DAOD 2015-3, Release to Service – New and Modified Aircraft

Table of Contents

  1. Introduction
  2. Definitions
  3. Abbreviations
  4. Overview
  5. Release to Service Process
  6. Compliance and Consequences
  7. Responsibilities
  8. References

1. Introduction

Date of Issue: 2020-12-23

Application: This DAOD is a directive that applies to employees of the Department of National Defence (DND employees) and an order that applies to officers and non-commissioned members of the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF members).

Approval Authority: Chief of the Air Force Staff (C Air Force)

Enquiries: Director Air Readiness (D Air Rdns)

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2. Definitions

aeronautical product (produit aéronautique)

Any aircraft, aircraft engine, aircraft propeller or aircraft appliance or part, or the component parts of any of those things, including any computer system and software. (subsection 3(1) of the Aeronautics Act)

aircraft (aéronef)

Any machine capable of deriving support in the atmosphere from reactions of the air, and includes a rocket. (subsection 3(1) of the Aeronautics Act)

airworthiness (navigabilité)

A standard of safety demonstrating that an aeronautical product is fit and safe for flight in its intended role, in conformance with its approved type design and manufacturing and maintenance standards, when operating within its design limits. (Defence Terminology Bank record number 696230)

commencement of operational service (début du service opérationnel)

The point at which the development and/or evaluation phases of a new or modified weapon system have been completed and personnel other than dedicated test and evaluation personnel begin using it, although test and evaluation may still be occurring. (Defence Terminology Bank record number 43958)

force generator (responsable de la mise sur pied d'une force)

A commander responsible for organizing, training and equipping forces for force employment. (Defence Terminology Bank record number 41471)

investigative airworthiness (enquête sur la navigabilité)

A standard of safety achieved through the conduct of independent investigations of aviation-safety-related occurrences and monitoring under the DND/CAF Airworthiness Program to identify safety deficiencies.

Note: The term “aviation-safety-related occurrence” refers to a strictly military aviation accident or incident investigated under Part I of the Aeronautics Act or a military-civilian occurrence investigated under Part II of that Act. (Defence Terminology Bank record number 32411)

military-civilian occurrence (accident militaro-civil)


a) any accident or incident involving

(i)   an aircraft operated by or on behalf of DND, the CAF or a visiting force, or an installation operated by or on behalf of any of the above that is designed or used for the manufacture of an aircraft or other aeronautical product, or that is being used for the operation or maintenance of an aircraft or other aeronautical product, and

(ii) a civilian; or

b) any situation or condition that the Airworthiness Investigative Authority has reasonable grounds to believe could, if left unattended, induce an accident or incident described in paragraph (a). (Subsection 10(1) of the Aeronautics Act)

operational airworthiness (navigabilité opérationnelle)

A standard of safety for air operations and aeronautical products as they relate to flying operations.

Note: The term applies collectively to all operational aspects of airworthiness related to the conduct of flying operations (including aerospace control, aircraft utilization, aviation weather, aerodromes, operator, controller and maintainer training and proficiency), in addition to compliance with airworthiness policies, regulations, orders and standards. (Defence Terminology Bank record number 41429)

release to service (autorisation de mise en service)

A declaration that an aircraft is airworthy and ready for the commencement of operational service to support CAF force posture and readiness requirements. (Defence Terminology Bank record number 696202)

technical airworthiness (navigabilité technique)

A standard of safety for an aeronautical product as it relates to product design, manufacture, maintenance and material support.
Note: The term applies collectively to those technical airworthiness aspects of the product's conformity with its approved type design, manufacture, and maintenance standards, and the product's operation within its design limits. (Defence Terminology Bank record number 41446)

uncrewed aircraft system  (système d'aéronef sans équipage)

A system that includes uncrewed aircraft  and the necessary equipment, network and personnel to operate it. (Defence Terminology Bank record number 44145)

weapon system (système d'arme)

A combination of one or more weapons with all related equipment, materials, services, personnel and means of delivery and deployment (if applicable) required for self-sufficiency. (Defence Terminology Bank record number 5631)

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3. Abbreviations

Abbreviation Complete Word or Phrase
AA (AN) Airworthiness Authority
AC (Aut N) airworthiness clearance
AFO (OFA) Air Force Order
AIA (AEN) Airworthiness Investigative Authority
Comd (cmdt) commander
FG (RMPF) force generator
IAC (Aut EN) investigative airworthiness clearance
ISS (SES) in-service support
IT (TI) information technology
L1 (N1) level one advisor 
L2 (N2) level two advisor
OAA (ANO) Operational Airworthiness Authority
OAC (Aut NO) operational airworthiness clearance
PAC (Aut PN) provisional airworthiness clearance
PIAC (Aut PEN) provisional investigative airworthiness clearance
POAC (Aut PNO) provisional operational airworthiness clearance
PTAC (Aut PNT) provisional technical airworthiness clearance
RCAF (ARC) Royal Canadian Air Force
RE (AEP) readiness endorsement
RTS (AMS) release to service
SPFP (PVFP) specific purpose flight permit
TAA (ANT) Technical Airworthiness Authority
TAC (Aut NT) technical airworthiness clearance
UAS (UAS) uncrewed aircraft system

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4. Overview


4.1 In this DAOD:


4.2 The Aeronautics Act is the legal foundation for military aviation safety. Ensuring the airworthiness of military aeronautical products contributes significantly to the objective of military aviation safety.


4.3 The aim of the RTS process set out in this DAOD is to ensure the airworthiness of any aircraft that enters operational service or has undergone any major upgrade resulting in a substantial change to the technical or operational nature of the original AC.

RTS Approval

4.4 Subject to paragraph 4.5, an RTS must be approved by the Comd RCAF as the FG for all manned aircraft, Class I and II UAS generated by the RCAF and all Class III UAS, and by other FGs for Class I and II UAS generated by their commands:

  1. prior to the commencement of operational service of the aircraft; and
  2. following the completion of a major upgrade project that results in a substantial change to the technical or operational nature of the original AC.

4.5 Some aircraft, particularly UAS, may have multiple FGs involved in developing and implementing a process for achieving RTS. In those cases, a primary FG must assume responsibility for approving RTS on their combined behalf.

RTS Exceptions

4.6 C Air Force is the approving authority for any exceptions related to the RTS of aircraft. D Air Rdns should be contacted for information concerning conditions for RTS exceptions.

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5. Release to Service Process


5.1 The achievement of RTS of an aircraft requires the granting of both an AC and an RE.

Airworthiness Clearance

5.2 C Air Force as the AA grants an AC based on an OAC, a TAC and an IAC as provided by the OAA, the TAA and the AIA, respectively. Once the AC is granted, the completed AC report is provided by D Air Rdns to the FG.

Note – For the consistency of airworthiness terminology in DND and CAF airworthiness publications, the French term used for “Airworthiness Investigative Authority” (AIA) is "Autorité des enquêtes sur la navigabilité” (AEN), not "Directeur des enquêtes sur la navigabilité” as set out in the Aeronautics Act.

Provisional Airworthiness Clearance

5.3 There may be instances when an AC is required before the full OAC, TAC and/or IAC can be issued. If the AA is satisfied that sufficient operational, technical and investigative airworthiness provisions are in place, e.g. POAC, PTAC and PIAC, a PAC may be granted. The PAC must:

  1. be supported by a detailed written review of airworthiness requirements; and
  2. identify a timeline for completion of the full AC.

Readiness Endorsement

5.4 The FG grants RE based on operational, project and/or program requirements, as applicable, and ISS requirements. Examples of RE components and key criteria for readiness are found in the table to paragraph 5.5. Project management offices may find additional information on key measures in the Project Approval Directive.

5.5 The following table identifies examples of RE components and key criteria for readiness:

RE Components Key Criteria for Readiness

Operational Requirements

  • statement of operational requirement;
  • statement of operating intent;
  • statement of support intent;
  • master implementation plan;
  • RTS plan;
  • operations and maintenance funding;
  • organizational staff;
  • sufficient trained and certified personnel;
  • achievement of initial operational capability; and
  • limiting factors to full operational capability.
Project Requirements
  • established contracts with industry;
  • project management plan;
  • funding to introduce aircraft and initial sustainability;
  • ISS, i.e. engineering, logistics, maintenance, IT, infrastructure, publications and training;
  • aircraft mission readiness, i.e. tested, accepted and delivered; and
  • project handover and closure plan.
ISS Requirements
  • weapon system manager;
  • funding to sustain the capability;
  • organizational staff; and
  • ISS, i.e. engineering, logistics, maintenance, IT, infrastructure, publications and training.

5.6 Certain UAS may require other forms of RE, such as when the UAS forms part of a larger system of systems having their own readiness or project closeout requirements, or both. If so, the FG must ensure that the applicable readiness criteria of the UAS are satisfied prior to the declaration of initial operational capability.

Determination of the RTS Process

5.7 Once the FG receives the AC or PAC and approves the RE, the FG determines the RTS process in accordance with their project closeout or similar process.

5.8 RCAF RTS boards must be conducted in accordance with AFO 8001-2, Release to Service – New and Modified Aircraft Fleets.

5.9 RTS boards of other FGs must adopt a similar format in concert with the project closeout of their respective weapon system.

5.10 The completed RTS report must be retained by the FG, with a copy distributed to D Air Rdns for registration and oversight as part of the DND/CAF Airworthiness Program (see DAOD 2015-0, Airworthiness, and DAOD 2015-1, DND/CAF Airworthiness Program).

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6.  Compliance and Consequences


6.1 DND employees and CAF members must comply with this DAOD. Should clarification of the policies or instructions set out in this DAOD be required, DND employees and CAF members may seek direction through their channel of communication or chain of command, as appropriate. Managers and military leaders have the primary responsibility for and means of ensuring the compliance of their DND employees and CAF members with this DAOD.

Consequences of Non-Compliance

6.2 DND employees and CAF members are accountable to their respective managers and military leaders for any failure to comply with the direction set out in this DAOD. Non-compliance with this DAOD may result in administrative action, including the imposition of disciplinary measures, for a DND employee, and administrative or disciplinary action, or both, for a CAF member. Consequences of non-compliance may also include one or more of the following:

  1. cancellation of an approved AC or RTS, or both;
  2. the withdrawal of any authority or responsibility provided to a DND employee or CAF member under DAOD 2015-0, DAOD 2015-1 or this DAOD; and
  3. imposition of liability on the part of Her Majesty in right of Canada, DND employees and CAF members.

Note – In respect of the compliance of DND employees, see the Treasury Board Framework for the Management of Compliance for additional information.

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7.   Responsibilities

Responsibility Table

7.1 The following table identifies the responsibilities associated with this DAOD:

The, a or an … is or are responsible for …
C Air Force as the AA
  • granting a PAC or AC, or both, for a new or modified aircraft.
Comd RCAF as an FG
  • granting RE and RTS for all new or modified manned aircraft, Class I and II UAS generated by the RCAF and all Class III UAS.
other FGs
  • granting RE and RTS for new or modified Class I and II UAS generated by their commands.
  • granting OAC and POAC
  • granting TAC and PTAC.
  • granting IAC and PIAC.
D Air Rdns
  • registering and overseeing RTS documents on behalf of the AA under the DND/CF Airworthiness Program.

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8. References

Acts, Regulations, Central Agency Policies and Policy DAOD

Other References

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