RCAF CF-188s participate in Exercise Red Flag Alaska
The Royal Canadian Air Force’s CF-188 fighter community participated in Exercise Red Flag Alaska from August 8 to 19, 2016, at the United States Air Force’s Eielson Air Force Base in Alaska.
The exercise provided pilots and crews from Canada, the United States and other allied air forces with an opportunity to train and improve air combat skills, while preparing for a myriad of worldwide future potential conflicts.
“The benefit we gain from large force employment exercises like Maple Flag in Cold Lake and Red Flag in Alaska cannot be overstated,” said Colonel Paul Doyle, the commander of 4 Wing Cold Lake, Alberta. “We have a reputation for operational excellence, which we have demonstrated through the deployments our fighter force has carried out over the past few years. Because of our commitment to rigorous training alongside our Allies, we are able to seamlessly integrate into coalition operations whenever and wherever the Government of Canada requires. Our fighter pilots and technicians are taking their training to the next level in Alaska, to ensure we are ready to answer the call the next time it comes.”
Approximately 125 RCAF personnel participated in Exercise Red Flag, primarily from 409 Tactical Fighter Squadron at 4 Wing Cold Lake, Alberta with elements from 401 Tactical Fighter Squadron and 1 Air Maintenance Squadron from Cold Lake and 425 and 433 Tactical Fighter Squadrons from 3 Wing Bagotville, Quebec. Ten CF-188 Hornet fighter jets from 4 Wing deployed to Alaska for the exercise.
Exercise Red Flag included nearly 100 aircraft and hundreds of participants, including aircrew, maintenance personnel and operational support personnel. The August exercise was the third iteration of the Red Flag series of exercises hosted by the United States Air Force (USAF) at Eielson Air Force Base near Fairbanks, Alaska this year.
“Exercise Red Flag Alaska is an outstanding opportunity for us to execute and evaluate our capabilities in deploying and operating from foreign locations,” said Lieutenant-Colonel William Radiff, the commanding officer of 409 Tactical Fighter Squadron. “One of our goals during the exercise is to hone both air-to-air and air-to-ground tactics; to achieve this, we deployed with the capability to support both mission sets, which tests our entire process, from aircrew and maintenance preparedness, to our logistics procedures. This training is a critical element of ensuring the continued safety and effectiveness of Canadian fighter aircraft operating within a coalition environment.”