3. Where is it held?
• Exercise (Ex) ARCTIC RAM 12 is a joint exercise taking place in and around Yellowknife, Northwest Territories, being led by the Canadian Army’s 1 Canadian Mechanized Brigade Group, from Edmonton, and involving elements of the Royal Canadian Navy and Royal Canadian Air Force.
• Soldiers will be doing vehicle manoeuvres, patrolling with Canadian Rangers, firing weapons on temporarily erected ranges parachuting, testing equipment and learning valuable survival skills.
• Ex ARCTIC RAM is a chance for the Canadian Army to reintroduce itself to Arctic operations after a decade of focusing on operations in the warmer desert climates of Afghanistan.
• The exercise will help to cement the Army’s interoperability with the Canadian Rangers, who are the subject matter experts in Arctic patrols and operations.
• Exercising Canada’s Arctic sovereignty is a priority area of Canada’s Northern Strategy and such training exercises enable the Canadian Forces to demonstrate our ability to operate effectively in the challenging environment of Canada’s North.
• Ex ARCTIC RAM will run from February 14 to 26, 2012, although a military build-up in preparation for the exercise (i.e. set up of camps) will begin in Yellowknife as early as 23 January. The exercise ends on 26 February, but environmental remediation will continue until mid March.
• Ex ARCTIC RAM will have its main headquarters based 10-minutes west of Yellowknife in the Sandpit area. This area will be known as the Main Operating Base (MOB), where military tents will be erected. The MOB will have approximately 500 soldiers and will include a refuelling station, medical facilities, bivouac area, ammunition storage, and act as the staging area for vehicles and equipment.
• Other elements will also be based near Behchoko, Whati and Gameti. Two Forward Operating Bases will be established between Yellowknife and Behchoko. FOB Maiden 1 located approximately 35 km west of Yellowknife with approximately 450 soldiers operating. FOB Maiden 2, which will be immediately east of Behchoko – in the vicinity of the intersection between Highway 3 and Frank Channel Forestry road - will have approximately 250 soldiers.
• Canadian Forces (CF) need to have a broad range of skills and abilities to operate in diverse conditions. For the past decade the Canadian Forces have been focused on operations in Afghanistan. Arctic skill sets are necessary in order to ensure the CF’s ability to protect Canada’s Northern sovereignty. This exercise will enable members of the Canadian Army, specifically soldiers of 1 Canadian Mechanized Brigade Group, to reacquire and sharpen skills that will be useful across the spectrum of domestic operations in the North including assisting other departments
• Ex ARCTIC RAM has a budget of approximately $17.5M, which includes the salaries of participating reservists. Some items unique to this exercise and included in the budget are the shipping of vehicles and equipment, fuel, fresh rations, and local contracting.
• Approximately 1,500 soldiers will be participating in the exercise. There will also be a strong presence from the Royal Canadian Air Forces and some members of the Royal Canadian Navy participating in support of daily operations.
• Parachuting (weather permitting) is scheduled for 14 February near Behchoko, 18 February near Whati and Gameti, 25 February approximately 20 km south-west of Behchoko, and 26 February in Yellowknife (on Frame Lake as a probable location).
• The height will depend on weather and on the type of jumping that will occur. Free fall jumping is planned from 8,000 ft Above Ground Level (AGL), but may be reduced if the temperature is extremely cold. Static line jumping is planned at 1500ft (AGL) or 4000 ft and largely depends on the type of parachute used – a steerable one or not.
• Since Yellowknife does not have its own Army base, all of our equipment will have to be brought with us. This will be done using airlift, transporting many of our vehicles on flat-bed trucks and driving others to our final destinations.
• Those units who will be continuing north past Yellowknife will be using main highways, including the ice roads, and airlift capabilities.
•The military convoys will consist of three large groups traveling on separate dates. All vehicles will be further broken down into ‘packets’ of approximately 10 vehicles for reasons of safety and to help alleviate highway congestion.
• Convoy schedule
20-22 Jan. Approximately 90 soldiers and 49 vehicles
25-27 Jan. Approximately 230 soldiers and 80 vehicles
9-11 Feb. Approximately 60 soldiers and 24 vehicles.
• Stop locations - Refuelling and rest stops will be made along the way. All additional fuel will travel with each convoy. No refuelling will occur from road side gas stations.
First day of travel stops will occur at: 1. Whitecourt, AB Husky Gas Station 2. Valley view, AB ESSO Gas station, and 3. overnight stay at Peace River, AB Belle Marketing Centre.
Second day of travel stops will occur at: 1. Keg River, NT at Millenium Cabins 2. Road side on Highway 35 on highway turnout, and 3. Overnight at Hay River, NT at the Royal Canadian Legion.
Third day of travel stops will occur at:1. Fort Providence, NT at the Shell Gas Station 2. Open pit marker 208, and 3. Yellowknife, NT Sand pit Area.
• The CF takes its responsibilities as a steward of the environment very seriously and prior liaison with relevant authorities is part of our standard procedures. We work closely with federal, territorial and municipal representatives to ensure we are aligning CF operations with their expectations for proper environmental management.
• The CF conducts stringent environmental assessments in advance of, during and after operations to ensure that our operations will not adversely affect the pristine Arctic ecosystem for future generations. The CF complies with the all Federal and Territorial legislation, and follows the appropriate processes to obtain the proper authorizations and permits.
• Beyond complying with existing legislation, the CF makes every reasonable attempt to minimize the impact of our activities on the environment, the wildlife and the people through the application of appropriate technology, resources and risk managed practices. For more information on Canadian Army environmental policies and programs, visit:
• For public safety, access will be restricted to the temporarily erected ranges from February 9-18th. Two temporary ranges will be set up approximately 35 kilometres west Yellowknife, and one on Russell Lake (approximately 100 km west of Yellowknife).
• Yes. Access along Deh Cho Boulevard and the main access route leading to the Sandpit area will remain open, but at times of high volume will be directed by Military Police.
• Yes. The ski-do trails will remain open, but may be redirected to bypass military structures.
• While there are no military threats in the North, the CF still has responsibility for the defence of our sovereignty. We need to be able to do this in all types of weather, which is why 1 Canadian Mechanized Brigade Group has planned this exercise, where we can work on reacquiring our basic Arctic skills. These skills will also enable members of the CF to more effectively assist our civilian partners in such eventualities as natural disasters or search and rescue missions.
• In Canada's Arctic region, changing weather patterns are altering the environment, making it more accessible to sea traffic and economic activity. While this promises substantial economic benefits for Canada, it has also brought new challenges. Increased access to the Arctic passage could spark an increase in illegal activity, with important implications for Canadian sovereignty and security and a potential requirement for additional military support. Ex ARCTIC RAM will help to better prepare our forces to react to any situation that we may have to deal with if ever called to serve in the Arctic.
• The Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) will be supporting the exercise by providing airlift of troops and equipment using the CC-130J Hercules and CC-138 Twin Otter airplanes and the CH-146 Griffon Helicopter as well as surveillance with the CP-140 Aurora.
• The Royal Canadian Navy (RCN) will be supporting the exercise by providing personnel and equipment in the form of a hyperbaric chamber (used to treat and prevent decompression sickness.)
• In preparing for Ex ARCTIC RAM, 1 Canadian Mechanized Brigade Group has been working very closely with various government agencies to ensure the exercise activities are safe and have as little impact on local residents and the environment as possible.
• Among the partners that have helped us to prepare for this exercise include the Department of Transportation, who helped in making sure that all of our personnel are well educated in the use of the ice and winter roads that will be travelled to reach Gameti and Whati As well, we have been working with the Department of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada to ensure that we follow the applicable rules and regulations while in the North.
• February 26th has been identified as a “Community Day” and will occur in Behchoko, Whati, Gameti and Yellowknife. The public is encouraged to come out and see the equipment, and interact with soldiers. In Yellowknife, weather permitting, the public will also be able to observe a parachute jump over Frame Lake.
• The Canadian Forces are committed to ensuring the safety of their activities. Soldiers will be using live ammunition on a number of identified days. This will occur approximately 35 kilometres west Yellowknife, and on Russell Lake (approximately 100 km west of Yellowknife in temporarily constructed ranges where access will be controlled and closed to the public. At no time will ammunition or explosives of any type be used within the communities, although the public will see soldiers carrying weapons.
• The public can expect an increased level of noise during the course of the exercise, as soldiers will be using live (i.e. real) and blank (i.e. practice) ammunition, as well as some explosives. This will occur from 9-16 February. In addition, helicopters and airplane activity will be increased. All efforts will be made to reduce the amount of noise between the hours of 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. when operating in the vicinity of built-up areas.
• The public can expected a high volume of military traffic on the road between Behchoko and Yellowknife, and on the ice and winter roads form Behchoko to Gameti. The public is asked to exercise additional caution when passing military vehicles and try to avoid separating convoys. The CF will make every effort to cause as little disruption to traffic flow as possible as it recognizes the importance of road access for local residents and businesses.
• There will be no hunting. However, as part of survival training, there will be very limited snaring of small game (rabbit and ptarmigan) and some fishing. This training will be conducted along side of the Canadian Rangers and those troops participating in this specific training will have appropriate licenses to do so. Quantities will be strictly controlled.
•The Canadian Forces has applied for a fishing license up to 450 fish (from six different species, and from numerous lakes), and a snaring one to include twenty-five rabbit, and an equal number of ptarmigan.
• Throughout the exercise the CF will purchase fuel in the city of Yellowknife. All meals for the soldiers will be brought in by air or ground from Edmonton. Waste disposal/removal will be contracted in Yellowknife.
• No. Exercise ARCTIC RAM 12 is a 100% “dry” exercise which means that there will be no consumption of alcohol at anytime.
• Largely no. Almost all soldiers participating in this exercise will be staying in Army Arctic Tents, which will be heated by camp stoves.
• Approximately 65 fighting vehicles [such as the Light Armoured Vehicles (LAV III)] and five heavy equipment (engineering) vehicles will be part of the exercise. In addition, 300 support vehicles [such as the Light Support Vehicle Wheeled (LSVW)] will be used. Also, approximately 150 ski-doos, and a number of trailers will be utilized.
• During Ex ARCTIC RAM, approximately 30 Rangers from 1st Canadian Ranger Patrol Group, Northwest Territories will participate and contribute their skills and knowledge in areas such as survival training and ground movements on the local terrain.
• The Canadian Rangers, a sub-component of the Canadian Forces Reserve, provide patrols and detachments for employment on national-security and public-safety missions in those sparsely settled northern, coastal and isolated areas of Canada which can not conveniently or economically be covered by other elements or components of the CF. Formally established in 1947,the Canadian Rangers protect Canada's sovereignty by reporting unusual activities or sightings, collecting local data of significance to the CF, and conducting surveillance or sovereignty patrols as required.
• In 1997, 38 Canadian Brigade Group (CBG) was tasked to stand-up and train one of four Arctic Response Company Groups (ARCGs) keeping with the Canada First Defence Strategy. The 38 CBG ARCG is comprised of Reservists from Saskatchewan, Manitoba and North Western Ontario. The ARCG first formed in September 2008. Approximately 100 soldiers from 38 CBG ARCG are participating in Exercise ARCTIC RAM.