HEADLINE: Air Combat Systems Officer
Always wanted to travel around the world? Want a career where everyday brings a new challenge? Then this is the role for you! Air Combat Systems Officers serve in a leadership role on Canadian military aircraft all over the world. They direct pilots where to fly and operate communications, sonar, radar, and other digital and weapons systems; some of the most modern and sophisticated warfare equipment available today.
Air Combat Systems Officers work in a variety of roles at operational flying units across Canada and as instructors. On deployed operations, they work from airfields around the world. They may also support the Royal Canadian Navy and fly from ships at sea. Experienced Air Combat Systems Officers assist in the formulation of strategic and operational policies and plans, determine air requirements, and set standards. They may also work in an international headquarters, on multi-national staff or mission.
Air Combat Systems Officers often direct and coordinate the tactical activities of other units. They lead a variety of missions, including:
- Search and Rescue
- Anti-Submarine Operations
- Maritime Surface Surveillance and Targeting
- Sovereignty and Fisheries Patrols
- Counter-Narcotics Operations
- Tactical Airlift
- Air-to-Air Refueling
- Humanitarian Relief
- Combined Operations with Foreign Militaries
- Electronic Warfare Training and Support
- Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Operations
To be eligible to apply to the Canadian Armed Forces, you must:
- Be a Canadian citizen.
- Be 17 years of age (with consent from a parent or legal guardian) or older, except for junior candidates in the Regular Officer Training Plan, who must be 16 or older.
- Have completed at least Grade 10 or Secondary IV in Quebec.
- Certain entry programs and occupations require higher levels of education.
Salary and Benefits
The starting salary for a fully-trained Air Combat Systems Officer is $51,000 per year; however, depending on previous experience and training the starting salary may be higher. Regular promotions through the junior officer ranks take place based on the completion of required training and on the length of service as an officer. Once promoted to the rank of Captain their salary is approximately $73,000. Air Combat Systems Officers who demonstrate the required ability, dedication, and potential are selected for opportunities for career progression, promotion, and advanced training.
Professional Training and Development
As a member of the Canadian Armed Forces, you have access to ongoing training. You also have the opportunity to travel the world and enjoy several other services and benefits.
Basic Military Officer Qualification
After enrolment, you start basic officer training at the Canadian Forces Leadership and Recruit School in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Quebec, for 15 weeks. Topics covered include general military knowledge, the principles of leadership, regulations and customs of the Forces, basic weapons handling, and first aid. Opportunities will also be provided to apply such newly acquired military skills in training exercises involving force protection, field training, navigation, and leadership. A rigorous physical fitness program is also a vital part of basic training. Basic officer training is provided in English or French and successful completion is a prerequisite for further training.
Following basic officer training, official second language training may be offered to you. Training could take from two to nine months to complete, depending on your ability in your second language.
Air Combat Systems Officers continue to an on-the-job training placement with an operational Air Wing in Canada. You will learn the role of the Air Wing and the units that support the Wing’s flying operations by participating in crew briefings, and both training and operational flights on Maritime Helicopter, Long-Range Patrol, and Air Transport operations.
Air Combat Systems Officers attend the Canadian Forces School of Survival and Aeromedical Training in Winnipeg, Manitoba. In order to prepare you for the roles and responsibilities of the Air Combat Systems Officer, you must successfully complete three courses which are designed to introduce you to the unique challenges of working as a member of an aircrew.
The courses are:
- Aeromedical Training, which details the physiological effects of high altitude operations, and the operation of oxygen supply systems used on military aircraft
- Basic Survival, Evasion, Resistance, and Escape course
- Air Operations Sea Survival, which takes place at the Canadian Forces School of Search and Rescue in Comox, British Columbia.
Further training on the specific duties of the Air Combat Systems Officer takes place at the Canadian Forces Flying Training School in Winnipeg. You will receive training in meteorology, basic and advanced navigation, guidance and control systems, electronics, communications, tactical employment of aircraft, and weapons systems. This training takes place in the classroom, in the simulator, and in aircraft.
Air Combat Systems Officers, after successful completion of Professional Training, proceed to an Operation Training Unit to develop specialized skills through formal courses and on-the-job training, in order to qualify as crew members on specific aircraft types, including:
- Long Range Patrol
- Maritime Helicopter
- Search and Rescue
- Electronic Warfare
- Air-to-Air Refueling
- Uninhabited Air Vehicle
- Instructional Techniques
As they progress in their career, Air Combat Systems Officers who demonstrate the required ability and potential will be offered advanced and graduate training.
The minimum required education to apply for this position is the completion of the provincial requirements for Grade 10 or Secondaire IV in Quebec. Foreign education may be accepted.
If you already have a university degree, the Forces will decide if your academic program matches the criteria for this job and may place you directly into the required on-the-job training program following basic training. Basic training and military officer qualification training are required before being assigned.
Regular Officer Training Plan
Because this position requires a university degree, the Forces will pay successful recruits to complete a Bachelor degree program at a Canadian university. They receive full-time salary including medical and dental care, as well as vacation time with full-pay in exchange for working with the Forces for a period of time. Typically, candidates enter the Canadian Military College System as an Officer Cadet where they study subjects relevant to both their military and academic career. In some instances, the Forces is able to pay for Officer Cadets to attend other Canadian universities in a relevant degree program. Officer Cadets who attend other Canadian universities typically attend university during the regular academic year and participate in additional military training during the summer months. If you choose to apply to this program, you must apply both to the Forces and the Canadian university of your choice. For more information, click on Paid University.
Join the Forces
Learn more about a career as an Air Combat Systems Officer in the Canadian Armed Forces and discover over 100 other job opportunities at Canada.ca/forces-jobs, by calling 1 800 856-8488 or by visiting a Canadian Armed Forces Recruitment Centre near you.
This position is also available part-time.
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