Armour Officers provide reconnaissance and direct-fire support in battle from armoured fighting vehicles such as the Leopard main battle tank, the Coyote surveillance vehicle, and a variant of the wheeled Light Utility Vehicle. Along with members of the Artillery, Infantry and Combat Engineering regiments, they are members of the Combat Arms.
An Armour Officer is the leader of armoured vehicles in a Reconnaissance Squadron, a Tank Troup or Direct-Fire Support Troop. They are responsible for soldiers’ training, morale, discipline and combat efficiency, and for the operational readiness of their equipment.
As a Reconnaissance Troop Leader, they employ stealth, flexibility and innovation on the battlefield, using advanced sensors and equipment, to locate the enemy and identify high-value targets for the commander.
As a Tank Troop Leader or Direct-Fire Support Troop Leader, they employ mobility, flexibility and shock action on the battlefield to use armoured direct-fire systems to destroy enemy targets.
Armour Officers serve in any kind of terrain — Arctic tundra, tropical jungle, desert, mountains, urban complex — and any kind of climate. They may be deployed abroad on operational missions or in Canada in support of civil authorities in cases of national emergency. Initially, they are posted to one of three Armour regiments:
- The Royal Canadian Dragoons, 2 Canadian Mechanized Brigade Group, Petawawa, Ontario
- Lord Strathcona’s Horse (Royal Canadians), 1 Canadian Mechanized Brigade Group, Edmonton, Alberta
- 12e Régiment blindé du Canada, 5e Groupe-brigade du Canada, Valcartier, Quebec
Pay and career development
The starting salary for a fully trained Armour 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 $74,000 per year. Armour Officers who demonstrate the required ability, dedication and potential are selected for opportunities for career progression, promotion and advanced training.
Initially, Armour Officers command 15 to 23 soldiers and four tanks as the Troop Leader in an Armoured Squadron, or eight armoured reconnaissance vehicles in a Reconnaissance Squadron. Once promoted to the rank of Captain, Armour Officers perform the duties of Battle Captain in either a Reconnaissance or Armoured Squadron, and may be called upon to plan operations and training for the squadron’s soldiers and officers. An Armour Officer may eventually become a Squadron Commander and continue on to become the Commanding Officer of a Regiment.
Related civilian occupations
Although this occupation has no direct related civilian job, the management, leadership and instructing skills developed in this position are highly valued by employers.
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 Canadian Armed Forces (CAF), 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.
Common Army phase
After basic training, you will go to the Infantry School at the Combat Training Centre in Gagetown, New Brunswick. You will build upon the leadership training you received in basic officer training in addition to learning the skills required of all Combat Arms Soldiers, including more advanced weapons-handling, field-craft, and section-level tactics.
Armour Officers attend Armour School at the Combat Training Centre where you will develop your skills in Crew Commanding. Training includes the following topics:
- Driving an armoured fighting vehicle
- Operating communications equipment
- Weapons firing
- Vehicle deployment in battle
- Crew commanding techniques
Next you will bring together all the knowledge and skills you have learned and specialize in Troop Leading. Training begins with the primary duties of a Reconnaissance Troop Leader, where you will learn to plan and command aspects of Armour operations including surveillance, reconnaissance, counter-reconnaissance and direct-fire support. After this training, you may be posted to a regiment as a Reconnaissance Troop Leader.
However, you may also be selected for Direct-Fire Training, where you will receive instruction in 105-mm gunnery techniques and an introduction to direct-fire tactics and operations. Upon completion of direct-fire training, you will be posted to a regiment as a Tank Troop Leader or Direct-Fire Support Troop Leader.
Armour Officers may be offered the opportunity to develop specialized skills through formal courses and on-the-job training.
If you already have a university degree, the CAF 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 CAF 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 CAF 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 CAF and the Canadian university of your choice. For more information, see Paid education.
Serve with the Reserve Force
This position is available for part-time employment with the Primary Reserve at certain locations across Canada. Reserve Force members usually serve part time at an Air Force Wing in their community, and may serve while going to school or working at a civilian job. They are paid during their training. 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.
Armour Officers serve with the Canadian Army. The Armour, Infantry, Artillery and Combat Engineers form the Combat Arms team. Armour Officers are the leaders of armoured vehicles and are responsible for soldiers’ training, morale, discipline and combat efficiency, and for the operational readiness of their equipment. When employed on a part-time or casual full-time basis they usually serve with Armour units at CAF locations within Canada.
Reserve Force training
Reserve Force members are trained to the same level as their Regular Force counterparts. They usually begin training with their home unit to ensure that they meet the required basic professional military standards. Following basic officer training, the home unit will arrange for additional training for specialized skills. Armour Officers achieve their qualification in three phases at the Combat Training Centre at Canadian Forces Base Gagetown in New Brunswick.
Reserve Force members usually serve part-time with their home unit for scheduled evenings and weekends, although they may also serve in full-time positions at some units for fixed terms, depending on the type of work that they do. They are paid 85 percent of Regular Force rates of pay, receive a reasonable benefits package and may qualify to contribute to a pension plan.
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