434 Squadron reborn to lead RCAF’s operational testing and evaluation

News Article / May 31, 2018

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From 8 Wing Trenton public affairs

A ceremony was held at the National Air Force Museum of Canada in Trenton, Ontario, today to mark the re-birth of the Royal Canadian Air Force’s famous 434 “Bluenose” Squadron.

The squadron is being reborn as 434 Operational Test and Evaluation (OT&E) Squadron, under command of the RCAF Aerospace Warfare Centre (RAWC) in Trenton. The squadron will amalgamate five existing test and evaluation flights (TEFs) and create two new TEFs under the command of a single unit.

  • The Helicopter Operational Test and Evaluation Flight at 12 Wing Shearwater, Nova Scotia, is responsible for the operationalization of the CH-148 Cyclone Maritime Helicopter.
  • The Long Range Patrol Operational Test and Evaluation Flight at 14 Wing Greenwood, Nova Scotia, is focused primarily on the CP-140 Aurora long-range patrol aircraft.
  • The Transport Operational Test and Evaluation Flight, located at 8 Wing Trenton, Ontario, deals with all air mobility fleets such as the CC-130J Hercules, CC-177 Globemaster III and CC-150 Polaris transport aircraft.
  • The Land Aviation Test and Evaluation Flight, located at St. Hubert, Quebec, deals with tactical aviation helicopters such as the CH-147F Chinook and CH-146 Griffon.
  • The Fighter Operational Test and Evaluation Flight at 4 Wing Cold Lake, Alberta, deals with fighter aircraft.
  • The new Search and Rescue Test and Evaluation Flight will be stood up at 19 Wing Comox, British Columbia. It will be responsible for the new Fixed Wing Search and Rescue, CH-149 Cormorant, CC-130H Hercules and CH-146 Griffon search and rescue fleets.
  • The new Aerospace Test and Evaluation Flight will be co-located with 434 Squadron headquarters in 8 Wing Trenton. It will deal with ground-based aeronautical systems such as radars, navigational aids, meteorological systems and data links.

“The amalgamation of the RCAF’s test and evaluation flights under one unit and the implementation of a new air test and evaluation governance system supports the establishment of the RCAF Aerospace Warfare Centre as a change-driver and enabler,” said Lieutenant-Colonel Graham Edwards, the squadron commanding officer. “434 Operational Test and Evaluation Squadron will, through the execution of prioritized command-driven test and evaluation, ensure the RCAF has the operational capability to address the air power challenges of today and the future.”

434 Squadron will be headquartered at the RAWC, while its associated TEFs will remain co-located with the fleets they support. The squadron will support the RAWC’s mandated role as the change-driver and enabler for the RCAF.

The stand-up of 434 marks the fifth time the squadron has been re-activated since it was formed in 1943 at RAF Station Tholthrope, Yorkshire, England, as part of the RCAF’s No 6. Bomber Group.

Most recently, the squadron, known as 434 Combat Support Squadron, was disbanded in 2002 and its squadron standard (“Colour”) was “laid up” in All Saints Cathedral in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Earlier this month, the Colour was retrieved from the Cathedral and returned to the squadron.

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