At RIMPAC 2014, three weeks equal twelve months

News Article / September 8, 2014

By Captain Jeff Noel

Moving a modern fighter force away from its home base to conduct operations is a complex piece of logistics, but deployments are essential to make that force effective.

“The RCAF takes an immense amount of pride in our ability to conduct sophisticated operations in a deployed environment,” said Lieutenant-Colonel David Moar, the commanding officer of the Royal Canadian Air Force’s (RCAF’s) 409 Tactical Fighter Squadron and the CF-18 Hornet detachment commander at Exercise Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) 2014.

“This type of deployment is the only way we get the critical training we require to effectively move our squadron into a theatre of operations and, with very little delay, begin conducting complex missions.”

As part of the RCAF’s RIMPAC Air Task Force, 409 Squadron deployed in early July from its base at 4 Wing Cold Lake to Hickam Field, in Hawaii. It was the only non-United States fighter unit participating in this year’s iteration of the world’s premiere combined and joint maritime exercise that took place around the Hawaiian Islands and in San Diego from June 26 to August 1.

“In the three weeks we are here, 409 TFS will fly the entire spectrum of mission sets we would do in a year of flying back home, albeit not to the same level of repetition,” Lieutenant-Colonel Moar said during the exercise. “We have a unique opportunity at RIMPAC to test our mission flexibility in a rapidly evolving exercise scenario.”

Although an intense period for his personnel and equipment, Lieutenant-Colonel Moar believes it is well worth the effort to participate in exercises such as RIMPAC.

“The RIMPAC planning staff have been very accommodating in incorporating many of our Squadron-specific training needs into their exercise scenarios,” he said. “Not only do we get to qualify the newer pilots and technicians, but our more seasoned folks augment their skills and we get to expose everyone to the rapid operational tempo of working as part of a multinational coalition.

“RIMPAC is a training multiplier for the RCAF fighter force as it proves and improves our ability to respond to the needs of the Government in defence of our nation and those of our coalition partners.”

RIMPAC has shown that bringing together aircraft and personnel from different RCAF wings and organizations such as 409 Squadron, under the direct leadership and operational control of an Air Task Force, is a sound concept.

More than 1,000 Canadian airmen, airwomen, sailors and soldiers participated in this year’s RIMPAC, the 24th in a series that began in 1971. In total, the exercise involved 25,000 personnel from 22 nations, more than 200 aircraft, 49 surface ships, and six submarines.


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