The Courier
Royal Canadian Air Force Airmen from 42 Radar Squadron and U.S. Air Force Airmen from the 607th Air Control Squadron control simulated airspaces during exercise Swift Strike, Nov. 23, 2022, at Luke Air Force Base, Arizona. Swift Strike is a bilateral exercise between the U.S. and Canada, allowing interoperability between the countries’ air controllers. (U.S. Air Force photo illustration by Airman 1st Class Jakob Hambright)

Interoperability is a key component of the collective ability to address global security challenges. Exercise Swift Strike aims to strengthen interoperability for American and Canadian air controllers and air battle managers.

“War is dynamic. It doesn’t happen on a script,” said Royal Canadian Air Force Capt. Dennis Williams, 42 Radar Squadron (42 RS) instructor air battle manager. “Having these opportunities to integrate fully with our partners benefits everyone in the end. You need to be able to go to war next to someone who is at the same level and in the same mindset as you.”

Swift Strike is a bilateral exercise between the U.S. Air Force and the RCAF, hosted by the 607th Air Control Squadron. The 401 Tactical Fighter Squadron (401 TFS) and 42 RS from the 4 Wing, Canadian Forces Base Cold Lake, Alberta, Canada, participated in the exercise at Luke Air Force Base, Arizona, Nov. 15 – Dec. 9, 2022.

“We came to Luke for their excellent facilities and the awesome weather,” said Williams. “The weather allows us to fly every single day. Plus, having the hospitality of our U.S. Air Force counterparts benefits us.”

The exercise allowed the 42 RS to work with 607th ACS radar equipment while learning from 607th ACS Airmen, ensuring controllers from both countries are capable of working together.

“The system we control off of in Canada is very different than what they have here,” said Williams. “What you see here at the 607th ACS is what you would see in a deployed scenario, so for us to get that experience and training, we need to come to places like Luke.”

For the 607th ACS, the exercise serves as a unique training opportunity for the unit’s Airmen.

“With exercises like this, there’s also the people aspect,” said U.S. Air Force Maj. Kyle Childress, 607th ACS assistant director of operations. “Learning customs, courtesies, and just meeting one another is important, because down the line we may all be working together in a deployed environment.”

Exercise Swift Strike is also opening the door for further cooperation between the U.S. Air Force and the RCAF. Both Williams and Childress see potential for the future.

“401 TFS and deployed affiliates from across the RCAF were honored to partake in Exercise Swift Strike 2022. The deployment’s training objectives were to validate high readiness ‘deployability,’ hone our tactics, techniques, and procedures alongside our American allies, and to employ air-to-surface munitions from a deployed location,” said RCAF Lt. Col. Reid Surkan, 401 TFS commanding officer. “Those training objectives have been met with outstanding success.  The Canadian contingent would like to thank Luke Air Force Base staff and fellow American war fighters for enabling the deployment’s success.”

With the success of Swift Strike, the 607th ACS, the 42 RS, and the 401 TFS are confident that their Airmen will be able to operate within the fast-paced environments that deployments and exercises bring.

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