The Canadian and Polish armies are conducting Exercise Rafale Blanche 2014, to train for winter weather combat operations in the Chaudiere-Appalaches region of Quebec, Canada.

Carried out in the Regional County Municipalities of Beauce-Sartigan, La Nouvelle-Beauce RCM, Les Appalaches, Les Etchemins, Lotbinière and Robert-Cliche, the exercise involves participation from approximately 2,500 soldiers and 700 vehicles from Valcartier, the Quebec-based 5th Canadian Mechanized Brigade Group (5 CMBG).

Additional participants include personnel from the th5 Military Police Regiment, 430 Tactical Helicopter Squadron, 5th Field Ambulance, as well as a platoon of 20 paratroopers from the Polish Army’s 6th Airborne Brigade, based in Krakow, Poland.

During the exercise, the soldiers will practice winter survival skills, conduct long-range patrolling, navigate in rural and urban settings, secure helicopter landing pads, in addition to completing a parachute drop in cold weather conditions.

Canadian Army commander lieutenant-general Marquis Hainse said the Polish soldiers will have the opportunity to operate in traditional Canadian winter conditions during the exercise and provide feedback as to how it relates to that of their own home conditions.

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”We partner with allied countries such as Poland to improve interoperability and build relationships that contribute to international peace,” Hainse said.

"One of our priorities has always been to maintain a state of readiness to protect Canadians and Canadian national interests at home."

The commander colonel of the 5th Canadian Mechanized Brigade Group, Dany Fortin, said the Canadian military mission to Afghanistan has taken centre stage over the last ten years.

”It is important to remember, however, that one of our priorities has always been to maintain a state of readiness to protect Canadians and Canadian national interests at home,” Fortin said.

”Such readiness, of course, depends upon rigorous training, and that is what is currently being provided through Rafale Blanche.”

The exercise began on 28 January, and is scheduled to conclude on 5 February 2014.

Defence Technology