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Canadian Forces - Air Command  /  Forces Canadiennes - Commandement Aérien


Operational units / Bases / Badges

No. 434 Squadron
"Bluenose" Operation Training Sqn

No. 434 Squadron "Bluenose" Tactical Fighter Operational Training Sqn from 09-09-70
No. 434 Squadron "Bluenose" Tactical Fighter Sqn from 02-04-76

English, French patches and badge of first camouflage on tail.

434 Squadron was flying Lockheed CF-104 in Germany when it was disbanded on 01-03-67.

First unit to be equipped with Canadair CF-5s it stood-up again at CFB Cold Lake, on 15-02-68 as No. 434 Operational Training Squadron using  Canadair T-33A.
Its role consisted in tactical fighter and operational training for future CF-5 and CF-104 pilots. First CF-5D was received on 05 November 1968, with the first course starting in January 1969. It was later also tasked to train Venezuelan and Dutch pilots.

Beginning of May 1970 two or its aircrafts could claim an unofficial record for a flight from Vancouver to Halifax respectively in 4 hours, 24 minutes, 53 seconds and 4 hours, 30 minutes, 4 seconds, followed on 06-09-76 by the first Canadian coast-to-coast flight, air refuelled by a tanker of 437 Squadron, between Comox CFB and Shearwater CFB (2'465 nautical miles) in 4 hours, 29 minutes, 17 seconds.

Operations page for additional information about the unit's activity.

The Unit passed its training role on to the 419 Squadron in April 1976 and was redesignated 434th Tactical Fighter Squadron on 02-04-76, the unit now being part of NATO ACE Rapid Reaction Force, to deploy to Norway in case of hostilities. It joined 433th Squadron at CFB Bagotville, Quebec, on 15-07-82 and then moved on to Chatham, New Brunswick; both in 1980 and in July 1985 it had a strength of 14 Canadair CF-5As and 3 CF-5Ds.

F-5A(R) 116712 with black and white serial, inscription 434 (Squadron) in air intake and Squadron
badge on tail. CFB Trenton September 1979 Photo: Archive The Northrop F-5 Enthusiast

CF-5A 116727 in June 1983 - note both first three and full serial in white,
          no Squadron number on air intake.
                                                       Photo: Archive The Northrop F-5 Enthusiast

An airshow demonstration team, called "Schooner Bluenose", was operated by the Squadron between 1970 and 1973, and between 1983 and 1984, while a solo CF-5 pilot showed its capabilities in 1985. In addition, in 1972, 433/434 Squadron set-up a combined team under the name "CF-5 Demo Team".

The unit was disbanded on 01-06-88, ending itsconnection with the CF-5; it was reactivated at CFB Shearwater on 05-07-92 as a Combat Support Squadron, flying Canadair CT-133 and CP-144 Challengers in the Electronic Warfare support role.

No. 433 Escadille Tactique Aérienne de Combat  "Porcs-Epics"
No. 433 Escadron Tactique de Combat "Porcs-Epics" 

        Patch                     Badge painted on aircrafts
The Squadron flew Canadair CF-100 Canuk aircraft on North American air defence from CFB North bay unitil disbanded on 01-08-61.

Reformed on 22-11-68 at CFB Bagotville (Quebec) it received its first Canadair CF-116 on 25-08-69 as No. 433 Escadron Tactique de Combat, a French language Squadron of Mobile Command.

Beginning of 1984 it had a strength of 14 CF-5As and 3 CF-5Ds.

The unit kept its CF-5As till December 1987 when it started to convert on McDonnel Douglas CF-18.

CF-5D 116813
in metal colours at Trenton 22-09-76 Photo: Archive The Northrop F-5 Enthusiast

             CF-5A(R) 116725 with rocket launcher at Bagotville 16-08-71 Photo: Archive The Northrop F-5 Enthusiast

See Operations for additional information about this unit's activity.

The 433's Sqn "Saguenay Manics" aerobatic team enthusiasted the crowds between 1971 and 1974; it was renamed between 1975 and 1978 "Saguenay Expos", in 1979 "Saguenay Pogos", between 1980 to 1983 "Saguenay Quebec"; 1972 saw also a combined 433/434 Sqn performing under the name CF-5 Demo Team.

No. 419 Squadron Tactical Fighter (Training) Squadron  "Moose"

Patch                     Crest

Badge painted on silver    /     on upgraded aircrafts

Based at CFB Baden-Sollinge (Germany) the 419th Squadron was flying Canadair CF-100 Canuck all-weather fighters from the begininning of 1960s; it stood down on 31-12-62 upon withdrawal from operational service of the Canuck.

Last CF-5 Unit to be reformed it was established at CFB Cold Lake on 02-05-75 as Tactical Fighter Training Squadron; it replaced 434 Squadron as an Operational Training Unit in April 1976, the first course started already in January 1976.

Beginning 1978 it had a strength of 15 CF-5A and 22 CF-5D to cope with training and Dissimilar Combat Training. During the same year a flight of 5 CF-5D (serials 116805, 116807, 116809, 116823) was painted in Aggrssor colours, each in a different "Soviet" style scheme. They then flew against "friendly" CF-5As, CF-101 and CF-104 simulating soviet tactics participating later to Maple Flag exercises against US and European fighters.
In 1975 an Air Demonstration Team named "Rut Zulus" was formed with 4 CF-5D.

During Maple Flag 1979 there were nine aggressor painted CF-5Ds aircrafts plus 2 in standard, wrap-around dark green colours.

A considerable strength of 35 CF-5s was recorded at the end of 1980, with 34 instructors normally taking care of pupils' conversion, providing basic training in tactical fighter pilot skills. Some Dutch and Venezuelan pilots also followed the conversion courses. By beginning of 1984 there were 14 CF-5A and 23 CF-5D on strength. In 1986 mainspar and wings fatigue cracks reduced the available fleet to 17 aircrafts, reducing the training activities.

The Squadron role, with the demise of 433 and 434 Squadrons as CF-5 operators, was changed to that of lead-in fighter training and adversary training for CF-18 Hornet pilots in 1988.

Arrival of remanufactured CF-5s, first CF-5D being delivered in November 1989, enabled the Squadron to be fully operational again, while avionics upgraded contributed later to better prepare the Hornet pilots.

Interesting photo of Canadair CF-5A(R) 116705 with high visibility national markings, low visibility
airframe and 419 tail markings but with high visibiliry "05" aggressor code, old camouflage tank.
In the background an CF-5A with original camouflage and low visibility tank can be seen.
                                                                    Photo: Archive The Northrop F-5 Enthusiast

Canadair CF-5D 116810 prepared for a long range mission, June 1991.            Photo D.F. Brown

Two basic fighter courses were conducted per year as of 1992, each lasting seven months.The number of students, formerly 24, was reduced to 20 and is further reduced to 16. Most students arrived directly from the advanced flying traing at Moose Jaw;they received 41 hrs flying in the CF-5 conversion phase. In the tactical phase they had 41 hours flying time. The tactical phase includes ACM, air-to-air gunnery, air to ground weapons delivery, air-to-air refuelling and low level navigation. A few of the instructors maintained an aerial reconnaissance qualification, using CF-5 with nose-mounted Vinten 70-mm cameras. When so equipped, the aircraft was temporarely designated as CF-5A(R) so as to identify it for maintenance and scheduling purposes. Instructors also used F-5 in the aggressor role, not only during the annual Maple Flag exercises but also at other US and Canadian bases. Aircrafts with Avionics Upgrade Programm were due to arrive June/July 93 for instructor training and the first student course should have begun by late 1993. Once the AUP programm was complete, it was not expected that any non-upgraded CF-5 wouldl remain in service. Graduates of 419's lead-in-fighter course moved on to 410 Sqdn, also at Cold Lake, to begin their conversion on McDonnell CF-18.

Presence at Canadian air-shows was assured between 1988 and 1994 by the Squadrons demonstrion team "Moose Jet" in normal camouflage, suppanted in 1993 by 4 Canadair CF-5D in aggresor colours: the "Rut Zulus" team. The aircrafts .

Retirement of the last CF-5s was decided by the government in 1994 as defence budget saving measure. The Squadron stopped operational flying on 31-03-95, when its last 6 CF-5s were transferred to CFB Trenton to be stored there and the 419 Squadron was dissolved on 25-06-95, to be reformed on 23-07-00 as a fighter lead-in training unit, still at CFB Cold Lake, flying CT-155 Hawk as part of the NATO Flying Training Programm.

Canada: Tests, training and air refuelling units

No. 1 Flying Training School


  Student pilots followed the Beech Musketeer, Canadair CL-41 training sequence before arriving at
  CFB Cold Lake, where the
school operated Canadair C-133 in the advanced training task until the
  arrival of its first 2 CF-5Ds early December 1973. All pilots flew a 60-hour course on the
  Canadair CF-5D and CF-5A. Pilots destined to the Canadair C-F5 were then posted to
  433 Escadron Tactique de Combat, also at Cold Lake AFB.

 A. Svanberg/Archive The Northrop F-5 Enthusiast

CF-5D 116840 at Malmstrom AFB in July 1979 showing its CFB Cold Lake tail inscription.

 Photo: Canada DND
Spectacular under-fuselage picture of Canadair CF-5 116837 with tail inscription Cold Lake, reported
in 1990, though training task was alredy transferred to 419 Squadron
in 1975.

A demo team, named "Cobras" flying 4 CF-5Ds gave aerobating displays to the benefit of local population during the years 1974 and 1975.

CF-5s were retired in 1975, handing the advanced training task over to the 419 Squadron

No. 448 Test  Squadron "Elk"

 This Squadron, based at CFB Cold Lake, untertook the initial test flying of Canadair CF-5s, receiving
 its first aircraft on 19-12-68 
at CFB Uplands.
 It was disbanded on 01-09-71 when its personnel and aircrafts were absorbed by the Aerospace
 Engineering Test Establishment (AETE).

Aeronautical Engineering Test Establishment (AETE)
Aerospace Engineering Test Establishment (AETE)

 The first Canadair CF-5 was received at CFB Uplands on 19-12-68
 Aeronautical Engineering Test Establishment was formed at CFB Cold Lake on 01-09-71 with
personnel and aircrafts formerly attached to the 448 Test Squadron. AETE provided flight test services as well as flicht and technical evaluation of the CF-5 equipment  as well as armament. Unit complement varied in the years between 2 and 5 aircrafts, CF-5A 116754 and CF-5D 116810 e.g. being in use in May 1978. In 1987 there were 4 CF-5s on file plus 3 Cf-18s, 4 CT-133 and various helicopters on charge.
 The ubnit provided flight test service to the Canadian Forces as well as flightt and technical evaluation of aircrafts and aerospace equipment-

       CF-5A(R) 116702 at Cold Lake on 03-05-85 testing a rocket launcher.
                                                      Photo: Archive The Northrop F-5 Enthusiast

Aerospace Engineering Test Establishment participated actively in the development and in the trials of the CF-5 avionics updating programm. First flight of avionics upgraded CF-5D was completed at AETE in June 14, 1991, escorted by an unmodified two-seater, joined by an CF-5A in July 1991.
At the beginning of 1995 AETE retired the modernised CF-5A and CF-5D prototypes but continued the acceptance trials of the modernised examples till at least June 1995, which were then put in storage at CFB Trenton awaiting sale.

No. 437 Squadron "Husky" - CFB Trenton, Ontario

Canada bought in 1970 5 Boeing B.707-347C, locally designated CC-137; two were modified to tanker configuration in mid 1972, fitted with wing tip Fletcher-Sergeant "probe and drogue" refueling pods.Their first operational operational transatlantic flight was in June 1973 when they refuelled 6 CF-5As five times in the air, to enable a non-stop flight from Bagotville to Andoya (Norway).

Aircraft Maintenance Development Unit  (AMDU)
Aerospace Maintenance Development Unit  (AMDU)

Based at CFB Trenton, Ontario, in 1982 carrying out modifiction works to CF-5s. It
had a storage detachment.CFB Mountain View, Ontario where Battle Damage Repair Training was also carried out.

On 01-06-95 CFB Mountain View housed 9 stored CF-5A, 7 CF-5D and 10 fuselages of CF-5As; CFB Trenton had 11 CF-5As, 17 CF-5D on store.
On 08-06-00 and 22-05-01 12 CF-5A, 24 CF-5D in various status (complete, fuselage only) were stored at CFB Mountain View.

School of Aerospace and Ordnance Engineering

Based at CFB Borden it has used for a long time airframes withdrawn from use as ground instructional aircrafts, some CF-5s wearing instructional serials; known instructional serials are 774A 774B/116713, 812B/116724, 8454B/116768, 904B/116725, 909B/116785, 911B/116710, 905B/116737, 906B/116744, 907B/116762, 908B/116766, 912B/116759.
There were 8 instructional CF-5As frames present on 02-06-95.

Aerospace and Telecommunications Engineering Support Squadron (ATESS)

Technical school and engineering unit based at CFB Trenton it had on 08-06-00 and 22-05-01 three CF-5Ds on charge.