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.
The complete squadron history can be found on the Department of National Defence's Directorate of History and Heritage webpage.
410 Tactical Fighter (Operational Training) Squadron
4 Wing / CFB Cold Lake
PO BOX 6550 STN FORCES
COLD LAKE, AB T9M 2C6