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Army

Armoured Soldier

Non-Commissioned Member | Full Time, Part Time


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Overview

Armoured Soldiers operate and maintain armoured fighting vehicles, its weapon systems and its communication equipment. Armoured Soldiers are members of the Combat Arms team, which also includes Infantry, Artillery and Combat Engineering regiments. 

Armoured Soldiers begin their career with one of two types of vehicles: the tank or the reconnaissance vehicle. As a member of a tank crew trained to be a driver, operator or gunner, an Armoured Soldier has the following duties:

  • Drive and maintain the tank
  • Fire the tank’s main gun
  • Load the tank’s main gun and machineguns
  • Maintain the tank’s communications equipment

As a member of a reconnaissance vehicle crew trained to be a driver or an observer, an Armoured Soldier has the following duties:

  • Drive and maintain the vehicle
  • Load, fire and maintain the vehicle’s machine-guns
  • Maintain and operate the vehicle’s radio equipment
  • Gather and relay information about the enemy and the terrain

Work environment

Armoured Soldiers experience the unique adventures and challenges that come with work in the field and on deployment to other countries.

Career Overview

Transcript

MASTER CORPORAL ALEXANDRA BRISSON: I’m Master Corporal Alexandra Brisson from Halifax, Nova Scotia. I’m a crew member with the Royal Canadian Dragoons posted at Canadian Forces Base Petawawa.

MASTER CORPORAL ALEXANDRA BRISSON: Armoured has two facets to it. There’s the tanks — the tank’s job is to roll through, they have the heavy firepower and they can pretty much roll right over anything. And then you have the reconnaissance — they need to be able to manoeuvre the battlefield, get as much information and define the enemy and push that information to higher. That way, the infantry, the artillery, the engineers — all the rest of the brigade that will be
behind us — knows where the safe lands are and how much of the enemy threat is there.
After the recce crew does its job collecting and passing on vital information on the enemy and terrain, the tanks get called in — providing troops with protection and firepower to advance in the field and defeat the enemy.
Driving a 70-tonne tank is not your everyday job. Getting the job done means working within a team that acts like a single organism — moving, firing, and communicating all at the same time.


MASTER CORPORAL ALEXANDRA BRISSON: You gotta have a good work ethic, you need to have a good communication skill because if you can’t talk and communicate with your commander or your driver, you’re not going to accomplish anything.
Equipped with night vision capabilities, Canada’s armoured vehicles are ready to move at all times, day or night. Leopard tanks can take out targets up to four kilometres away, while the LAV 6 and the TAPV are loaded with guns and surveillance equipment that will find the enemy without being seen.

MASTER CORPORAL ALEXANDRA BRISSON: It’s kind of like playing a big game of hide-and-go-seek — you don’t want to be found, and you want to be able to hide this big armoured vehicle,but yet you have the firepower to defend yourself.

MASTER CORPORAL ALEXANDRA BRISSON: My favourite part of my job would have to be going to the live ranges… That, right there! That is it, that is the favourite part! Being on a live range, and being able to call out the targets, having your gunner do his piece, engage the targets, and knowing the satisfaction that all is said and done in a good fashion, in a timely manner, it’s just a good time all around.

Once fully trained, Armoured Soldiers are assigned to one of three historic armoured regiments in the Regular Force: the Lord Strathcona’s Horse (Royal Canadians) in Edmonton, the 12e Régiment blindé du Canada in Valcartier, Québec; or the Royal Canadian Dragoons, based in Petawawa, Ontario. There are also 18 Reserve armoured regiments across Canada.

In their first posting, soldiers will master the skills of an armoured vehicle driver. They are mentored by more experienced drivers on how to handle and maintain armoured vehicles. Soldiers start out as drivers, learning the machines inside and out, then move on to become surveillance operators and gunners, who bring firepower and target acquisition to the battlespace.

MASTER CORPORAL ALEXANDRA BRISSON: When I was a brand-new trooper at the Regiment, we went to a live-fire range and I was a driver. And you literally have the smoke from the gun coming into your driver’s hatch, you’re driving down range, they’re traversing, you’re listening to their gun drills — it’s an awesome time.
Armoured soldiers are masters at multitasking and working closely within a crew. They have the opportunity to advance their careers and be in charge of multiple vehicles and troops, receive and issue orders, and bring the fight to the enemy. Armoured Soldiers regularly deploy across Canada and overseas on military operations.

MASTER CORPORAL ALEXANDRA BRISSON: Last year, I was deployed to the Ukraine for 3 months. It was a great experience, I got to meet a lot of people and work with some of the Americans and meet a whole bunch of Ukrainians and see the beautiful city of Lviv on some of our downtime that we had, as well as experience what’s going on over there.
At home, they may be called upon to help during natural disasters like fire or flood relief.

MASTER CORPORAL ALEXANDRA BRISSON: It definitely is a tough job at times. It’s a gut-check— you have to stay awake for long hours, you’re physically pushing yourself — but in the end, once you’ve completed it all, it’s some of the best times of your life.

Related Civilian Occupations:

  • Heavy equipment operator
  • Computer operator
  • Firefighter
  • Guard

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 Armed Forces (CAF) physical fitness standard; as a result, the training is physically demanding.

After Basic Training, Army recruits go to a Military Training centre for the Basic Military Qualification – Land Course for approximately one month, which covers the following topics:

  • Army physical fitness
  • Dismounted offensive and defensive operations
  • Reconnaissance patrolling
  • Individual field craft

Learn more about Basic Training here.

Armoured Soldiers attend the Combat Training Centre in Gagetown, New Brunswick. Training takes 11 weeks and teaches the following basic skills:

  • Army physical fitness
  • Mounted and dismounted reconnaissance patrolling
  • Advanced weapons-handling
  • Individual field craft
  • Driving and maintaining tanks and reconnaissance vehicles
  • Firing and maintaining weapon systems currently used in Canadian AFVs
  • Operating surveillance equipment on the reconnaissance vehicle
  • Identifying Canadian and foreign military vehicles, aircraft and equipment
  • Using tactical command-and-control communications equipment
  • Organization, roles, doctrine and tactics of armour and reconnaissance
  • History and traditions of the Royal Canadian Armoured Corps

Armoured Soldiers may be offered the opportunity to develop specialized skills through formal courses and on-the-job training, including:

  • Unarmed Combat Instructor
  • Assault Troop
  • Armoured Crew – Reconnaissance

As they progress in their career, Armoured Soldiers who demonstrate the required ability and potential will be offered advanced training. Available courses include:

  • Armoured Gunnery Specialist
  • Combat Arms Telecommunications Specialist
  • Combat Arms Driving and Maintenance Specialist
  • Crew Commander
  • Reconnaissance Troop Leader

Entry plans

The minimum required education to apply for this position is the completion of the provincial requirements for Grade 10 or Secondaire IV in Quebec. Foreign education may be accepted.

Part time options

This position is available for part-time employment with the Primary Reserve at certain locations across Canada. Reserve Force members usually serve part time with a military unit in their community, and may serve while going to school or working at a civilian job. They are paid during their training. 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.

Armoured Soldiers serve with the Canadian Army. They are employed operating and maintaining armoured fighting vehicles, onboard weapon systems and communication equipment. When they are employed on a part-time or casual full-time basis they usually serve at a CAF armour unit located within Canada.

Reserve Force members are trained to the same level as their Regular Force counterparts. They usually begin training with their home unit to ensure that they meet the required basic professional military standards. Following basic training, Army recruits train for the soldier qualification for approximately one month and then Armoured Soldiers attend the Combat Training Centre in Gagetown, New Brunswick for 11 weeks to achieve their occupational qualification.

Reserve Force members usually serve part-time with their home unit for scheduled evenings and weekends, although they may also serve in full-time positions at some units for fixed terms, depending on the type of work that they do. They are paid 92.8 percent of Regular Force rates of pay, receive a reasonable benefits package and may qualify to contribute to a pension plan.