Canadian Weather No Barrier
To Air Combat Exercise
by William B. Scott
05/24/00 08:45:02 AM U.S. EDT
COLD LAKE, ALBERTA — The annual Maple Flag international air combat exercise is into its second week of large-scale air operations here, unhampered by unusual weather. Hosted by Canada's 4 Wing, the exercise dealt with unexpected challenges from a freak snowstorm on May 17. For the first time, Maple Flag is being conducted under all-weather rules — a consequence of “lessons-learned” during the Kosovo air campaign a year ago — allowing pilots to deal with realistic conditions that complicate bombing missions.
Maple Flag is similar to the USAF-hosted Red Flag, but is conducted over wooded terrain dotted with lakes, emulating a European combat zone. Flying in a relatively unrestricted environment, large strike “packages,” made up of 40-50 fighters, battle opposing forces employing airborne and ground-based electronic threats.
Approximately 118 aircraft from Canada, Singapore, the Netherlands, the U.S., the U.K., Germany, New Zealand and Sweden will participate in the 6-week exercise, which is broken into three separate flying periods between May 15 and June 23.