Vanguard Magazine

Jun/Jul 2015

Preserving capacity, General Tom Lawson, Chief of the Defence Staff, Keys to Canadian SAR

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a aIr FORCE 16 JUNE/JULY 2015 Tactical aviation's new force employment concept IntegrAted WIng by Chris thatcher e ven as the wheels of the first of 15 new CH-147F Chinook helicop- ters touched down on the tarmac of the reactivated 450 Squadron in Petawawa – almost one a month be- tween June of 2013 and 2014 – Colonel Scott Clancy was preparing for a new force employment concept for the Royal Cana- dian Air Force's tactical aviation fleet. Charged in 2008 with planning the de- ployment and sustainment of Canada's helicopter task force in Afghanistan, which at the time included eight CH-146 Grif- fons and six rapidly acquired D-model Chinooks, he had seen firsthand what an integrated capability could deliver. Now, as Commander of 1 Wing in Kingston, he had the task of implement- ing a significant structural change to tacti- cal aviation to better integrate the Wing's squadrons and align its resources with the Canadian Army's evolving operating con- cept of Adaptive Dispersed Operations (ADO). "Every time you add a capability, you have to have a real look at yourself. The Chinook provided us an opportunity to look at the entire Wing, the entire tac- tical aviation community, and organize it functionally around our deployed operational structure," he explained. "It became very obvious, based on the Manley report that required us to de- ploy the Chinooks to Afghanistan in the first place, that we needed a battalion, a deployable organization with both Chi- nook and Griffon capabilities to cover the three main roles of tactical aviation: firepower, reconnaissance and mobility." Drawing on the experience of Afghani- stan, Clancy and his 1 Wing predecessors recognized that while the Griffons and Chinooks would occupy separate bases across the country, "we were never going to have a single squadron ever deployed in the future; it was always going to be a mix of units." The addition of a dedicated Chinook squadron in Petawawa, however, allowed 1 Wing to earmark an aviation squadron to support each of the army's regular force brigades in Edmonton, Petawawa and Val- cartier. (Although 427 Squadron is based in Petawawa, it is a dedicated special op- erations squad under the command of CANSOFCOM.) In a nutshell, when a tactical aviation (Tac Avn) squadron deploys with an army brigade, its commander (CO) will now become the Tac Avn CO in theatre, sup-

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