2017: Base visit Cold Lake, Anatolian Eagle 2017

Ronald Stevelink

a heart for aviation

Cold Lake Canada May 2017

In May 2017 I was invited by the 419 squadron of the Royal Canadian air Force to watch the operations at CFB Cold Lake, 150 miles north of Edmonton, Canada. In the beautiifull springseason the snow just disappeared and the sun was still very comfortable.

CFB Cold Lake is the busiest fighter base in Canada. It provides general purpose, multi-role, combat capable forces in support of domestic and international roles of Canada's Air Force. Home of fighter pilot training for the Canadian Forces, 4 Wing attracts Top Gun crews from all over the world to our annual air combat exercise, Maple Flag.4 Wing Cold Lake is, without question, the home of the fighter pilot. It not only hosts Canada's world-class tactical fighter force training, but also deploys and supports fighter aircraft at a moments notice to fulfill the domestic and international roles of Canada's Air Force.As an international Centre of Excellence for tactical fighter operations, deployable combat support and leading edge training, 4 Wing focuses on people, leadership, innovation and technology.Two operational CF-18 Squadrons and two training squadrons, including Phase IV of NATO Flying Training in Canada (NFTC), and numerous premier support units, make 4 Wing Canada's largest and busiest fighter wing. As such, 4 Wing has some of the best and most sought after amenities in the world, including an almost unrestricted 1.17 million hectare air weapons range equipped with state-of-the-art threats and targets.It is the vast array of support facilities and amenities that make Cold Lake exercises so attractive and successful including the annual Maple Flag Exercise, which draws international participation and continues to expand each year.

Anatolian Eagle 2017 Konya AB Turkey


In 2017 I attended Anatolian Eagle exercise for the second time. In 2016 we saw Qatar and Jordan as participating countries besides NATO member United Kingdom (Eurofighters), Spain (EF18 and Eurofighters) and of course Turkey. In 2017 we say the Pakistan AirForce participating for the first time with their F16A/B's. Besides Pakistan, also the USAF (F15C/D) and again United Kingom (Eurofighter) and Spain, this time with the EF-18 only.


Participants fly Combined Air Operations as Blue Force, while Red Force consists of real and simulated threats. First the training exercise is planned in the 'White Headquarters' building. Training is monitored with computers to help test knowledge, abilities and find deficiencies of the participants. In the scenario the "Blue forces" attacks tactical and strategic targets in a "Red Land" during Combined Air Operations (COMAO). The Red Force personnel conduct their planning and briefings in the Red Building, while the national and foreign participants do the same in the Blue 1, Blue 2 and Blue 3 buildings. Red Force is restricted to their own Red Building, and nobody else can enter Red Building. Airspace for Anatolian Eagle is 250 nm from east to west and 180 nm from north to south. The main operations airspace, also known as the Salt Area, can be used from ground level up to 60,000 feet.

The aim of the Anatolian Eagle exercise is threefold

1) Improving the capabilities of international elements in daytime joint operations and increasing mutual support

2) Enhancing training levels of participants via providing a realistic operational environment within a generic scenario form simple to complex. This includes planning and executing combined air operations against tactic and strategic targets which have air-defence systems and fighter aircraft

3) Providing opportunity to try new tactics and techniques.


I would like to thank the Turkish Airforce and especially Mr. Hasan Saffet Celikel, Commander of the Anatolian Eagle Training Center at Konya AB for the hospitality during the exercise.