Weapons Technicians maintain and repair weapons, weapons systems and ancillary equipment. They are members of the Electrical and Mechanical Engineering Branch of the Canadian Forces. They also are responsible for the maintenance and repair of miscellaneous equipment such as scales, hydraulic lifts, locks and security containers, personal flotation devices, rebreathers, and equipment for heating, cooking and lighting in the field.
Weapons Technicians are primarily responsible for the maintenance and repair of the following equipment:
- Rifles, submachine-guns and handguns
- Machine-guns and non guided anti-tank weapons
- Sub-calibre adapters
- Training devices, including simulators
- Grenade projectors, mortars and launcher systems
- Light weapons and turret systems for armoured fighting vehicles
Weapons Technicians are employed at bases and stations across Canada and on deployed operations around the world. They experience the unique adventures and challenges that come with working in different environments. While on a base, they may be working in small spaces, like a workshop. In the field or on deployment they may work outdoors most of the time or in temporary accommodations.
The starting salary for a fully-trained Weapons Technician is $49,400 per year; however, depending on previous experience and training the starting salary may be higher.
Weapons Technicians who demonstrate the required ability, dedication and potential are selected for opportunities for career progression, promotion and advanced training.
The first stage of training is the Basic Military Qualification course, or Basic Training, held at the Canadian Forces Leadership and Recruit School in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Quebec. This training provides the basic core skills and knowledge common to all trades. A goal of this course is to ensure that all recruits maintain the Canadian Forces physical fitness standard; as a result, the training is physically demanding.
After Basic Training, Army recruits go to a Military Training centre for the Soldier Qualification course for approximately one month, which covers the following topics:
- Army Physical Fitness
- Dismounted Offensive and Defensive Operations
- Reconnaissance Patrolling
- Advanced Weapons Handling
- Individual Field Craft
Weapons Technicians attend the Canadian Forces School of Electrical and Mechanical Engineering in Borden, Ontario for 35 weeks. Through a combination of instruction, demonstrations and practical work, they learn the following subjects:
- Care and use of common and special tools and electrical test equipment
- Operation and principles of weapon systems
- Electricity and hydraulics
- Use of firearms, pyrotechnics and grenades
- Maintenance of small arms, mortars, recoilless rifles, towed field guns, self-propelled weapons, and turret systems for armoured fighting vehicles
- Basic identification and handling of ammunition
- Alignment of sighting devices
- Test-firing weapons
- Knowledge of various ancillary equipment
- Basic Soldiering skills, including fieldcraft, rescue techniques and first aid and
- Operation of light armoured vehicles, armoured reconnaissance vehicles and armoured personnel carriers
Weapons Technicians are posted to a unit on a Canadian Forces Base for about 18 months of on-job training which resembles a civilian apprenticeship program.
Weapons Technicians may be offered the opportunity to develop specialized skills through formal courses and on-the-job training, including attending further technical training. At the end of this training phase, a Weapons Technician's trade knowledge, skills and experience are comparable to those of a civilian journeyman.
There is also the possibility of taking training to reach Supervisor and Manager levels. The Supervisor level course takes about 15 weeks, and the Manager level course takes about nine weeks.
As they progress in their career, Weapons Technicians who demonstrate the required ability and potential will be offered advanced training. Available courses include:
- High Security Containers and Locking Devices
- Medium Self-Propelled Howitzer
- Leopard Tank
- GIAT Light Towed Howitzer
- Air Defence/Anti-Tank Missile System
- 35-mm Twin Anti-Aircraft Gun
This position is available for part-time employment through the Reserves. Reservists generally work part-time for a Reserve unit in their community. They are not posted or required to do a military move. However, they can volunteer to move to another base. They may also volunteer for deployment on a military mission within or outside Canada.
Reservists train with their home unit to ensure that they meet the required professional standards of the job. If additional training is required in order to specialize skills, arrangements will be made by the home unit.
Typically, Reservists work or train with their home unit for at least four evenings and one weekend per month, from September to May of each year. They are paid 85% of Regular Force rates of pay and receive a reasonable benefits package.