Canada's Air Force is cancelling this year’s Exercise Maple Flag 44, an international air combat training exercise scheduled to take place from May 30 to June 24, 2011, in Cold Lake, Alta.
Due to the international commitment to NATO-led operations over Libya and other operations conducted world-wide by Canada and its Allies, organizers have called off the event.
“This decision was not taken lightly and it was reached after consultations with other participating countries,” said Major-General Yvan Blondin, Commander of 1 Canadian Air Division and the Canadian NORAD Region. “Our allies agreed it would be difficult to support the exercise to the necessary level, while at the same time conducting operations abroad.”
Maple Flag events have only been cancelled twice before, both due to a high tempo of operations: once in 1991 due to the Gulf War, and again in 1999 due to the Kosovo air campaign.
Exercise Maple Flag is a four-week, international military exercise that provides air combat training for the aircrews of participant nations by simulating hostile air scenarios in an academic, yet rigorous training environment. Participants engage in a 10-day air campaign while flying in large-package coalition air forces.
The 2012 Maple Flag exercise remains scheduled to occur as planned.
Air Force personnel continue to contribute to Canadian Forces operations at home and around the world. Within Canada, crews regularly fly search and rescue missions that save lives while others defend Canadian and North American airspace through our NORAD mission. Our commitments abroad include, among others, the Air Wing in Afghanistan and operations supporting the no-fly zone over Libya.