Members of the Squadron and 4 wing pay tribute to the cessation during the ceremony. Chantel Downes, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

COLD LAKE – At Hangar 10, 4 Wing Cold Lake, the 419 Tactical Fighter Training Squadron of the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) marked a significant transition in its operations with a moving cessation of operations ceremony.  

The occasion on March 8 was an important moment in the squadron’s history, symbolizing the end of an era, while looking forward to future endeavours. 

According to information from The Maple Leaf, a national online source for stories about the Canadian Armed Force run by the Government of Canada, the cessation of operations coincides with the conclusion of the contract with CAE Inc. for training on the CT-155 Hawk, which has served the RCAF for 24 years. This milestone propels the RCAF toward a transitional phase, involving the adoption of an interim training solution. 

“While this interim training program is in place, 419 Tactical Fighter Training Squadron will be placed on hiatus to be reactivated in the future with a new fifth-generation trainer aircraft as part of a Future Fighter Lead-in Training program,” said Colonel Adam Carlson, Director of Royal Canadian Air Force Training. 

The decision to transition reflects the evolving landscape of military aviation, with the CT-155 Hawk reaching the end of its service life after two decades of service. With the emergence of fifth-generation fighter aircraft, such as the F-35, nations worldwide are confronted with selecting suitable jet trainers to meet contemporary training needs, according the The Maple Leaf. 

Canada’s involvement in the EURO-NATO Joint Jet Pilot Training program (ENJJPT) underscores its commitment to international cooperation in aviation training. Established in 1981, to foster collaboration among NATO partners during the Cold War, ENJJPT remains a cornerstone of allied training efforts. The program, managed by the United States Air Force’s 80th Fighter Training Wing, has been instrumental in providing common training for NATO pilots. 

In light of the CT-155 Hawk’s retirement, the Canadian Forces School of Aerospace Technology and Engineering at Canadian Forces Base Borden, Ont., will assume responsibility for training RCAF aircraft technicians, ensuring the aircraft’s continued contribution to Canadian aviation. 

For the members of the 419 Squadron, the cessation of operations represents both a moment of reflection and anticipation.  

“This upcoming period of hiatus is nothing new for 419 Squadron, indeed, it has been part of our squadron’s story going back to its beginnings in England during the Second World War,” said LCol. Ryan Kean, Commanding Officer of 419 Squadron. “Certainly, it’s bittersweet – while it is never easy to work through this kind of change, even on an interim basis – we are looking forward to the reactivation of 419 Squadron with new and exciting capabilities in the future.” 

As the squadron embarks on this hiatus, its personnel will continue to support other units at 4 Wing Cold Lake. Despite the temporary cessation of flight operations, 419 Squadron remains administratively active, poised to resume its vital role as the RCAF’s Tactical Fighter Training Squadron in the early 2030s, according to The Maple Leaf. 

By Chantel Downes, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Original Published on Mar 18, 2024 at 12:49

This item reprinted with permission from   Lakeland This Week   Bonnyville, Alberta

Comments are Welcome - Use the 'Join the Discussion' above any replies, or 'TheRegional / Chat' below replies. Both links take you to the same place. You will be asked to become a registered user if you are not one already - Posts are moderated