Canadian Weather No Barrier To Air Combat Exercise



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.

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