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Cessation of operations ceremony marks transition for 419 Tactical Fighter Training Squadron at 4 Wing Cold Lake

4 Wing Cold Lake, home to the Royal Canadian Air Force, witnessed a poignant moment in its history as the 419 Tactical Fighter Training Squadron commemorated the cessation of its operations with a heartfelt ceremony at Hanger 10.  


The event, held on March 8, served as a significant milestone for the squadron, signifying the end of an era while also heralding the dawn of new opportunities. The occasion was underscored by the conclusion of the longstanding contract with CAE Inc. For training on the CT-155 Hawk, a stalwart of the RCAF for the past 24 years. 


The Maple Leaf, an esteemed online platform dedicated to Canadian Armed Forces stories, the cessation of operations aligns with the retirement of the CT-155 Hawk and marks a transitional phase for the RCAF. Colonel Adam Carlson, Director of Royal Canadian Air Force Training, explained that while the interim training program is implemented, the 419 Tactical Fighter Training Squadron will undergo a hiatus, awaiting reactivation with a new fifth-generation trainer aircraft as part of the Future Fighter Lead-in Training program.  

Members of the Squadron and 4 wing pay tribute to the cessation during the ceremony.4 Wing Imaging

The decision reflects the changing landscape of military aviation, with the CT-155 Hawk gracefully bowing out after two decades of faithful service. The emergence of fifth-generation fighter aircraft, such as the F-35, necessitates modernizing training approaches to meet evolving operational requirements.  

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Canada’s involvement in the EURO-NATO Joint Jet Pilot Training program reaffirms its commitment to international collaboration in aviating training. Established during the Cold War to foster cooperation among NATO partners, ENJJPT remains pivotal in providing standardized training for NATO pilots.  


Considering the CT-155 Hawk’s retirement, the responsibility for training RCAF aircraft technicians will transition to the Canadian Forces School of Aerospace Technology and Engineering at Canadian Forces Base Borden, Ontario, ensuring the continued legacy of the aircraft within Canadian aviation.  

For the members of the 419 Squadron, the cessation of operations evokes a blend of reflection and anticipation. LCol. Ryan Kean, Commanding Officer of 419 Squadron, remarked, “This upcoming hiatus period is nothing new for 419 Squadron… While it is never easy to work through this kind of change, even on an interim basis- we are looking forward to the reactivation of 419 Squadron with new and exciting capabilities in the future.”  

As the squadron enters this hiatus, its personnel remain committed to supporting other units at 4 Wing Cold Lake. Despite the temporary pause in flight operations, 419 Squadron remains administratively active, poised to resume its pivotal role as the RCAF’s Tactical Fighter Training Squadron in the early 2030s, as highlighted by The Maple Leaf.  

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