Air Weapons Systems Technicians maintain aircraft air weapons systems. They also perform explosives storage and handling, and provide Explosive Ordnance Disposal duties for the Air Force.
Their primary responsibilities are to:
- Test, inspect and repair Air Weapons Systems
- Perform quality assurance checks
- Prepare and maintain aircraft forms and statistical data
Perform aircraft handling tasks that include:
- Loading/unloading weapons
- Weapons systems
- Operate aircraft support equipment
Air Weapons Systems Technicians are employed primarily at air bases in aircraft maintenance organizations, in maintenance hangers, shop environments and on flight lines. Air Weapons Systems Technicians may also perform these same duties and responsibilities onboard a ship at sea or on an airfield at a deployed site. They will also be called upon to perform some duties in airborne aircraft. In geographic terms, employment can vary from Canadian Forces Wings and Bases within Canada, including the Arctic, to locations throughout the world in response to internationals commitments.
The starting salary for a fully-trained Air Weapons Systems Technician is $49,400 per year; however, depending on previous experience and training the starting salary may be higher. At their first unit, Air Weapons Systems Technician candidates will receive training on the specific aircraft and equipment employed by their unit. Air Weapons Systems Technicians who demonstrate the required ability, dedication and potential are selected for opportunities for career progression and advancement.
The first stage of training is the Basic Military Qualification course, or Basic Training, held at the Canadian Forces Leadership and Recruit School in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Quebec. This training provides the basic core skills and knowledge common to all trades. A goal of this course is to ensure that all recruits maintain the Canadian Forces physical fitness standard; as a result, the training is physically demanding.
Air Force recruits are introduced to the working environment and culture through a four-day course before starting the training in their chosen job.
Air Weapons Systems Technicians attend the Canadian Forces School of Aerospace Technology and Engineering in Borden, Ontario. This training takes approximately 32 weeks and includes:
- Utilize Tools and Test/Support Equipment
- Complete Aircraft and AMSE Records
- Perform Flight Line Servicing Duties
- Maintain Aircraft Weapon Systems
- Perform Loading/Unloading Operations
- Control Explosives Inventory
- Store Explosives
- Maintain Explosives and Ancillary Hardware
- Operate Destruction Areas
- Disposal of Surplus and Obsolete Ammunition
Air Weapons Systems Technicians may be offered the opportunity to develop specialized skills through formal courses and on-the-job training, including:
- Conventional Munitions Disposal (Advanced)
- Improvised Explosive Device Disposal (Operator or Assistant)
- Missile Maintenance Courses
- Air Weapons Range Specialist
- Instructional Technique
- Aircraft Specific Type Courses
- Life Cycle Material management
As they progress in their career, Air Weapons Systems Technicians who demonstrate the required ability and potential will be offered advanced training. Available courses include:
- Technical Administration
- Leadership and Management Courses
This position is available for part-time employment through the Reserves. Reservists generally work part-time for a Reserve unit in their community. They are not posted or required to do a military move. However, they can volunteer to move to another base. They may also volunteer for deployment on a military mission within or outside Canada.
Reservists train with their home unit to ensure that they meet the required professional standards of the job. If additional training is required in order to specialize skills, arrangements will be made by the home unit.
Typically, Reservists work or train with their home unit for at least four evenings and one weekend per month, from September to May of each year. They are paid 85% of Regular Force rates of pay and receive a reasonable benefits package.