Weapons Technician – Land

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

ANGERMAN: If it goes bang or boom, it’s my business.

I’m Master Corporal Tim Angerman from Huron Park, Ontario. I’m a Weapons Technician posted to the Canadian Forces School of Electrical and Mechanical Engineering in Borden.

And I’m Corporal Michael Hogan from Goderich, Ontario, Weapons Technician - Land, with 5 Service Battalion in Valcartier, Quebec.

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WEAPONS TECHNICIAN – LAND

ANGERMAN: We’re the guys behind the scenes for the most part, but without us, you can’t win. We’re the guys that check the weapons out, make sure they’re good to go before the combat arms go into battle. And when they have breakdown during the battle or after the battle, we’re the ones that fix them again and keep them running. Without us, they can’t fight.

HOGAN: It’s a job that requires intense concentration at the work bench, but there’s a great feeling of teamwork, too and a real feeling of satisfaction to take home every day.

You can go from pistols, rifles, machine guns – that was my interest. Then you go to heavy artillery and tanks and so you could touch everything.

ANGERMAN: This is the place where Weapons Techs spend most of their time on the job -- the shop floor. The equipment here is the best in the world. Great conditions to practice your trade and to keep learning new skills.

HOGAN: Right now, they’re working on a turret gun for a Coyote armoured vehicle, a 25 mm canon that can fire 200 rounds per minute.

ANGERMAN: If you’re thinking about joining the Regular Force or the Reserves as a Weapons Technician, you might be a lot like me. I looked at a lot of different trades, but Weapons Tech seemed to be the best fit for me -- and a lot more exciting than what my friends were doing in civilian life.

I always had this sort of calling towards my country. Somehow, that’s what got me into the army cadets and then from there, it just progressed, a natural progression to the Forces itself. Being in the Forces is a way that one person as part of a team can end up being a hero to accomplish whatever the goal may be, just like the guys did in World War II.

HOGAN: What impressed me was that you get paid from Day One even while you’re training and your pension starts on Day One as well.

You know you just can’t beat the security in the army and the camaraderie. You know, all my friends are still in the army. And you can go back year after year, you can go back twenty years after. All my friends are still here.

ANGERMAN: It’s important to remember that Weapons Techs are soldiers, too. We’ve got the same basic military qualifications as the infantry and other combat units.

We train for overseas missions. We train to do our job in a combat zone and that’s the best part of it is when you actually get to put everything you’ve trained to do. Everything you thought you were going to do, you actually get to go do it.

HOGAN: That’s where you get a chance to, you know, to prove to yourself that that’s you know, what you’ve done all that training for and you’re there and you do it and you just, you just don’t get any better than that.

As a Weapons Technician, after Basic Military Qualification, you’ll get eight months of specialized education at the Canadian Forces School of Electrical and Mechanical Engineering at CFB Borden in Ontario. That’s where you’ll learn how all these weapons work: the electronic, hydraulic and explosive systems inside them, how to maintain, repair and test-fire guns, rockets and grenade launchers and a lot of other skills – everything from fixing locks and scales to the Army’s portable stoves.

ANGERMAN: When that course is completed, you head to a Canadian Forces base for a year and a half of on-the-job training. It’s like a civilian apprenticeship at full pay with plenty of opportunities after that for intermediate and advanced courses in things like the latest air transportable heavy artillery, crew served anti-tank and area support weaponry, high-security containers and anti-aircraft guns.

HOGAN: You’re always picking up something new and getting paid while you learn.

ANGERMAN: It’s a big responsibility. Every time I finish work on a weapon, I ask myself, “Would I allow my grandmother to fire this weapon?” and if I can answer yes to that, then I let it go out to the user.

HOGAN: You know every single time that these guys are going out, they’re going to be using their weapons in a real-time situation. And they’re using the equipment that you are going to inspect, that you are going to tell them that it is going to work.

If I work on a gun, it’s gonna work every time. That’s a great feeling and this is a great job.

ANGERMAN: I guess one of the best things about being a Weapons Tech is the thanks we get from the soldiers we support. They know how important our job is to keeping them in the fight.

We’re all part of that. It’s like the gears in a machine and when you come home, you can pat yourself on the back knowing that, you know, you were a part of that team.

TITLE:
WEAPONS TECHNICIAN – LAND

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 $49,400 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

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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