The Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) has participated in a cross-border Arctic joint search-and-rescue exercise (SAREX) response to a simulated major air disaster (MAJAID) at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson in Alaska, US.
Carried out from 28 October to 2 November 2013, the exercise witnessed participation from approximately 100 Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) soldiers, as well as a multitude of the US Air Force (USAF) squadrons, the Alaska Air National Guard (ANG) and the US Army units.
The participating Canadian units included the RCAF 442 Transport and Rescue Squadron based at 19 Wing Comox, 435 Transport and Rescue Squadron based at 17 Wing Winnipeg, and 436 Transport Squadron and the Canadian Army Advanced Warfare Centre, both based at 8 Wing Trenton in Ontario, Canada.
The exercise was aimed at enhancing operational capabilities of the Arctic SAR organisations and associated authorities through live training within a remote Arctic environment.
Canadian Joint Operations Command Continental deputy commander major-general Christopher Coates said the SAREX Alaska MAJAID 2013 exercise boosts the armed force's collective ability to effectively conduct SAR in the Arctic and surrounding region.
''By capitalising on opportunities to work with our international partners, we continue to ensure our international interoperability when the Canadian Armed Forces are called upon to conduct SAR with our allies in challenging and remote areas,'' Coates said.
435 Transport and Rescue Squadron Detachment Commander major Dennis Scharf said the exercise provides CAF with an opportunity to learn from each other and also strengthen its strong working relationship with their US SAR colleagues.
"The success of this cross-border coordinated exercise demonstrates to Americans and Canadians alike that despite vast distance and challenging geography, SAR responses can be successful in the Arctic," Scharf said.
With SAR as a top priority, the CAF provides aeronautical and maritime SAR services in some of the most remote locations in the Arctic region.