RCAF Squadrons fly to Yellowknife for Search and Rescue Exercise


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SAR-CH-146 Griffon




September 18, 2016 — Yellowknife, N.W.T. — National Defence / Canadian Armed Forces

Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) squadrons from across Canada are participating in their annual National Search and Rescue Exercise, SAREX 2016, from September 18 to 24, 2016, in Yellowknife, Northwest Territories.



Involving nearly 200 participants, the training brings together the Canadian Armed Forces with civilian search and rescue communities, including the Civil Air Search and Rescue Association (CASARA), and other first responders to standardize and evaluate skills. This event follows on the heels of previous successful SAREX events in Gimli, Manitoba (2013), Goose Bay, Newfoundland (2014) and Comox, British Columbia (2015).


Exercise aims include aerial and ground searches, medical responses, parachute accuracy, as well as land and marine rescues.


Search and rescue response in Canada involves several provincial and government departments, including Public Safety Canada, the Department of National Defence, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, and Transport Canada. A number of volunteer organizations such as CASARA and non-governmental organizations such as STARS (the Shock Trauma Air Rescue Society) regularly assist in search and rescue operations.


The primary SAR responsibility of the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) is the provision of aeronautical SAR and the coordination of the aeronautical and maritime SAR system.

CAF resources may also assist in ground search and rescue (GSAR) efforts, medical evacuations and other humanitarian incidents if requested by the responsible provincial/territorial or municipal authority. The Canadian Rangers, Reserve Force members of the CAF, regularly aid in GSAR upon request in sparsely settled regions of the country




“The National SAREX is a tremendous opportunity for our search and rescue personnel to train with our partners to deliver in this no-fail mission for Canadians. The RCAF is committed to our aeronautical search and rescue responsibilities as part of Canada’s response to people in need, and working with our SAR partners is essential to success, making opportunities like National SAREX invaluable.”


Major-General Christian Drouin, Commander, 1 Canadian Air Division



“For the first time, the National SAREX will experience and overcome the challenges of Search and Rescue in the Northwest Territories, which will provide an exciting Search and Rescue environment. Together, we hope to exercise and showcase all of the important and unique skills of our professional and volunteer organizations.”


Colonel Patrick Thauberger, Commander, 14 Wing Greenwood



Quick Facts


· Approximately one third of the RCAF’s 150 Search and Rescue Technicians are participating in the exercise. Others are on duty and maintaining a 24-hour standby at their respective squadrons around the country.


· RCAF squadrons and organizations participating include:

103 Search and Rescue Squadron, 9 Wing Gander, Newfoundland;
413 Transport and Rescue Squadron,14 Wing Greenwood, Nova Scotia;
417 Combat Support Squadron, 4 Wing Cold Lake, Alberta;
424 Transport and Rescue Squadron, 8 Wing Trenton, Ontario;
435 Transport and Rescue Squadron,17 Wing Winnipeg, Manitoba;
439 Combat Support Squadron, 3 Wing Bagotville, Quebec;
440 Transport Squadron, Yellowknife, Northwest Territories;
442 Transport and Rescue Squadron,19 Wing Comox, British Columbia;
The Canadian Forces School of Search and Rescue, Comox; and
Representatives from the Joint Rescue Coordination Centers from Victoria,Trenton and Halifax.


· A variety of RCAF aircraft will be utilized during the exercise, including:

The CH-149 Cormorant helicopter;
The CC-115 Buffalo;
The CH-146 Griffon helicopter;
The CC-130 Hercules; and
The CC-138 Twin Otter.


· Other organizations participating formally in the exercise include the following:

Public Safety Canada;
Fisheries and Oceans Canada;
Transport Canada;
Environment and Climate Change Canada;
The Canadian Rangers;
The Royal Canadian Mounted Police;
Nav Canada;
The Civil Air Search and Rescue Association (CASARA);
The Shock Trauma Air Rescue Society (STARS); and
The Yellowknife Airport.

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