410 Tactical Fighter (Operational Training) Squadron
410 Tactical Fighter (Operational Training) Squadron is the home of Canadian Forces CF-18 Hornet pilot training.
Our mission is:
"To Train World Class Fighter Pilots to Meet Canada's Needs"
410 "Cougar" Squadron runs two ab initio fighter pilot courses (FPC) each year, training up to 20 fighter pilots. As was shown on the television program "Jetstream" (2008), each course comprises seven intense months of academics, simulator flights and flying missions. Graduates are taken from 419 Tactical Fighter (Training) Squadron (also known as NATO Flying Training in Canada (NFTC) Phase IV) and then provided with the tools to develop a solid foundation in both air-to-air and air-to-ground fighter combat.
Areas covered in depth include basic and advanced aircraft handling, instrument flight, formation flying, night flying, all-weather interception, air-to-air refuelling, Basic Fighter Manoeuvres (BFM - "dogfighting skills") and air combat. The latter half of each FPC comprises academic air-to-ground weapons delivery and Close Air Support (CAS), as well as advanced Air Interdiction (AI) tactics - the former usually completed during a squadron deployment to the south-western United States in the late spring and early fall due to the significantly better weather and the sheer number of bombing ranges available.
Concurrent with this significant mandate, 410 Squadron is also responsible for training and recertifying approximately five former CF-18 Hornet pilots annually. These are pilots who are returning to the CF-18 cockpit after a ground or exchange tour. Furthermore, 410 Squadron also trains newly arrived foreign exchange officers who will be joining one of Canada's two operational fighter squadrons. As their backgrounds can differ significantly, each course is tailored to the individual based on their experience and demonstrated competencies.
410 Squadron is also fortunate to have an extremely strong working relationship between the staff instructor pilots (IPs) and the CF-18 maintenance personnel. This is very important as the squadron always conducts an aggressive and varied flying program, and for the "pipeline" CF-18 student pilots, it is their very first experience operating and working with military (vice contracted civilian) groundcrew and technicians.
A lesser-known sub-unit of 410 Squadron is FOTEF. FOTEF - the Fighter Operational Test & Evaluation Flight - is responsible for the operational testing and evaluation to meet the needs of the Fighter Force (FF). Their efforts have been and continue to be integral to the operational effectiveness of all aspects of core and CF-18 capabilities. Some the new systems being evaluated are Night Vision Imaging Systems (NVIS), Multi-function Information Distribution Systems (MIDS), the Advanced Multi-role Infra-Red Sensor, the evaluation of new mission planning software and the Advanced Distributed Combat Training System (the civilian contracted simulator system). Working closely with a variety of key units across the Air Force including the Aerospace Engineering & Test Establishment (AETE), FOTEF has enabled the seamless integration of newly modernized CF-18 ECP-583 R2 aircraft into the FF.
Recent Squadron Activities (as of 7 Apr 2011)
Currently, FPC 48 comprising 10 students is approximately halfway through the Air-to-Air phase with the Air-to-Ground phase to follow shortly. Having ‘survived’ our Sqn deployment to NAS Key West in the months of Feb/Mar, their solo party was a fantastic gathering of fighter pilots – old and new – who shared in the many (unrepeatable!) traditions of our fighter pilot forefathers. Impressively, all students are working well as a team and have set the standard for course projects completion (check out the ceiling in the “North of 54” Bar & Grill!) and for course cohesiveness. They (and the IPs) all look forward to their graduation dinner scheduled to occur on Thurs 30 June 2011 – just a short 12 weeks away!
On the IP front, both Cherry and Alcan recently flew their 1000th hour in a CF-18, getting the coveted Boeing patch and a photo opp with the CO. The pace continues…
410 Cougar Squadron began at Ayr, Scotland, on June 30, 1941 as a night-fighter unit involved in the defence of Great Britain. Flying single-engined Defiants, the Squadron was operationally ready in August and moved to Drem, near the Firth of Forth.
In April 1942, the Defiants were exchanged for radar-equipped Beaufighters. On completion of conversion training, the Squadron went to Scorton, Yorkshire, in September, where a 410 crew brought the Squadron to its first wartime success.
In October, 410 moved to Acklington, where it received Mosquito Night Fighters and won its first confirmed kill.
In February 1943, the Squadron moved to Coleby Grange, Lincolnshire, where, in addition to normal night duties, it undertook offensive missions into enemy held territory by day and night, attacking trains, vehicles, canal shipping, airfields and Aircraft.
In October 1943, the Squadron moved southeast to England, where it was attached to No. 11 Group and was primarily involved in the defence of Great Britain.
In September 1944, with 51 estimated kills, the Squadron moved to Flisy, near Amiens, and remained in France until the spring of 1945. Their last wartime move was to Gilzen-Rijen in the Netherlands where it remained until the end of hostilities.
Reformed in December 1948 at St. Hubert, Que., 410 became the first fighter squadron in the post-war regular force. Flying Vampires in a day-interceptor role, the Squadron was part of the RCAF's Air Defence Group.
410 was the first RCAF Squadron to receive F-86 Sabres shortly before moving to North Luffenham, England, in November 1951.
410 also became Canada's first day-fighter Squadron to participate in the NATO alliance.
In November 1954, the Squadron moved to Baden-Soellingen, Germany, then on to Marville, France, in early 1955 and was disbanded in October 1956. Reformed again in November 1956, at Uplands Airport, Ottawa, the Squadron was equipped with the CF-100 Canuck.
In 1962, the Squadron converted to the CF-101 Voodoo and continued to operate in the defence of North America until March 31, 1964 when it was disbanded.
In April 1968, 3 All-Weather Operational Training Unit of CFB Bagotville was re-designated as 410 All-Weather Operational Training Squadron. The Squadron was responsible for the training of aircrew for the other interceptor Squadrons of Air Defence Group. The Squadron also ran an annual Air Weapons Instructor's course for CF-101 crews.
On June 12, 1966, the Squadron received its Queens Colours after 25 years of active service.
In May 1980, the CF-18 Hornet was selected as Canada's new fighter Aircraft. This resulted in the end of the CF-101 Voodoo training program in May 1982.
The Squadron was reformed one month later at CFB Cold Lake under its present name.
410 Squadron was tasked to develop a training syllabus and instruct all Canadian Forces Aircrew on the CF-18 Aircraft in both air-to-air and air-to-surface roles. The first two CF-18 arrived at 410 Squadron on October 31, 1982 and it received two more per month until the 138th Aircraft was delivered September 28, 1988.
The first seven courses the squadron ran were six month full-squadron courses in that the graduating pilots formed new CF-18 squadrons. Following this initial cadre of courses, 410 Squadron trained CF-18 pilots at a rate of approximately 50 per year.
In 1992, with the closure of three squadrons in Germany, this was reduced to 25. With the recent reduction in size of the remaining operational squadrons, 410 Squadron now trains approximately 20 fighter pilots annually.
410 Tactical Fight (Operational Training) Squadron
410 Tac F (OT) Sqn
4 Wing/ CFB Cold Lake
PO BOX 6550 STN FORCES
COLD LAKE AB T9M 2C6
Squadron Orderly Room Chief Clerk: 780-840-8000 ext 8880