Aerospace Systems Course (ASC)

Aim

The aim of the ASC is to produce technically competent Air Force officers with broad-based knowledge in science and technology, military industrial capability, critical analysis skills and defense acquisition methodologies.

Course Outline

The course curriculum provides graduates with a broad spectrum of expertise, thus enabling them to cope with tasks such as:

  1. conducting aerospace systems analysis to define and recommend new or modified equipment requirements;
  2. participating in the management of aerospace research and development projects to ensure user requirements are properly translated into feasible technical parameters;
  3. participating in the management of major aerospace capital acquisition programmes;
  4. participating in the development, evaluation, qualification, and flight testing of aerospace systems; and
  5. defining and implementing training requirements arising from new or modified aerospace systems.

Method

The course instruction consists of traditional classroom instruction by instructors, industry experts and guest lecturers.  These are supplemented with exercises using the ASC modelling and simulation facilities, syndicate work and independent research.  As well, the course conducts three separate tours each year to various government and industrial complexes inCanada, theUnited Statesand overseas. A key component of the course is the development of effective communication skills.  Throughout the course, students will be given many opportunities to develop the ability to express themselves logically and concisely on operational and technical matters, both verbally and in writing.

Course Capacity / Rank

The optimum course load is 12 officers, at the Captain or Major rank level, with a surge capability to 16 students.

Course Prerequisites

The ASC is open to applicants from a variety of classifications.  These classifications include:

  1. Pilot;
  2. Navigator;
  3. Aerospace Engineer;
  4. Air Traffic Controller/Air Weapons Controller; and
  5. Communication and Electronics Engineer.

The ASC is directed to applicants with a strong academic background. They should have at least an undergraduate university degree or equivalent, preferably a degree in engineering or a related science.Strong English communication skills (both written and verbal) are a mandatory prerequisite.  Applicants shall have prior training or certification that attests to their ability to conduct thorough research and analysis of a topic and to prepare clear, logically written reports. There is also a requirement for proficiency in English and an A2 VISA for visits to the United States.  In addition to the undergraduate degree requirement, the course prerequisites are as follows:

  1. officers of the Air Operations Branch, or Direct Support Officers;
  2. minimum rank of Captain;
  3. minimum security clearance of Level II;
  4. completed at least one operational/field tour of duty; and
  5. completed Junior Officer Staff Training or equivalent.

Mandatory Pre-Course Qualifications

In addition to the selection criteria above, the following qualifications or proof of equivalency are required prior to attendance on the ASC:

  • Basic Electronic Warfare; and
  • Space Applications

Waivers of the above selection criteria and pre-course qualifications may be granted by the training facility on a case-by-case basis.  In the event that an international candidate receives a waiver for the above courses, a self-study package on the applicable topic will be made available to the candidates for personal study and completion.

following proof of training is required for acceptance on the Operational Test and Evaluation phase of the course:

  • Sea Survival; and
  • AeroMedical Training (High Altitude Indoctrination).

Candidates are strongly urged to complete this training at their home nation as these courses are seldom available in Canada.

Pre-Course Study Package

Candidates are required to complete a pre-course study package prior to course commencement to prepare themselves for the academic demands of the training.  The study package is usually distributed to the candidates approximately 90 days before the start of the course.

Aerospace Context

In addition, the course members are exposed to technology in context.  A cornerstone of the Aerospace Systems Course is the Military Industrial Visits, which allow course members to better grasp the operational requirements of a modern air force, as well as gain a greater understanding of industry capabilities and methods.This training also includes:

  1. Technology in Warfare;
  2. Military Industrial Briefings; and
  3. Aerospace Industrial Analysis.

Systems Acquisition and Management

The systems acquisition and management portion of the course offers a variety of subjects related to the full spectrum of activities, including: design, acquisition, testing and upgrading of aerospace systems.  The training is conducted through classroom lectures, syndicate exercises, practice tests and evaluation flights, guest lectures and a two-week Operational Test and Evaluation course conducted at the United States Navy Test Pilot School in Patuxent River, MD. The management subjects are as follows:

  • Operations Research
  • Defence Management Systems
  • Plans and Requirements
  • Performance Specifications
  • Test and Evaluation
  • Research and Development
  • Systems Integration
  • Systems Management Techniques

Technical Research Paper

The ability to communicate technical information is considered an essential skill for the ASC.  Course members are provided direct instruction and for the capstone project, each student will write a short research paper on a specific aerospace technology. Normally, this paper will have an emphasis on the technology’s applicability to a current Air Force issue.  Sponsor organizations are invited to suggest topics for these research papers.  Final paper topics are presented at the end-course Aerospace Power Review, a two-day showcase of student work and varied topical experts and speakers.

Conclusion

Officers with the ASC qualification will be able to perform aerospace systems analysis studies from an operational and technical point of view. They will be able to define general technical requirements for complete aerospace weapons systems, participate in the project management and evaluation of military aerospace equipment during the research and development, acquisition, test and operational phases.  Therefore, they may be assigned to aerospace systems engineering or project management appointments in a headquarters environment, research and development, test and evaluation or aerospace systems training unit.

Course Duration / Frequency

Course length is 210 training days, or approximately ten months.  It is offered once per annum, and commences in the August timeframe and finishes in June the following year.

Location

The ASC is conducted at 17 Wing, at the Canadian Forces School of Aerospace Studies (CFSAS) in Winnipeg, Manitoba.

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