Weapons Technician – Land

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Job description

Weapons Technicians maintain and repair weapons, weapons systems and ancillary equipment.  They are members of the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) Corps of Royal Canadian Electrical and Mechanical Engineers. They also are responsible for the maintenance and repair of miscellaneous equipment such as scales, hydraulic lifts, locks and security containers, personal flotation devices, rebreathers, and equipment for heating, cooking and lighting in the field.

Weapons Technicians are primarily responsible for the maintenance and repair of the following equipment:

  • Rifles, submachine-guns and handguns
  • Machine-guns and non-guided anti-tank weapons
  • Sub-calibre adapters
  • Training devices, including simulators
  • Grenade projectors, mortars and launcher systems
  • Light weapons and turret systems for armoured fighting vehicles
Transcript

Weapons Technician – Land

PRIVATE MATHIEUX BERGERON: I’m Private Matt Bergeron from Ottawa, Ontario, a Weapons Technician posted to 2 Service Battalion at CFB Petawawa.

PRIVATE KURTIS WARREN: And I’m Private Kurt Warren, from Grand Bank, Newfoundland, a Weapons Technician posted to 2 Service Battalion in CFB Petawawa.

NARRATOR: Weapons Technicians maintain and repair weapons and weapon systems for the Army and Special Operations Forces, anything from pistols and sniper rifles, to tanks and artillery.

BERGERON: What a Weapons Tech’s main job is, is to maintain the combat effectiveness of the troops on the ground; whether it be here in garrison working in a shop, whether it be out on the ranges while they’re practising maintaining the ready state of the weapon.

WARREN: My favourite weapon would be the C6 general-purpose machine gun. I like how they’re made, I like how they function, and they sound nice when you fire them.

BERGERON: My favourite weapon would have to be the Browning M2 50-calibre heavy machine gun. With this type of weapon, firing a cartridge that big, there’s really no room for error. It has to be properly put together, it has to be properly maintained and gauged, and the tolerances are extremely tight.

BERGERON: The qualities that you need to be a good Weapons Tech would be: meticulous attention to detail, great hand-eye coordination, as well as being able to picture things in your head – whether it be the way the weapon operates, which part interacts with what. For the simple fact that while you’re on the range, you have to be quick, you have to be efficient with the work. So, being able to picture how everything is supposed to go together will help you with this.

WARREN: It’s every kid’s dream to go out and fire machine guns. To actually get to do it, it’s a pretty unreal experience. Not a lot of people get to do that, for sure.

BERGERON: It really is a broad trade. You could be going anywhere from sitting in a shop working on weapons, to an office changing combinations on locks, or going out on ranges supporting the troops there.

WARREN: The most exciting part of the job is being on the shop floor and getting your hands dirty every day.

BERGERON: The coolest part of the job for me, hands down, would be the opportunity to go on ranges, being able to sit out there and have the opportunity to fire different weapons.

WARREN: Handguns, machine guns, you’re firing 50-cal machineguns on mount. It’s pretty exciting stuff.

BERGERON: A bad day on the range is better than a good day in the shop, anytime.

NARRATOR: Once they complete their training, Weapons Technicians are posted to one of the many Canadian Armed Forces bases across the country where they’ll be assigned to a combat arms unit or a service battalion. They are a critical part of the Corps of Royal Canadian Electrical and Mechanical Engineers, and they work closely with Electronic-Optronic Technicians, Materials Technicians and Vehicle Technicians to keep the Army’s equipment in top shape.

BERGERON: First thing in the morning, we’ll usually start off with about an hour of physical training. After that, you’ll move back to your shop, and you’ll start working through work orders. That can include anything from working on weapons themselves, everything from a small 9-millimetre handgun, all the way up to the 25-millimetre Bushmaster on the LAV 6 and LAV 3 Armoured Vehicles.

WARREN: It’s a huge responsibility. The biggest thing that they stress is safety. Without a functioning weapon, people can get hurt. It puts a lot of stress and onus on the technician working on the weapon because your name is on that tag. If you say it’s good to go, it has to be good to go. And someone’s life could be depending on it.

NARRATOR: Arte et Marte – “By Skill and by Fighting” – is the motto of the RCEME Corps. Weapons Technicians are soldiers first and foremost, and they receive the same basic combat training as all other Army soldiers. They need to be as mobile as the units they are supporting, working out of temporary repair facilities when they are out on exercise or on missions overseas.

WARREN: If a tank goes down, if a light armoured vehicle goes down, it’s a life or death situation, they need us there, close by, so that we can fix their equipment, get it back to the frontline guys, so they can continue to do what they do best.

WARREN: Back home I hunt; I use guns on a daily basis and I thought, why not make a career out of it? As a Weapons Tech specifically, you do learn very unique skills that a very small percentage of people in Canada have and know. So having that, it’s a pretty cool feeling.

BERGERON: My proudest moment would have to be when I was in Wainwright. I got to do a lot of different things and conduct a lot of different repairs, and really work with my hands and work with my head, and have to think on my feet. And at that moment I knew that I was in the right place and this is exactly what I wanted to do.

Overview

Working environment

Weapons Technicians are employed at bases and stations across Canada and on deployed operations around the world. They experience the unique adventures and challenges that come with working in different environments. While on a base, they may be working in small spaces, like a workshop. In the field or on deployment they may work outdoors most of the time or in temporary accommodations.

Pay and career development

The starting salary for a fully trained Weapons Technician is $60,000 per year; however, depending on previous experience and training the starting salary may be higher. Weapons Technicians who demonstrate the required ability, dedication and potential are selected for opportunities for career progression, promotion and advanced training.

Related civilian occupations

  • Gun Assembler
  • Firearms Inspector
  • Small Arms Tester
  • Gunsmith
  • Locksmith

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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

Weapons Technicians attend the Royal Canadian Electrical and Mechanical Engineers School in Borden, Ontario for 35 weeks. Through a combination of instruction, demonstrations and practical work, they learn the following subjects:

  • Care and use of common and special tools and electrical test equipment
  • Operation and principles of weapon systems
  • Electricity and hydraulics
  • Use of firearms, pyrotechnics and grenades
  • Maintenance of small arms, mortars, recoilless rifles, towed field guns, and turret systems for armoured fighting vehicles
  • Basic identification and handling of ammunition
  • Alignment of sighting devices
  • Test-firing weapons
  • Knowledge of various ancillary equipment
  • Basic soldiering skills, including field craft, rescue techniques and first aid and
  • Operation of light armoured vehicles, armoured reconnaissance vehicles and armoured personnel carriers

On-the-job training

Weapons Technicians are posted to a unit on a CAF base for about 18 months of on-job training which resembles a civilian apprenticeship program.

Specialty training

Weapons Technicians may be offered the opportunity to develop specialized skills through formal courses and on-the-job training, including attending further technical training. There is also the possibility of taking training to reach supervisor and manager levels. The supervisor level course takes about 15 weeks, and the manager level course takes about nine weeks.

Advanced training

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

  • High security containers and locking devices
  • Leopard tank
  • GIAT light towed Howitzer
  • M777 medium lightweight towed Howitzer

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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 to apply 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. Foreign education may be accepted.

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Part-time option

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.

Part-time employment

Weapons Technicians serve with the Canadian Army. They are employed maintaining and repairing weapons, weapons systems and related equipment for military training and operations. When employed on a part-time or casual full-time basis, they usually serve at a military location 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 military training and Soldier qualification, the home unit will arrange for additional training for specialized skills. Weapons Technicians attend the Royal Canadian Electrical and Mechanical Engineers School in Borden, Ontario for 35 weeks.

Working environment

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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