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The Cold Lake Air Weapons Range (CLAWR) covers more than 1 million hectares (11,600 square km), and is the only tactical bombing range in Canada. Vast, unrestricted airspace with no civilian air traffic and more than 640 targets make it an attractive training area for allied air forces. Fighter crews from all over the world use the range annually during Exercise Maple Flag.
New weapon delivery systems, such as Joint Direct Attack Munition (JDAM), fit within the usage template for the CLAWR. Additionally, three special-use ranges are available for meeting specific training needs.
OTTAWA (CP) - The Israeli air force is sending 10 F-16 fighter jets and about 150 air crew to participate in major war games in Alberta later this month.
It's the first time the Israelis have joined the annual Maple Flag exercises over the sprawling Cold Lake weapons range. About 5,000 air personnel from 11 countries and NATO are to take part. Palestinian-Canadian groups expressed disappointment that Israel was invited.
"We don't support this Canadian initiative," said Issam Alyamani of Palestine House, an educational and cultural centre in Toronto. "I think that Canada should be more sensitive to the Arab-Palestinian community in Canada.
"The Israeli air force was used to destroy Palestinian houses and it was used against civilians in Gaza and the West Bank.
"I don't think this will help Canada to have a balanced position vis-a-vis the Arab-Israeli conflict."
The military said security will be extra tight this year, but refused to link that to Israeli participation, saying that given the volatile state of the world, close security is natural.
Canadian pilots will join fliers from Belgium, Germany, France, Israel, Britain, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Singapore, Sweden and the United States in the exercises, which stretch over three two-week periods through May and June.
A number of other countries, including Qatar and the United Arab Emirates, are sending observers.