Department of National Defence

Department of National Defence


May 17, 2010 12:17 ET

Northern Alberta Skies Roar to Life With MAPLE FLAG 43

4 WING COLD LAKE, ALBERTA--(Marketwire - May 17, 2010) - The skies over northern Alberta will roar as international Air Force Exercise MAPLE FLAG bursts into action today at 4 Wing Cold Lake.

MAPLE FLAG is a four-week, international military exercise that provides critical air combat training for the aircrews of participant nations by simulating hostile air scenarios in an academic, yet rigorous training environment. Participants with more than 50 aircraft from seven nations engage in a 10-day air campaign that is set in a backdrop of declared war while flying in large package coalition air forces.

"The training value that Canadian and international aircrews undertake during Exercise MAPLE FLAG is training that could potentially save their lives," said Colonel Dave Wheeler, Wing Commander at 4 Wing Cold Lake. "Should these aircrews have to fly in a true hostile air environment, they will have experienced the stress and pressure of such operations beforehand, which greatly increases their chance at success."

"As a fighter pilot who has flown in theatre, I can tell you that MAPLE FLAG gives pilots an understanding of what to expect in an environment where savvy and skill are critical to survival," said Major Kirk Soroka, Officer Commanding the Air Force Tactical Training Centre. "The flying is intense and the scenarios are realistic; qualities essential to achieve the goal of preparing aircrews for war."

Northern Alberta is an excellent backdrop for the airpower of Maple Flag's participants. With more than 10,000 square kilometres of supersonic airspace and 600 vast targets, which range from fielded forces to heavy infrastructure, the pilot undertaking the training can fly unrestricted into the skies above and beyond 4 Wing Cold Lake.

In addition to providing air combat training for Canadian and allied aircrews, MAPLE FLAG serves as a training environment for tactical aviation, as well as electronic warfare, air-to-air refuelling, air defence, and Airborne Early Warning and Control Systems (AWACS) assets.

NOTE TO EDITORS: MAPLE FLAG media days will be held each Thursday during the exercise.

Contact Information

  • To register for media days or for more information:
    Capt Nicole Meszaros
    Exercise MAPLE FLAG Public Affairs Officer
    780-840-8000 ext. 8121