With its 24 hours of springtime daylight, the Arctic is wide awake, receiving at least 12 flights a day as Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) aircraft from 8 Wing Trenton, Ont., deliver precious fuel to Canada’s most northerly post.
During the operation that took place from April 12 to 28, dubbed Operation Boxtop 1/12, 8 Wing Trenton replenished Canadian Forces Station (CFS) Alert’s fuel stores using 429 Transport Squadron’s CC-177 Globemaster III and 436 Transport Squadron’s CC-130J Hercules aircraft.
"Op Boxtop provides a critical lifeline to CFS Alert,” said Major Todd Murphy, commanding officer of CFS Alert. “During this current Boxtop, we are receiving the majority of our annual fuel supply which is essential for the generation of our power and heating requirements.”
The RCAF conducts major resupply operations to CFS Alert for two to three weeks every spring and fall. Using United States Air Force Base Thule in Greenland as a staging point, the spring operation is focused on delivering fuel while the fall delivery supplies the station with dry goods and construction materials. Delivery of food and other materials needed by the station for its daily operations is done throughout the year.
CFS Alert’s stores were replenished with approximately 1.6 million litres of fuel – mostly Jet Propellant 8 (JP8) and some ultra-low-sulfur diesel (ULSD). The station uses JP8 for its power and heat supply, while ULSD is used for vehicles.
CFS Alert uses environmentally-friendly fuel as well as recycled energy from its power plant as its major source of heat.
“We are committed to operating in ways that are efficient and environmentally friendly,” said Maj Murphy. “We also conduct stringent environmental assessments associated with our operations to help preserve the pristine Arctic ecosystem for future generations.”
Several 8 Wing units assisted in the operation: 412 Transport Squadron flew the operation’s advance party using the CC-144 Challenger; 437 Transport Squadron provided airlift and personnel support using the CC-150 Polaris; 8 Air Communication and Control Squadron took care of airfield control; and 2 Air Movements Squadron processed all airlift traffic including passengers and freight.
“The support provided by all organizations and personnel involved in this operation is extremely important to CFS Alert's mission accomplishment, and is highly appreciated by all the ‘Frozen Chosen’,” said Maj Murphy.
429 Transport Squadron’s CC-177 Globemaster III and 436 Transport Squadron’s CC-130J Hercules have proven their value to the Canadian Forces on numerous occasions, both internationally and domestically. These fleets carrying out Op Boxtop assures greater ability to operate in and resupply the far North.
CFS Alert, a unit of 8 Wing Trenton, provides support to Environment Canada and Arctic researchers, maintains signals intelligence facilities, and geo-location and high frequency and direction finding facilities to support search and rescue and other operations.
The station is the most northern permanently inhabited settlement in the world, situated on the north eastern tip of Ellesmere Island in the Canadian Arctic Archipelago.
Op Boxtop highlights Canada’s commitment to maintaining an active presence in the Arctic.
For more on the RCAF in the North, read the October 2011 edition of Crew Brief.