Exercise Gander Gunner 2020

News Article / September 16, 2020

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By Captain Chris Knauer

4 Wing Cold Lake, Alberta, was infiltrated by 408 Tactical Helicopter Squadron in July to host Gander Gunner 2020, a seven-day aerial gunnery training exercise for newly posted aircrew. Operating within the Cold Lake Air Weapons Range, CH-146 Griffon helicopters configured with dual, side mounted C6 machine guns conducted aircrew qualification and currency training, to section level.

Training included new door gunners selected from the Lord Strathcona’s Horse (Royal Canadians), the armoured regiment from 1 Canadian Mechanized Brigade Group based in Edmonton, Alberta. The regiment held a competitive selection process based on merit, performance and aptitude for the troops to be considered for the limited spots at the squadron. Each door gunner will complete a two-year tour with the squadron before returning to the regiment.

The Gander Gunner exercise focused on door gunner accuracy, effective attack patterns and realistic tactical scenarios to maintain the high standard of training for all aircrew. Missions used night vision goggle technology to allow attack teams to conduct fire missions even through the darkest nights.

Rest assured, 408 Tactical Helicopter Squadron will be ready to strike with precision firepower when called upon.

To see a video of the exercise, visit the RCAF’s Facebook page.

Captain Chris Knauer is with 408 Tactical Helicopter Squadron.



Join the RCAF - Dare to be extraordinary

Airborne Electronic Sensor Operators use advanced electronic sensor systems to operate airborne sensors onboard long-range patrol aircraft, maritime helicopters and unmanned aerial vehicles.

They are responsible for detecting and tracking submarines, providing support for search and rescue operations/medical evacuations, and assisting other government departments and agencies in the collection of evidence and counter-narcotics patrols.

Their primary technical functions are to:

         - Operate radar, electrooptic/Infrared systems, magnetic anomaly detection, and electronic warfare equipment
         -  Take airborne photography
         - Load and arm airborne weapons, and search stores systems
         - Operate the helicopter-mounted machine gun system
         -  Operate unmanned aerial vehicle electronic sensor systems
         - Communicate with internal and external agencies; both civilian and Allied forces
         - Collect evidence


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