In recent years, CP-140 Aurora crews have been instrumental in providing airborne intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance and control (ISR&C) on a number of Canadian Forces and NATO operations in Canada and overseas in Afghanistan, Libya and the Caribbean. While those assigned operations were concentrated above the water and over land, it is essential that these crews maintain expertise in the underwater domain.
In meeting the Canada First Defence Strategy in providing surveillance of foreign vessels, both on and below the surface, within or approaching Canada, the Aurora is our most capable airborne surveillance platform. Crews must quickly respond and competently conduct underwater surveillance and control tasks. These sub-surface surveillance skills are honed through regular exercises.
In an era of decreased flying hours, the use of simulation is an important asset for crews needing realistic training. The Aurora’s operational mission simulator (OMS) and the state-of-the-art full flight simulator are effective tools with which to prepare and train.
From Nov.21 to 25, 2011 seven Aurora crews exercised their skills in the simulator, conducting a simulated surveillance of a foreign submarine in Canada’s maritime area of responsibility. Exercise Atlantic Ridge 2 was designed and run by 404 Long Range Patrol and Training Squadron, 14 Wing Greenwood, N.S., with support from the Canadian Forces Maritime Warfare Centre, the Canadian Forces Aerospace Warfare Centre and 14 Software Engineering Squadron.
Flight crews from 404, 405 and 407 Squadrons and the Long Range Patrol Standards and Evaluation Team were evaluated on their abilities to respond to a realistic and demanding scenario. The exercise included challenging and authentic adversaries based on real-world intelligence reports, ensuring crews would face conditions which mirror those encountered during an actual mission.
An overall success, the exercise enabled crews and senior leadership to identify areas of significant strength, as well as those in which to further hone their skills.
“The series of simulated exercises continues to be the force generation building block to ensure CP-140 Aurora force employment missions are conducted in the most effective and professional manner possible,” said 14 Wing Greenwood Commander Colonel Jim Irvine.