Artillery Officers provide indirect fire support, air defence, and surveillance and target acquisition in battle. Along with members of the Armour, Infantry and Combat Engineering regiments, they are members of the Combat Arms.
In addition to field guns and rockets, missile systems and target acquisition systems, they are expected to become experts with a wide variety of technologically complex equipment including:
- Drive and maintain the tank
- Fire the tank’s main gun
- Load the tank’s main gun and machineguns
- Maintain the tank’s communications equipment
There are three specialized areas for Artillery Officers: Field Artillery Officer, Air Defence Officer, and Target Acquisition Officer.
An Artillery Officer can be called upon to serve in any kind of terrain – Arctic tundra, tropical jungle, desert, mountains, urban complex – and in any kind of climate. Artillery Officers are deployed overseas on operational missions and in Canada in support of civil authorities in cases of national emergency. Initially, they are posted to one of five Artillery regiments:
- 1st Regiment, Royal Canadian Horse Artillery, 1 Canadian Mechanized Brigade Group, Shilo, Manitoba
- 2nd Regiment, Royal Canadian Horse Artillery, 2 Canadian Mechanized Brigade Group, Petawawa, Ontario
- 5e Régiment d’artillerie légère du Canada, 5e Groupe brigade du Canada, Valcartier, Quebec
- W Battery, Royal Canadian Artillery School, Combat Training Centre, Gagetown, New Brunswick
- 4th Air Defence Regiment, Moncton and Gagetown, New Brunswick
Pay and career development
The starting salary for a fully trained Artillery 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. Artillery Officers who demonstrate the required ability, dedication and potential are selected for opportunities for career progression, promotion and advanced training.
The Field Artillery Officer is assigned as a Gun Troop Commander leading 30 soldiers. In an Air Defence Unit, the Artillery Officer is an Air Defence Anti-Tank Systems Troop Commander leading 40 soldiers. Surveillance and Target acquisition sub-units have many capabilities, but the Artillery Officer commands a troop of Acoustic Weapon Locating Sensors, Weapon Locating Radars or Unmanned Aerial Vehicles leading 20 soldiers.
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.
Further courses at the Royal Canadian Artillery School, also at Gagetown, introduce you to the duties required of a leader in the Artillery. You will develop your leadership skills while learning the basic duties of an Air Defence Officer, a Field Artillery Officer, and a Target Acquisition Officer. This training includes reconnaissance and deployment of a wide variety of equipment including air defense anti-tank system, indirect fire artillery equipment, radars and unmanned aerial vehicles.
In the final phase of training, Field Defence candidates develop and refine fire-discipline skills, and learn to move a gun battery on the battlefield, to bring guns into action quickly, and to select and prepare a gun position. Air Defence candidates learn about command and control of Air Defence Units in the field.
Selected Artillery Officers may be trained as Troop Commanders for Air Defence or Surveillance and Target Acquisition. Air Defence Troop Commander candidates learn about reconnaissance and deployment of the Air Defence Anti-Tank System, as well as command and control of Air Defence Units in the field. A Surveillance and Target Acquisition Troop Commander will learn how to deploy a variety of systems including Acoustic Sensors, Weapon Locating Radar and Unmanned Aerial Vehicles, as well as how to use these systems to provide surveillance of an operational area and locate possible targets for engagement by other assets.
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 CAF 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 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 CAF and the Canadian university of your choice. For more information, see Paid education.
This occupation is available part-time within the following environment: Army
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.
Artillery Officers serve with the Canadian Army. Along with members of the Armour, Infantry and Combat Engineering regiments, they are members of the Combat Arms team and they provide indirect fire support, air defence, and surveillance and target acquisition in battle. When employed on a part-time or casual full-time basis Artillery Officers usually serve with Artillery 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. Artillery Officers train to their Combat Arms qualification at the Royal Canadian Artillery School, at Gagetown, 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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