Department of National Defence

Department of National Defence

February 10, 2017 10:56 ET

Completion of Exercises COMBAT ARCHER and COMBAT HAMMER in Tyndall, Florida

WINNIPEG, MANITOBA--(Marketwired - Feb. 10, 2017) - Personnel and aircraft from the Royal Canadian Air Force's 401 Tactical Fighter Squadron deployed to Exercises COMBAT ARCHER and COMBAT HAMMER at Tyndall Air Force Base, Florida from January 16 to February 10, 2017.

This exercise was the first time 401 Tactical Fighter Squadron deployed a detachment of personnel since the fall of 2015. The training provided members of CF-18 Hornet squadrons with a valued opportunity to employ live air-to-air and air-to-ground weapons systems in Tyndall's dynamic training environment.

Participation in these exercises enhances the Royal Canadian Air Forces' readiness for missions, and builds upon the RCAF's excellent relations with the United States Air Force.


"These exercises are a tremendous opportunity for not only the members of 401 Squadron, but the RCAF's Fighter Force as a whole. It isn't everyday we have the chance to practice our live weapons capabilities, across all stages of the operation. The goal of this excercise was to improve capabilities, identify points of strength and areas of improvement, and ultimately prepare ourselves for the next time we are called into combat."

  • Lieutenant-Colonel Joe Mullins, Commanding Officer, 401 Tactical Fighter Squadron

Quick Facts

  • Approximately 120 personnel, 13 CF-18 Hornet fighter aircraft, a CC-150T Polaris air-to-air refuelling aircraft, a CC-130T Hercules air-to-air refuelling aircraft and 2 Dornier Alpha Jets deployed to Tyndall Air Force Base, Florida.
  • Exercise personnel and equipment come from a variety of RCAF units and contractors from across Canada:
    • 4 Wing and CFB Cold Lake: 401 Tactical Fighter Squadron, 1 Air Maintenance Squadron, 4 Wing Telecommunication and Information Services section, the Fighter Standards and Evaluation Team, and the Fighter Operational Test and Evaluation Flight from 410 Tactical Fighter (Operation Training) Squadron;
    • 8 Wing Trenton: 437 Transport Squadron (January 30 - Februay 10, 2017) (CC-150T Polaris air-to-air refueller);
    • 17 Wing Winnipeg: 435 Transport and Rescue Squadron (January 16 - 29, 2017) (CC-130T Hercules air-to-air refueller);
    • Ottawa: Specialists from the Fighter Force's System Effectiveness Monitoring Program, an organization which falls under the Assistant Deputy Minister (Materiel)'s, Director General, Aerospace Equipment Program Management, Fighters and Trainers; and
    • Discovery Air Defence Services: Dornier Alpha Jets.
  • Exercise facilitators came from a highly specialized group of units under the United States Air Force's 53rd Weapons Evaluation Group, including:
    • 53rd Test Support Squadron;
    • 81st Range Control Squadron;
    • 82rd Aerial Targets Squadron;
    • 83rd Fighter Weapons Squadron; and
    • 86th Fighter Weapons Squadron.
  • The overall deployment was divided into three parts:
    • Part one: One week of general training activities alongside United States Air Force aircraft, such as the F-15 Eagle and F-22 Raptor;
    • Part two: Two weeks of Exercise COMBAT ARCHER, a live air-to-air missile exercise, using the AIM-120, AIM-7 and AIM-9 missile systems against BQM-167 aerial drones; and
    • Part three: A full scale air-to-ground bombing exercise, using inert GBU-12 laser guided bombs, coupled with state-of-the-art targeting telemetry, against realistic and moving targets located at the Eglin Air Force Base target range.
  • Parts two and three were facilitated by the United States Air Force's Weapons Systems Evaluation Program. Its aim is to evaluate a unit's capability to employ a variety of weapons systems throughout all stages of the process, from storage and preparation, to use on a target.

Related Products

Feature article: More than meets the eye at Exercises Combat Archer and Combat Hammer

Images available at

Associated Links

Royal Canadian Air Force

401 Tactical Fighter Squadron

410 Tactical Fighter (Operational Training) Squadron

437 Transport Squadron

435 Transport and Rescue Squadron

Contact Information

  • 4 Wing and CFB Cold Lake Public Affairs
    Captain Mathew Strong
    (780) 840-8000 Ext. 8121
    Cellular: (780) 813-0210