The Canadian Army is conducting its annual winter combat operations training exercise at the 2nd Canadian Division Support Base Valcartier, and in Quebec City, Canada.
Code-named Rafale Blanche 2015, the training involves nearly 2,800 Canadian soldiers, most of them from the 5 Canadian Mechanised Brigade Group (5 CMBG), as well as a platoon from the French 4e Régiment de Chasseurs and 20 troops from the Polish Army’s 6th Airborne Brigade.
It is a critical component in the operational preparation for Valcartier military personnel.
Canadian Defence Minister Rob Nicholson said: "Canada remains firmly committed to ensuring the Canadian Armed Forces are effectively trained and well equipped to provide safety and security when called upon, both at home and abroad.
"The presence of French and Polish forces strengthens the relationship and interoperability between our nations and allows all participating troops to hone their skills in realistic and challenging conditions."
Canadian Army commander lieutenant-general Marquis Hainse said: "Exercise Rafale Blanche gives our soldiers from the 2nd Canadian Division rigorous preparation for winter combat demands, while also allowing us to collaborate and build relationships with our French and Polish allies."
5 CMBG commander colonel Dany Fortin said: "Allowing Valcartier soldiers to train in civilian sectors considerably enhances the value of their training and helps maintain a multipurpose, capable force."
During the exercise, the participants will review various winter operations concepts, including winter survival skills, offensive and defensive operations, and rural and urban area patrols.
In addition to eight 5 CMBG units, the exercise involves its affiliated units 5 Military Police Regiment, 430 Tactical Helicopter Squadron and 5 Field Ambulance, 436 Transport Squadron with one CC-130J Hercules, 450 Tactical Helicopter Squadron with two CH-147F Chinook helicopters, and 425 Tactical Fighter Squadron with two CF-18 fighters.
Rafale Blanche is scheduled to conclude on 27 January.