RCAF exercise integrates officer and NCM communications training

News Article / June 13, 2014

By Lieutenant Kendra Hick

Exercise Mercury Wing 14 came to a successful conclusion on May 6, 2014, at the Mountain View training area, which is part of 8 Wing Trenton, Ontario.

Mercury Wing 14 was the first exercise of its kind to integrate the training of both Royal Canadian Air Force communication officers and Royal Canadian Air Force communication non-commissioned members.  During the nine-day exercise, officers and non-commissioned members from the Communications and Electronics Branch of the Canadian Armed Forces shared a camp south of Belleville, Ontario.

The exercise is the last exercise held during the basic communications and electronics engineering (air) officer course (BCAOC), which evaluates the students’ ability to perform in the roles of duty officer as well as commander of a communications flight.

The deployed communications system technician (DCST) course was also tightly woven into the exercise. Held at the Aerospace and Telecommunications Engineering Support Squadron (ATESS) at 8 Wing Trenton, Ontario, the three-month DCST course prepares aerospace telecommunication and information systems technicians to deploy communications equipment in austere environments.

As a result, BCAOC flight commanders had the chance to lead teams of non-commissioned members from their branch during the exercise, enabling a deployment with troops and equipment in a much more realistic manner.

Mercury WIng was supported by the Canadian Forces School of Communications and Electronics at Canadian Forces Base Kingston, Ontario, ATESS, and the 8 Air Communication and Control Squadron (8 ACCS) at 8 Wing.

In future years, Exercise Mercury Wing will continue to increase the collaboration between officers and non-commissioned members within the Communications and Electronics Branch, and facilitate the passage of knowledge and experience earlier in training.

About the Communications and Electronics Branch

The Communications and Electronics Branch is the successor body of professional military communicators from the former Royal Canadian Corps of Signals, the Royal Canadian Air Force Telecommunications Branch, and the Royal Canadian Navy shore-based signals intelligence community. Its 7,500 members are the glue that connects our country and national leadership to Canadian Armed Forces operations spread around the world. As well, the branch’s members work 24/7 to preserve sovereignty, particularly in the Arctic and in cyberspace.

The Branch celebrated its110th anniversary on October 24, 2013, commemorating the establishment of the Canadian Signaling Corps (Militia) — the first in the Commonwealth.

The Communications and Electronics Branch includes Navy, Army and Air Force personnel in the following occupations:

  • Communications and electronics engineering (air) officer  (Air Force)
  • Signals officer (Army)
  • Communicator research operator (Navy, Army or Air Force)
  • Aerospace telecommunication and information systems technician (Air Force)
  • Army communication and information systems specialist (Army)


Join the RCAF - Dare to be extraordinary

Air Combat Systems Officers plan, coordinate and direct the missions of aircraft and crew. They manage the operation of precision tactical navigation systems, sophisticated sensors, communication systems, electronic warfare equipment and weapon delivery systems.

Air Combat Systems Officers often direct and coordinate the tactical activities of other units. They lead a variety of missions, including:

         - Search and Rescue
         - Anti-Submarine Operations
         - Maritime Surface Surveillance and Targeting
         - Sovereignty and Fisheries Patrols
         - Counter-Narcotics Operations
         - Air-to-Air Refueling
         - Humanitarian Relief
         - Combined Operations with Foreign Militaries
         - Electronic Warfare Training and Support
         - Unmanned Aerial Vehicle
         - Operations


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