Pilot training, spare part shortages among challenges military facing from COVID-19

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OTTAWA — A senior air force officer says Canada’s military pilots are in danger of losing their edge as COVID-19 restrictions curtail their ability to conduct training exercises.

Brig.-Gen. Iain Huddleston, the Royal Canadian Air Force’s director-general of air readiness, says the pandemic is also making it more difficult to obtain spare parts for some aircraft.

The air force isn’t the only part of the military facing challenges due to the pandemic, particularly when it comes to training.

The Canadian Army is planning to hold its largest and most important training exercise in Alberta next week after cancelling last year’s iteration.

But this year’s version of Exercise Maple Resolve will involve about half the normal number of troops and almost no international allies.

Meanwhile, an internal survey conducted last year found many military members struggling to stay physically and mentally fit, with a large number consuming more junk food, alcohol, tobacco and marijuana during the pandemic.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 25, 2021.

The Canadian Press