Forces - Air Command / Forces Canadiennes - Commandement
NATO ACE MOBILE FORCE
First operational trials in Europe, one month long, took
place in October 1970 at Canadian Forces base Baden-Söllingen
(Germany), stopping on transfer at Goose Bay, in Greenland and Iceland. Six CF-5As from
and 434 Squadrons, tasked with the defence of Norway in the event of hostilities, undertook close support, armed reconnaissance, interdiction and aerial combat roles not carried out by Canadair CF-104.
October 1970 saw the deployment of six CF-5A to
Germany/Baden-Söllingen AB, stopping on the way at Goose Bay
(Canada), In Greenland and Iceland. They undertook operational trials
well as of reconnaissance and air combat. On the return flight they stopped at Prestwick/Scottish Aviation ; two aircraft flew on 16-11-71 on to Norway/Rygge AB on 27-01-71, the other four followed on 28-01-71.
It is to note that Norway was also operating Northrop F-5s at the time.
All six returned to Prestwick on 23-02-71 to be stored again and going back to Canada in June 1971. They visited RAF Marham (before returning to Canada) to carry in-flight refuelling trials with RAF Victor K.1A
No 55 Sqn tankers, as Canadian Forces Air Command had no tanker on strength.
Freedom Fighter from 433 and 434 Squadrons participated 21-02-71 at Frobisher Bay (now Nunavut) and Whitehorse to an excercise to additionally testing the aircraft's winter weather capabilities.
June 6th, 1973 8 CF-5A, CF-5A(R)s from 433 and 434 Squadrons flew from
Bagotville to Andoya (Norway), being refuelled in flight by 2 Boeing
CC137 tankers of the 437 Squadron, to participate to a NATO
excercise. This was the first non-stop transatlantic deployment.
Four CF-5A/CF-5A(R) tansited Lossiemouth on 09-08-74 to participate to a NATO reconnaissance excercise at Leck (Germany) from 02-09-74, accompanied by one Boeing CC-137 tanker.
Two Canadair CF-5A(R) from 433 Squadron visited Leeuwarden AB (Netherlands) on 06-10-74.
Canadair CF-5A of the 434 Squadron flew the first Canadian nonstop
coast-to-coast flight from Comox AB to Shearwater AB with two
air-to-air refuelling in 4 hours, 29 minutes and 4 seconds; they were
efuelled by a Boeing 707 of the 437 Transport Squadron.
transfer to Europe took place in September 1977, when 8 Canadair CF-5A
from 433 and 8 CF-5A from 434 Squadron pased through Prestwick (UK) on
From February 28 to March 27
1980 Anorak Express excercise
took place in Northern Norway; 8 CF-5As belonging to 433 Sqn were part
of the Canadian contingent, as usual in-flight refuelled by a Boeing
tanker during the transfer to Europe and back.
During June 1980 434 Squadron
was present at the reconnaissance meeting in Eggebek (Germany) with 3
Canadair CF-5A(R)s and in 1981 its pilot won the individual NATO "Photo Derby".
Beginning of December 1985
saw the overflight of
434's Sqn CF-5As from
Chatham to Norway to
participate to a NATO excercise, being in
flight refuelled by Boeing B.707/CC-137, serial 13704.
Final detachment to Europe took place in
1987 when 4 CF-5A, 434 Sqn, arrived at CFB Baden-Soellingen on
14-04-87, returning to
Chatham from Stavanger on 28-04-87, as usual supported by 1 Boeing
air-refuelling tanker. In June 1988 the CF-5s were removed from NATO's Rapid Reinforcement Force, replaced by CF-18s from 433 and 416 Squadrons.
RED FLAG EXERCISES
Red Flag is a complex international excercise taking place in the Nevada desert, aircrafts mainly based at Nellis AFB, two times a year.
In 1977 Canadian CF-5As participated for the first time Red Flag combat training exercise involving the air forces of the United States and its allies.
A further participation
was in March 1979 by 434 Squadron's CF-5A(R), at least 3 aircrafts
and two-seater CF-5s of 433 and 434 Sqn
were sent to Nellis AFB to participate to Red
Flag exercise 81-2 31-01 and 14-02 1981. Photo: Archive The Northrop F-5 Enthusiast
edition 82-1, between mid-October and mid-November 1981 saw the
participation of 12 CF-5A, CF-5A(R)s and 5 CF-5Ds; in January 1983 434
Squadron sent 3 CF-5As and 3 CF-5A(R) to Nellis.
No 434 Squadron participated with 7 CF-5As and 2 CF-5D at Red Flag 84-2 between January 07 and February 18, 1984. Last participation to Red Flag exercises was in January 1989 when at least
4 CF-5s from 434 Squadron were sent to Nellis AFB.
Transfers to Nellis were non-stop from 1972, with air-refuelling when Boeing CC-137 had been converted to tankers.
MAPLE FLAG EXCERCISES
This is a similar excercise to Red Flag but, as the Canadian scenary is by far more similar to the European one than the Nevada desert, by more realistic to an eventual European battle ground.
Canadair CF-5A armed with 4 napalm bombs in the snow at Chatham AB
CF-5s (two-seaters from 419
Sqn) participated for
the first time to Maple
Flag held between April 24 and May 20 1978 at CFB Cold Lake and
its enormous Air Weapons Range, together with Canadian CF-104,
CF-101, as well as USAF (inclusive F-5Es) and US Navy units.
This excercise was a great success and it was from then on repeated bi-annually with the participation of CF-5As and CF-5Ds of both 419 and 434 Sqns, some of them painted in Aggressor colours.
Photo: Canadian Forces
Flag II participants on the tarmac in front of Cold Lake's tower: USAF
C-130, F-15, A-7,
Sea King, HH-53, US Navy A-4,
Canadian CF-101, CF-104, one standard camouflaged CF-5A and one aggressor camouflaged CF-5D.
Flag III, from April 28 to May 28 1979, saw the participation of both
Cold Lake of all CF-5 equipped Sqns, together with Canadian CF-100s,
CF-101Bs, CF-104s, USAF 5 F-5Es of the 57th Wing, F-4Ds, RF-4Cs,
F-15As and US Navy F-4s plus transport aircrafts and helicoters. 434 Sqn aircrafts flew all kind of missions, ranging from reconnaissance to interception, while 419 Sqn supported in the aggressor role.
Mape Flag VII, beginning 1981,
419 Sqn two-seater and four 433 Sqn single-seaters.
Canadair CF-5D 116809, winter morning view at Trenton on 02-02-79, garbage camouflage Original camouflaged Canadair CF-5D 116814 of the 419 Squadron with unusual aggressor "14",
yellow code, June 1986 Photos: Archive the Northrop F-5 Enthusiast
No 419 Squadron, as only CF-5 unit left, took part with CF-5As and CF-5Ds to Maple Flag taken place between April 29 and June 10, 1989.
The 433 Squadron won the Canadian "Open Challenge 3" competition (in overall points) held beween 10th and 17th May 1974 at Cold Lake. The fighter pilots were evaluated in reconnaissance, navigation, weaponery
and tIme over target; while the 433 Squadron won the servicing and maintenace competition.
Photo: Gingie McGinge
Canadair CF-5A 11679 434 Squadron with tank and bombs bomb load (Paveway?)/tanks load
Long distance navigation
flights to USAF bases were
undertaken by 433 and 434 Sqn CF-5A
and CF-5A(R), for example to Hill AFB
in April 1973, Nellis AFB 27-02-75, Davis Monthan AFB in -05-75, Williams
March 1976, in April 1977 to Hill AFB, to Andrews AFB on 12-04-80.
January 1978 saw a rather
unusual operation. On 24-01-78 the Soviet
satellit Cosmos 954, with part of its
components highly radioactive, crashed in the area of the Great Slave
Lake. Four CF-5,
equipped with photo reconnaissance nose, flew photographic missions to provide searchers working in that area with detailed photographs in order to aid in the discovery of spacecraft debris. One Boeing CC-137
was deployed to provide in-flight refuelling to extend their stay in the photographic target area.