Participants, Observers Impressed with Maple Flag 50

Exercise Maple Flag 50 is in the books.

The annual exercise began on May 29 and ran in two periods of two weeks each. Aircraft from Canada, France, Singapore and the US participated, as did ground forces from Canada, Belgium, the UK and the US.

4 Wing Commander Col Paul Doyle said feedback from participating forces has been positive. He even heard good things about our un-summerlike weather.

“The CO of the Singapore 425th Squadron, based in Arizona, said it was nice to have weather,” Col Doyle said. “It’s nice to have something other than clear blue skies where participants just have to take off and execute the mission.”

“We always talk about what-ifs,” he said. “You plan the scenario so everything happens perfectly. But what if you have bad weather in the target area, what if you have clouds blocking your access in a certain area? That is where a flight lead or a mission commander will earn their keep. The fact that they had to adapt their plan is something he took as a positive thing.”

Nineteen countries who were not participating sent observers. Col Doyle said the international observers came away impressed, including some who had participated in previous years. He said the multi-faceted nature of Maple Flag is an attractive feature.

“It’s not just a fighter-on-fighter exercise. We weave in tactical aviation, we weave in mobility,” he said. This creates training opportunities for more personnel, and more closely simulates operational conditions.

Approximately 1,000 Canadian and international personnel came from out of town to participate in the exercise for each two-week period.

“Exercise Maple Flag 50 has been a showcase event for the RCAF, and has been a remarkable opportunity for the Lakeland region of Alberta to support a world class training event for our crews and those of our Allies,” Col Doyle said. “The success of this year’s Maple Flag is a great indication of the growth potential for this exercise into the future.

“My thanks to the entire Cold Lake defence team for their hard work and support to this exercise, and to our neighbours of the Lakeland for being such tremendous hosts.”

Participants, Observers Impressed with Maple Flag 50

An RCAF CF-18 Hornet refuels during the last mission of Exercise Maple Flag 50 last Friday. (Photo by Alina Mallais)


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