Residents of the Kingston area shouldn’t be alarmed if they see two Alpha Jet aircraft flying in the skies on Nov. 20. The Air Land Integration Cell of the Canadian Army Doctrine Training Centre is conducting a Close Air Support training exercise between 2:30 and 4 p.m.
The training will involve two Joint Terminal Attack Controllers (JTAC). JTACs are qualified military members who direct the action of a combat aircraft engaged in close air support and other offensive air operations from the ground. Two pilots flying the Alpha Jets.
The training is taking place to help the JTACs retain currency. Each JTAC must have a total of 12 controls a year. Controls involve the JTACs communicating with the plane and correlating a target on the ground.
The JTAC members are able to complete most of their controls while on domestic and international exercises. But occasionally, two or three times a year, the Alpha Jets or CF-18 are brought in to Kingston for a control.
“It’s very important to maintain the close relationships between the Army and the Air Force and the JTAC and pilot is that node. So maintain the relationships, the proficiency of talking to the airplanes, working with the airplanes and being able to have close integration of the airframe and their weapons effects to what they need for a simulated scenario on the ground. What’s important is to be proficient and maintain relationships because it is a difficult skill to maintain,” said Major John Waugh from The Air Land Integration Cell.
The JTACs will be situated at Fort Henry with the Alpha Jets flying overhead. The two will communicate the simulated scenario and over the two hours will have to navigate through several simulated attacks. The JTACs will find a simulated target on the ground and talk the pilots systems and eyes to the target and attack it.
Residents have been assured that the training should pose no significant disturbance but will hear and see the jets during the time of the training.