets, such as surplus oil rigs.
Use secure communications during almost all strike missions.