The Courier

4 Wing Cold Lake played host to Canadian Army Joint Terminal Attack Controllers participating in Exercise Maple Strike, the exercise began on May 3, 2021.

Exercise Maple Strike is a nationally mandated training event where Canadian Army Joint Terminal Attack Controllers (JTACs) assemble to conduct Close Air Support (CAS) training. This exercise is an important factor in preparing soldiers for combat operations in dynamic built up areas overseas. The Close Air Support training involved deploying soldiers to various areas around the Lakeland, those troops then communicate coordinates to 4 Wing aircraft flying over to simulate air support during a combat situation.

New to the Exercise this year are digitally-aided close air support (DACAS) units used by the JTACs. This device allows better communication between pilots and JTACs and the use of DACAS was deemed a great success during the second week of the exercise.

This is the first time that Exercise Maple Strike has operated from 4 Wing Cold Lake. The reason for the change was to reduce the amount of transit time normally spent flying the jets to Wainwright. This translates to more available airtime that can be focused on more training for the JTACs. Ex Maple Strike occurs twice a year, historically in Wainwright.

About the exercise, Sgt Shaun Swallow, 2 RCHA commented, “Exercise Maple Strike is mission critical to ensuring the continuing readiness of Canada’s Close Air Support capability. Live training, realistic scenarios, and integration with the Canadian fighter pilot community benefits both the fighter squadron and the ground JTACs. Cleared hot!”

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