Air Expeditionary Wing prepares to take-off to high readiness

News Article / March 5, 2014

By Captain Christopher Daniel

About a hundred members of the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) participated in Exercise Unified Resolve 14 at Canadian Forces Base Petawawa, Ontario, from February 11 to 25.

Airmen and airwomen from 17 Wing Winnipeg, Manitoba, 8 Wing Trenton, Ontario, 4 Wing Cold Lake, Alberta, 2 Wing and 3 Wing Bagotville, Quebec, 1 Canadian Air Division, 2 Canadian Air Division, the Canadian Forces Aerospace Warfare Centre as well as 1 Wing Kingston’s 408 Tactical Helicopter Squadron out of Edmonton, Alberta, worked together in this computer-assisted exercise to prepare themselves to become familiar with the operating environment for the upcoming Exercise Maple Resolve 14 in Alberta.

“This exercise includes participants from both the Canadian Army and the RCAF,” said Lieutenant-Colonel Jay Nelles, Air Expeditionary Wing (AEW) 1401 commander. “As a deployable capability, we exercise command and control along with processes and procedures that enable RCAF air operations to be conducted in a deployed environment. We’re training to a level that will allow us to effectively operate even in austere conditions, that despite minimal assistance and limited resources we are capable of meeting the requirements for RCAF operations.”

The RCAF component of the exercise is comprised of the Air Task Force (ATF) and the AEW.

“The ATF serves as an operational level headquarters that provides command oversight to the AEW, which operates in the tactical level,” said LCol Denis O’Reilly, ATF 1401 commander. “The ATF is also responsible for the integration of RCAF deployed assets into a joint and coalition environment. The ATF is there to enable responsive, reliable, and effective RCAF operations alongside our coalition partners in a manner that brings credibility to the RCAF and the Canadian Armed Forces.”

In Exercise Unified Resolve, the ATF provided direction and guidance to the AEW in a high control role, enabling the AEW to achieve their training objectives as the primary training audience.

“As a new concept in the RCAF, the ATF has a secondary objective to consolidate the headquarters staff, who are working together for the first time. This includes the production of our procedures and the development of lessons learned that can inform further development of the ATF concept,” said LCol O’Reilly.

According to Major John Coffin, the officer commanding the operational support element for the AEW, “one of the main objectives of the AEW and the ATF is to have members come together and train using already established standing operating procedures and further develop them for future use.” 

Captain Philip Galbraith, mission support element logistics officer for the AEW, said that the exercise afforded him the opportunity to “learn about how to effectively work within a command post and how the different elements of the AEW come together as a team in solving challenging and complex situations.”

Through Exercise Unified Resolve, the ATF and the AEW take a step forward in its preparation to take-off to high readiness, so that if the Government of Canada wishes to send RCAF capabilities abroad, the AEW will always be ready and capable to support air essential operations anywhere in the world.


 

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