42 Radar Squadron Works with U.S. Marines During Maple Flag

42 Radar Squadron supports flight training and operations throughout the year by providing ground based tactical control services to aircraft engaged in air combat training missions. They do this in all weather conditions, wherever they are needed.

The squadron’s capabilities as Air Battle Managers are in even higher demand during events like Exercise Maple Flag 50, as the international training event brings together large formations of aircraft and an operational tempo which simulates a live theatre of operations.

This year, 42 Radar Squadron is combining forces with Tactical Air Defense Controller Marines from the United States Marine Corps (USMC), Marine Air Control Squadron 2 (MACS-2), Marine Air Control Group 48 (MACG-28), 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing (2nd MAW), to support Exercise Maple Flag 50 and increase interoperability between the two squadrons. Together, they form a fully integrated team of joint weapons controllers.

In normal operations a team of Air Battle Managers at 42 Radar is composed of three people. During Maple Flag, 12 people man the operations room at any one time. The function of the Squadron during Maple Flag is to manage a group of specialized capabilities including datalink management, surveillance and aircraft identification and direct communications with flight crews, all in an effort to guide aircraft toward aerial and ground based targets.

The team of joint weapons controllers for Maple Flag 50 will manage up to 24 aircraft at a time within the Cold Lake Air Weapons Range, where the majority of the exercise takes place. This includes an international cadre of fighters, tankers, helicopters, and Airborne Warning and Control Systems (AWACS) (Boeing E-3 Sentry). This high operational tempo simulates modern aerial battle and provides a valuable training opportunity for junior members of both the RCAF and the USMC.

Capt Scott Maurer, the Course Director for the Air Battle Manager portion of the Fighter Weapons Instructor Course – conducted, in part, at 42 Radar Squadron – explained the history of working alongside allies like the United States Marine Corps.

“It’s an important relationship that we need to keep going,” he said. “We go to the US to train with Marines and they come to train with us, because if we ever combine to fight on real-world operation, it will be together as part of a coalition. We are always integrating with other countries, we never fight alone.”

MACS-2 will stay in Cold Lake for the duration of Maple Flag 50, from May 29 to June 23. They arrived early to familiarize themselves with differences in systems and to conduct mission planning, preparing to train in a NORAD environment.

Last year, two Marines from MACS-2 attended Maple Flag 49. Realizing the training potential of the exercise, they returned this year for MAPLE FLAG 50 with a team of 12. The relationship between 42 Radar and MACS-2 is an example of the many objectives of Exercise Maple Flag, maintaining the alliance with multinational air and ground forces by working together and sharing best practices.

“We work very well with 42 Radar,” said Gunnery Sergeant David Bull, Tactical Air Defense Controller with MACS-2, MACG-28, 2nd MAW. “We have a lot of similarities, it’s easy to integrate with their crew and start working together.”

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