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Aircrew NCMs and ranks

dimsum

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Split from the MQ-25 Stingray discussion and the subsequent "should Pilots be officers" discussion, the RCAF doesn't follow our Commonwealth allies (RAF, RAAF, RNZAF, etc) with NCM Aircrew ranks either. 

In those forces, when one becomes an aircrew NCM either off the street or OT, they immediately become promoted to Sgt.  There is no aircrew NCM rank below that. 

I'm wondering why we didn't do that with our AESOPs, FEs, SAR Techs, Loadies, etc who can be Avrs?  There's the obvious "they don't have enough TI to be Sgts" but obviously the other forces get over that somehow. 
 

Kilted

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Well if musicians in the Reg Force can start off as Sgt's, I'm sure its possiple.
 

dapaterson

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Kilted said:
Well if musicians in the Reg Force can start off as Sgt's, I'm sure its possiple.
They do not.  They did previously, but not any more.
 

Eagle_Eye_View

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AES Op used to be automatically promoted to MCpl once OFP. MESIP stopped that and we now have Avr/Cpl doing the exact job previously were MCpl/Sgt.  IMO I believe this was a mistake, since it hurts both the line units and members. It is a struggle for appointing Leads as Cpl because of the responsibility that comes with it. Sure you could appoint a keen Cpl Lead, but we have to be careful and manage the risk due to lack of experience.
 

Eye In The Sky

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Dimsum said:
Split from the MQ-25 Stingray discussion and the subsequent "should Pilots be officers" discussion, the RCAF doesn't follow our Commonwealth allies (RAF, RAAF, RNZAF, etc) with NCM Aircrew ranks either. 

In those forces, when one becomes an aircrew NCM either off the street or OT, they immediately become promoted to Sgt.  There is no aircrew NCM rank below that. 

I'm wondering why we didn't do that with our AESOPs, FEs, SAR Techs, Loadies, etc who can be Avrs?  There's the obvious "they don't have enough TI to be Sgts" but obviously the other forces get over that somehow.

I've had discussions about this with the RAF NCM and Commissioned aircrew who were on SEEDCORN or those that transferred to the RCAF around that timeframe.  One RAF Officer believed there was no need for a L/AES Op, as an example, because "the TAC or Skipper could deal with unruly Cpls".  My counter was "that is what MCpls and Sgts are for, for minor transgressions...and who is going to teach the Cpls how to be MCpls and Sgts...Captains should be teaching Lts how to be Captains".  It was a good, spirited discussion in the crew rooms.

The one main reason we don't do it is our NCM training model, specifically WRT leadership training;  it isn't embedded into our Recruit -> OFP training like it is in the RAF NCM aircrew system.  We do it IAW the DP system and the NCM General Specifications; these of course are pan-CAF and apply to all trades (a limitation, IMO).

I'm only familiar with the RAF training thru conversation with a few who went thru it, but here's what their recruiting website indicates as the 'current way'.  I'll compare the stream for their WSOP (ISR) to our Direct Entry AES Op.

AIRCREW WEAPON SYSTEMS OPERATOR 

INITIAL TRAINING - Your career will start with the 10-week Basic Recruit Training Course (BRTC) at RAF Halton in Buckinghamshire. The course is designed to help you adjust to a military environment.  As well as fitness and military training, you will also learn about the RAF lifestyle.

Following the Basic Recruit Training Course (BRTC), prospective Weapon Systems Operators...will complete the *Direct Entrant Senior Non-Commissioned Officer (DE SNCO) Course at Airmen's Command Squadron (ACS), RAF Halton. The 8-week training programme will develop the students’ knowledge of leadership within the RAF and increase their understanding of their management responsibilities as SNCOs. The course includes Air Power academic study, Practical Leadership Exercises, an Appraisal Workshop, Interview Techniques and Fitness Development.

* this is a significant difference between RAF and RCAF NCM aircrew trg; 2 months of Leadership training before even seeing Specialist ("trades") training.

SPECIALIST TRAINING

WSOP INTELLIGENCE SURVEILLANCE RECONNAISSANCE (ISR).  If streamed (ISR) you will undergo a 12-week foundation phase. On completion you will be streamed to either the WSOp Electonic Warfare (EW) or WSOp Acoustics (ACO) specialisation.

WSOP (EW) / WSOP (ACO):  Both of these specialisations will complete a 20 week course, followed by a 6 month Operational Conversion Course.

RAF WSOPs arrive on Sqn with about 74 weeks of training, including 2 months of leader/SNCO training

YOUR CAREER PROSPECTS - "...You will hold the rank of acting Sergeant during your professional training.  Once you start your front-line job, and you are assessed as being capable of operating independently, you will be promoted to substantive Sergeant."

Compared to RCAF Direct Entry AES Ops:

BMQ - 10 weeks
AMT/Sea Surv/ LOS Aircrew (BSERE) - 4 weeks
Basic AES Op Course - 6? months
MOAT - 6 months

Approx. 70 weeks of training, no leadership training.  In conjunction - 48 months service, promotion to Cpl / 36 months minimum for Advanced promotion to Cpl. 

Our 70 weeks produces a B Cat on Sqn, who is now starting their OJT (a course, formally) that they have *up to* 24 months to complete to achieve Advanced Category.  After achieving A Cat, they do not have BIT (Basic Instructional Techniques), they will not have FIC, and they will not have PLQ; yet they are assessed on their ability to lead/develop/mentor B Cats.  Zero leadership or instructional training.

Under the current Occupation and NCM General Specifications, the CAF NCM DP system etc, I don't see how we could produce "Acting Sgts". 
 

Eye In The Sky

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Eagle Eye View said:
AES Op used to be automatically promoted to MCpl once OFP. MESIP stopped that and we now have Avr/Cpl doing the exact job previously were MCpl/Sgt.  IMO I believe this was a mistake, since it hurts both the line units and members. It is a struggle for appointing Leads as Cpl because of the responsibility that comes with it. Sure you could appoint a keen Cpl Lead, but we have to be careful and manage the risk due to lack of experience.

The "pyramid" was forced onto the trade and there was no good argument made against it, I guess.  Direct Entry changed the landscape too much.

There are a few possible solutions but none that I think would ever be blessed by Snr Leadership; I've suggested a course called PAEQ (AC) or Pre-PLQ (AC) that would encompass the core NCO functions/skills development, as an example.  The thought then it "just load them on PLQ".  Well, that would work if you could priority load NCM aircrew but...
 

Eye In The Sky

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RAAF is similar in training for AEA (Airborne Electronics Analyst) but slightly different for rank upon graduation from trg:

Military Training, Duration: 10.6 weeks

Location: RAAF Base Wagga (NSW)

You'll start your Air Force career at No 1 Recruit Training Unit (1RTU). In three intensive months you'll transition smoothly from civilian to Service life, acquiring the basic knowledge, skills and physical fitness required for your role; and learning to become an effective and productive member of the Air Force.

Non Commissioned Officer Training

Non Commission Officer training is the first stage of promotion training that you will undergo and begins with a Corporal Promotion Course. This course aims to prepare Airmen and Airwomen for promotion to the rank of Corporal, the first of the supervisory Airman ranks. The Corporal Course provides the link between the initial leadership skills gained at 1RTU during recruit training and those required to become a Non Commissioned Officer (NCO).

AEA Specialist Training

After all this you will be ready to commence AEA Initial training at 292SQN, located at RAAF Base Edinburgh, SA, where you will cover topics such as Theory of Flight, Meteorology, Aircraft Systems, Navigation, Air Traffic Control, Intelligence

Gathering, Photography, Mathematics, Electronic Warfare theory, Radar theory, Infra-Red and Optical systems, Acoustic Warfare, Communications, Airmanship. You will then commence Operational Conversion on either the P-8A Poseidon at 292SQN Edinburgh, or E-7A Wedgetail at 2SQN Williamtown depending on Air Force requirements including both simulator and flying training. The training usually culminates in an operational deployment or exercise within Australia, or overseas. The major shipping lanes or combined exercises overseas are the perfect place to consolidate skills learnt and to complete your final assessment as an AEA trainee. All up, from 1RTU to graduating from 292SQN, your training will take around 17 months.

Once you complete this course you will graduate from No. 292 or No. 2 Squadron wearing the AEA brevet. You will also be promoted to the rank of Corporal and be ready to join an elite crew in an operational squadron.

 

Eye In The Sky

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RNZAF Air Warfare Specialist

Upon successful enlistment into the Air Force you’ll be posted to RNZAF Base Woodbourne (near Blenheim). Here you’ll do 12 weeks of basic military training...

Following 12 weeks basic military training at RNZAF Base Woodbourne, you’ll be required to pass a four-week Corporal Qualifying Course to confirm your rank as Acting Corporal. You’ll then be posted to 42 SQN to complete an 8 week Combined Non-Commissioned Officer Aircrew Course, covering generic aircrew subjects as well as Aviation Medicine and Survival training. You will then be posted to 5 SQN to begin training in your specialist role as an Air Warfare Specialist.

As part of the Orion Conversion Course, your training as an AWS will consist of a nine-month residential course at RNZAF Base Auckland
 

dimsum

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Thanks EITS for the info.  I guess the RAAF has down-ranked the initial entrants for the trade.

Regarding those programs you've said, those sound like great candidates for RCAF Vector Check, part of The Hangar.

https://app.rcafdispatch.ca/login

 

Eye In The Sky

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I've never heard of that...created an account but it won't let me past the Confirmation Code stage.
 

TCM621

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Eye In The Sky said:
The "pyramid" was forced onto the trade and there was no good argument made against it, I guess.  Direct Entry changed the landscape too much.

There are a few possible solutions but none that I think would ever be blessed by Snr Leadership; I've suggested a course called PAEQ (AC) or Pre-PLQ (AC) that would encompass the core NCO functions/skills development, as an example.  The thought then it "just load them on PLQ".  Well, that would work if you could priority load NCM aircrew but...

Maybe a 5Bs after their 5As? Or better yet put deserving Cpls on PLQ before they get promoted. This would have the added benefit of the people who get promoted  being actually qualified to hold their new ranks.
 

Eye In The Sky

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Tcm621 said:
Maybe a 5Bs after their 5As? Or better yet put deserving Cpls on PLQ before they get promoted. This would have the added benefit of the people who get promoted  being actually qualified to hold their new ranks.

OFP for AES Ops is their "platform" course;  currently that equals getting qualified on either the Aurora or Cyclone (NWGs aren't being streamed FWSAR at this time).  For Aurora types, they are then on a course often referred to as their "upgrade", where they are on course at the line squadron for up to 24 months to go from Basic to Advanced Category.  That training effectively covers off the hard MOSID skills required.

We have a hard enough time getting A/L MCpls on their PLQ.  We just don't get enough of the PLQ slots per year to front-load promising Cpl's on the course.

Back in my initial JNCO days, A/L rank was RARE...now it is the norm, to the detriment of the mbr, their unit and trade.  The JNCO skill sets are so watered-down in the modern CF.  Most new Sgts now, that I've seen, have the NCO skill sets of a above average Cpl/average MCpl from the 90s era (IMO). 

I think we, the RCAF are doing it wrong and should look to other Air Forces like the ones I've mentioned about for how to train aircrew NCOs to produce better leaders and aviators.
 

Ostrozac

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Eye In The Sky said:
We just don't get enough of the PLQ slots per year to front-load promising Cpl's on the course.

There's your problem right there. Increase training capacity and prioritize the schools. But it can't be lip-service, there needs to be actual greater resources and more good people assigned to our various school houses. We seem to have no problem building excess headquarters capacity -- why are our schools so often an afterthought?
 

Eye In The Sky

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I think Acting MCpl/MS is just so "normal" now, and has been for so long, everyone forgets that is not the way it is supposed to be and rather than fix the problem, we as an institution have just accepted a lower ability (not trade-specific, leadership/GSK/NCO skills) from the JNCO, SNCO and maybe Warrant Officer/Petty Officer 1st class ranks.

I was Sgt on SLC in 2002 in Gagetown.  There were 2 PLQ courses on the go at the same time;  both were max-loaded and all candidates were A/Lacking.  This problem has existed for almost 2 decades and as you point out, collectively the CAF doesn't give a crap.
 
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