Electronic-Optronic Technician – Land

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Job description

Electronic-Optronic Technicians maintain, repair and modify fire control systems to ensure the accurate delivery of ammunition to the intended target.

Electronic-Optronic Technicians belong to the Corps of Royal Canadian Electrical and Mechanical Engineers of the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF). The primary responsibilities of the Electronic-Optronic Technician is to:

  • Inspect, test, identify faults in, adjust, repair, recondition and modify electrical, electromechanical, electronic, electro-optic and mechanical equipment, optical instruments, and control systems for weapons and missiles
  • Repair surveillance and thermal observation systems
  • Maintain vehicle satellite navigation systems
  • Maintain fibre-optic systems
  • Repair laser systems
  • Maintain optical, electrical and electronic test equipment
  • Repair portable and trailer-mounted power-generating systems
  • Operate and maintain general-purpose and specialized tools and equipment
  • Drive military-pattern vehicles

Transcript

Electronic-Optronic Technician – Land

CORPORAL EDGAR SYLVESTRE: I’m Corporal Edgar Sylvestre from Pembroke, Ontario, an Electronics-Optronics Technician posted to 2 Service Battalion in Petawawa.

MASTER CORPORAL CHRISTOPHER STEWARD: And I’m Master Corporal Christopher Steward from London, Ontario. I’m an Electronic-Optronic Technician with the Royal Canadian Dragoons, at Garrison Petawawa.

NARRATOR: Electronic-Optronic Technicians, or EO Techs, provide essential support in today’s high-tech Army environment. They play a critical role in artillery, armoured, and infantry operations. It starts with fire control – making sure that ammunition gets to its intended target. It’s complex, detailed, high-precision work – repairing and aligning laser gun sights, maintaining fibre-optic cables, and keeping lenses and sensors clean, down to the microscopic level. A minor calibration error in an electronically controlled weapon system can be the difference between hitting the target and missing.

SYLVESTRE: Any weapon that uses an optical sight to get the rounds on target is within our responsibility.

STEWARD: The M777 Howitzer is an aggressively long-range piece of artillery. It can sling rounds out to in excess of 35 kilometres.

SYLVESTRE: If you don’t have a piece of equipment working properly, whatever that weapon is dispensing will not land exactly where the operator wants it to be and that could put people’s lives in danger.

NARRATOR: Even the most highly sophisticated equipment can break down, but EO Techs are there to keep things running – thermal imaging systems, night-vision scopes and goggles, control systems for missiles, chemical and nuclear weapons detection, satellite navigation for our vehicles in the field. They also work on generators and electrical power generation.

SYLVESTRE: It’s a lot of fun, for me at least, to learn more about electronics. I like troubleshooting generators in particular because of the way that our power distribution system works. It’s very difficult to find exactly what the cause of the problem is, so you end up doing a lot of detective work.

NARRATOR: Whatever the mission, EO Techs have a great impact. It can be very rewarding to fix something crucial to an operation, and to be able to do it anywhere it breaks down. There’s always new equipment that needs to be looked after. EO Techs are now maintaining the latest remote weapon systems and remotely piloted aircraft.

STEWARD: The most attractive part of this job is you get to work with the latest and greatest in technology that comes to the CF. What you’re looking at here is the new TAP-V, the Tactical Armoured Patrol Vehicle. An EO Tech’s responsibility is primarily with the motors – to make sure that it spins in all directions, thermographics, the laser range finder, the day camera, to ensure that it all works in harmony.

SYLVESTRE: When I was in the Infantry, I didn't really know exactly what EO Techs did, but I did know that I could bring them something broken and get it back fixed. So, as an EO Tech now, it really does change my perspective in the sense that I know that these guys respect and are happy about the work that we do.

NARRATOR: Once they complete their training, EO Techs are posted to one of the many Canadian Armed Forces bases across the country. They are a critical part of the Corps of Royal Canadian Electrical and Mechanical Engineers, and they work closely with Weapons Technicians, Vehicle Technicians and Materials Technicians to keep the Army’s equipment in top shape.

SYLVESTRE: One day we can be doing power distribution for a large exercise, and the next we can be bore sighting a large weapon on an armoured vehicle.

NARRATOR: This is a job that requires laboratory precision, in sometimes less than laboratory conditions.

SYLVESTRE: In the field your actual work will change quite drastically – from repairing things where you have a clean room and a lot of tools at your disposal, and a lot of space at your disposal, to working in confined areas and often trying to just find something that will work to complete the task at the moment.

NARRATOR: Arte et Marte – “By Skill and by Fighting” – is the motto of the RCEME Corps. Electronic-Optronic Technicians are soldiers first and foremost, and they receive the same basic combat training as all other Army soldiers. They also have the opportunity to pursue further combat training such as parachuting, combat first aid, winter warfare, and driving armoured vehicles.

SYLVESTRE: There’s a lot of opportunity in the Canadian Armed Forces for travelling on different types of taskings and also on operations, where you may go overseas.

STEWARD: They’re always asking for people to go places. I’ve deployed to Kandahar twice, Poland once, and Kandahar has to have been the greatest adventure. It’s given me a brand new lease on life.

SYLVESTRE: With my deployment to Afghanistan I really had an opportunity to change lives in a region that was in crisis, firsthand, and that’s probably one of the most rewarding things I’ve been able to experience as a Canadian Armed Forces member. I’m sure there’s going to be other opportunities for that in the future and that’s one of the driving forces that keeps me in the Forces.

Overview

Working environment

Electronic-Optronic Technicians typically work at a base or station in Canada in a workshop. During field training and on operations in the field, they generally work in temporary or improvised workshops or outdoors. Electronic-Optronic Technicians are dedicated to the Army, but they may support Royal Canadian Air Force and Royal Canadian Navy operations.

Pay and career development

The starting salary for a fully trained Electronic-Optronic Technicians is $67,500 per year; however, depending on previous experience and training the starting salary may be higher. Electronic-Optronic Technicians who demonstrate the required ability, dedication and potential are selected for opportunities for career progression, promotion and advanced training.

Related civilian occupations

  • Electronic Engineering Technologist
  • Electro-Mechanical Technician
  • Surveillance/Thermal Equipment Technician
  • Optical/Optronic Technician
  • Laser Equipment Technician

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Training

Basic military qualification

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 CAF physical fitness standard; as a result, the training is physically demanding.

Basic military qualification – land course

After Basic Training, Army recruits go to a Military Training centre for the Basic Military Qualification – Land Course for approximately one month, which covers the following topics:

  • Army physical fitness
  • Dismounted offensive and defensive operations
  • Reconnaissance patrolling
  • Individual field craft

Basic occupational qualification training

Electronic-Optronic Technicians take the Performance-Oriented Electronic Training course, which takes about 26 weeks, at the Canadian Forces School of Communications and Electronics in Kingston, Ontario. You will then attend the Royal Canadian Electrical and Mechanical Engineers School in Borden, Ontario, for training specific to the roles and responsibilities of the Electronic-Optronic Technician. The training takes about 33 weeks but may be less for those with civilian qualifications in the field. Using a combination of classroom instruction, demonstrations and practical work, it covers the following material:

  • Basic electrical and electronic theory
  • Repair of electrical and electronic equipment
  • Basic optical and optronic theory
  • Repair of mechanical and optical equipment
  • Repair of vehicle-mounted optronic and electronic devices
  • Basic computer theory and architecture
  • Repair of night-observation devices
  • Repair of surveillance equipment
  • Repair of surveying equipment
  • Basic soldiering skills, including field-craft and battle-craft

On-the-job training

Electronic-Optronic Technicians are initially posted to a unit on a CAF Base for about 18 months of on-the-job training, which is similar to an apprenticeship program. During this period, you practice and build on your previous training. You are then eligible for additional training at the Royal Canadian Electrical and Mechanical Engineers School to bring your knowledge, skills and experience to that of a civilian journeyman.

Specialty training

Electronic-Optronic Technicians may be offered the opportunity to develop specialized skills through formal courses and on-the-job training, including:

  • Maintenance of the electrical, electronic and optronic systems of the Leopard tank
  • Maintenance of the Javelin missile system
  • Maintenance of artillery computers
  • Air-conditioning equipment
  • Maintenance of the electrical, electronic and optronic systems of low-level air-defence weapons
  • Simulators and trainers

Advanced training

As they progress in their career, Electronic-Optronic Technicians who demonstrate the required ability and potential will be offered advanced training. Available courses include:

  • Maintenance of digital computers
  • Maintenance of thermal sights
  • Maintenance of advanced surveillance equipment, lasers, and fibre-optics
  • Maintenance of simulators and trainers
  • Leadership and tactics
  • Supervisor-level training
  • Manager-level training

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Entry plans

Now hiring: we are now accepting applications for this job through direct entry.

Required education

The minimum required education for this position is the completion of the provincial requirements for Grade 10 or Secondaire IV in Quebec, including Grade 10 applied math or math 426 in Quebec and any science course at the Grade 10 level or Secondaire IV level in Quebec. Foreign education may be accepted.

Direct entry

If you already have a college diploma, the CAF will decide if your academic program matches the training criteria for this job and may place you directly into the any required on-the-job training program following basic training. Basic training and military occupation training is required before being assigned.

Paid education

Non-commissioned Member Subsidized Education Program

Because this position requires specialty training, the CAF will pay successful recruits to attend the diploma program at an approved Canadian college. NCM SEP students attend basic training and on-the-job training during the summer months. 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. If you choose to apply to this program, you must apply both to the CAF and the appropriate college. For more information, see Paid education

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