Following the Second World War, Alberta became the host to two
Royal Canadian Air Force bases. In 1952, the region around Cold
Lake was chosen as an air weapons testing range because it had
flat terrain, gravel deposits, drainage, and a low population.
Importantly, it had many geographic features that were the same
as Europe. Over the years, the air weapons range developed as an
internationally desirable location for air training. However,
CFB Cold Lake became the focus of public and political
controversy when the American Cruise Missile was tested there
starting in the 1980s.
Another military air base, CFB Namao, was established on the
Namao airfield. The Namao airfield was originally built by the
Americans who found that Edmonton’s Blatchford Field was too
busy during the Second World War. At that time, the Americans
needed a base for the Northwest Staging Route, and a starting
point for ferrying aircraft needed for the Lend-Lease Program,
that brought American aircraft to Russia. The airfield was host
to the 418 Intruder Squadron that was renamed several times
before it was disbanded in 1994.