Canada to Spend C$ 500 Million on CFB Trenton
CFB Trenton, located in the province of Ontario about 2 hours drive away from Toronto, is one of the Canadian Forces’ busiest bases. It is the backbone of Canada’s transport fleet, housing Canada’s 4 new C-17s (aka CC-177) along with 20 C-130 Hercules transports, 5 Airbus A310 Polaris (CC-150) transports/refuelers, and 4 Challenger (CC-144) VIP business jets that are technically 8 Wing’s responsibility
- . When Canada’s 17 new C-130J Hercules transports arrive, many of them will also be based at CFB Trenton.
Accommodating that level of activity and restoring Trenton’s flightline over the next 5 years will require the rebuilding and construction of new taxiways, ramps and aprons, as well as several new maintenance hangars. All of these activities are included within the C$ 500 million (about $470 million) budget, announced by the Minister for Defence on Sept 5/08.
So, too, is relocation of Canada’s JTF2 special forces to Trenton. JTF2 has seen long-standing service in the “commando olympics” of Afghanistan, and is also Canada’s key unit for potential domestic anti-terrorism operations like hostage rescues. The unit is growing in size, and has begun to outgrow its current location at Dwyer Hill Training Centre near Ottawa. Moving to CFB Trenton keeps the unit close to its required transports for fast deployments, and CFB Trenton already hosts the Canadian Forces Land Advanced Warfare Centre so it was a natural choice. DND has been working with the Department of Public Works and Government Services to purchase parcels of land bordering the base, and associated buildings, training centers, and other infrastructure will also be required.
Appendix A: An Explanation of the Canadian Forces’ Wing System
by Jeff Rankin-Lowe
Readers may be confused by the VIP flight of Challenger business jets being part of 8 Wing Trenton, even though they’r based in Ottawa. 412 Squadron is administratively assigned to 8 Wing, but it’s located at Ottawa IAP, where it’s been continuously since 1955. It was formed across town at RCAF Station Rockcliffe in 1949, so it’s been in Ottawa a long time.
When Wings were introduced, the Base Commander became the Wing Commander, the Base Ops Officer became the WOpsO, the Base Dental Officer became the Wing Dental Officer, etc, etc. Many observers, and even CAF personnel, started thinking that Wings had replaced Bases – but they’re two different things.
CFB Trenton is the place, while 8 Wing is the military formation that “owns” and runs that place. It’s often referred to as “8 Wing Trenton” and I believe that’s even reflected in the main gate sign.
There are several cases of Squadrons not being co-located with the Wing they belong to. The most extreme, perhaps, is 443 Squadron. It’s based at Patricia Bay, next to the navy’s West Coast base, but it belongs to 12 Wing, which is at CFB Shearwater, Nova Scotia on North America’s east coast. In a similar vein, all of the CH-146 Squadrons (400 at CFB Borden, ON; 403 at CFB Gagetown, NB; 408 at CFB Edmonton, AB; 427 at CFB Petawawa, ON; 430 at CFB Valcartier, PQ; and 438 at CFB Montreal, PQ) belong to 1 Wing at CFB Kingston, Ont.
412 Sqn has 3 CC-144B Challenger-601 aircraft and 2 CC-144C Challenger-604 variants. The squadron only has 16 pilots, 7 flight stewards, and 9 civilians. All of their maintenance has been provided by Transport Canada since 1994, when CFB Ottawa closed. In addition to VIP transport, they do other government and military transport flights and emergency MEDEVAC (MEDical EVACuation) missions, too.
One of the CC-150 Polaris aircraft (A310) is configured with a relatively modest VIP suite and low-density passenger configuration and its predominant role is VIP duty, but it belongs to 437 Squadron at Trenton. They had previously had an even more modest VIP seating area that could be installed in a CC-137 (Boeing 707). Prior to that type entering service, 412 had owned the VIP role since 1949, which included them having two of the CC-106 Yukons in Ottawa for that role, with the rest being in Trenton for passenger and freight transport. 412 Squadron also had single-aircraft detachments at NORAD HQ in Colorado, USA and CFB Lahr in West Germany, but both closed down quite some time ago.