May 13, 2005 (by Lieven Dewitte) - For the first time, the IDF/AF is dispatching fighter jets to Canada to participate in the Maple Flag exercises which will take place May 15-June 24. They will have 10 F-16s and about 150 air crew in Alberta.
RNLAF 315 sqn F-16A #J-620 wearing a special logo while participating in Maple Flag 2001. [Photo by William Gilson
The Israeli air force confirmed that it had accepted a Canadian invitation to participate in the annual war games and was sending F-16 Fighting Falcons there. The move follows a policy by the IAF to participate in more international air exercises. The IAF has trained with the Italian, Romanian, German, Polish and Turkish air forces. It has also said it will hold a joint exercise with the Indians, but no date has been set.
Reports from Canada said that the IDF/AF
was sending 10 F-16s and about 150 air crew to Alberta.
More than 5,000 military personnel from 11 nations and a NATO
Airborne Early Warning and Control (AWACS) contingent will participate in exercise Maple Flag XXXVIII. In addition, seven nations will observe the exercise as part of the International Observer Program (IOP). The exercise stretches over three two-week periods through May and June:
Maple Flag XXXVIII "Blue Air" Friendly Forces
- Period 1: 15 May - 27 May
- Period 2: 29 May - 10 June
- Period 3: 12 June -24 June
The following forces are scheduled to participate in this year's air combat exercise as "Blue Air." They will deploy to provide conventional ground attack, air superiority, SEAD (suppression of enemy air defence), tactical resupply, reconnaissance, air-to-air refueling, and AWACS (airborne early warning and control):
Maple Flag XXXVIII "Red Air" Opposing Forces
- Canadian Forces
- Belgian Air Force
- German Air Force
- French Air Force
- Israeli Air Force
- NATO AWACS (airborne early warning and control contingent)
- Royal Air Force
- Royal Netherlands Air Force
- Royal New Zealand Air Force
- Republic of Singapore Air Force
- Swedish Air Force
- United States Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps
The following forces are scheduled to participate in this year's coalition exercise as "Red Air." They will deploy to provide air and ground threat:
- 14 CTS (United States Air Force)
- 64th AGRS (United States Air Force aggressor squadron)
- 266th Range Squadron (United States Air National Guard)
A number of Arab countries have been invited, but none is sending active aircraft. Qatar and the United Arab Emirates
, which is currently receiving the F-16 block 60
, are sending observers.
Maple Flag XXXVIII Observing Nations
The following nations are sending military members who will observe but not participate in the exercise:
- United Arab Emirates
The Cold Lake range spreads across more than 11,000 sq.km. of northern Alberta bush land. With civilian traffic banned from the area, military pilots have free rein to practice combat skills.
The range contains dozens of mock targets for planes to attack, including airfields, industrial complexes and military installations.
A number of different combat and combat support aircraft will be participating in this year's exercise, including: Mirage F-1 and Mirage 2000N, F-15 Eagle and F-15E Strike Eagle, F-16 Fighting Falcon, CF-18 Hornet, EA-6B Prowler, Tornado GR4, B-1B Lancer, E-3 Sentry AWACS, Transall C-160, C-130 Hercules, B-707.
Exercise Maple Flag is a Canadian variation of the United States Air Force Red Flag exercise, held several times a year at Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada. Both exercises were developed in response to a Vietnam War finding that 90 percent of aircraft losses took place during the first ten combat missions. Aircrew who survived these critical first ten missions were more likely to survive the remainder of their combat tour.
The IDF/AF has long been a participant in the US Red Flag exercise.