Friday, July 20, 2007

DND: Air Force Expansion in Quebec

July 20, 2007
- The Honourable Gordon O'Connor, Minister of National Defence, today announced the formation of a new Air Expeditionary Wing (AEW) at Bagotville, Quebec. Home of the CF18.
This new formation will be able to rapidly deploy as a self-contained unit, providing air power and associated support wherever needed, across Canada or around the world.

"This expeditionary capability marks a new era for our Air Force. And it will also help ensure the long term life of CFB Bagotville, which has a long and proud tradition," said Minister O'Connor. "Today's announcement once again demonstrates this government's commitment to further strengthening Canadian Forces units located in Quebec, to make up for the previous government's years of neglect," he added.

"The promise that we are fulfilling today with this announcement about the military base at Bagotville is the fruit of hard work," said Minister Jean-Pierre Blackburn. "I am very proud of the positive impact that the arrival of this wing will have throughout Saguenay-Lac-St-Jean."

This represents a fundamental change from the traditional static wing-based structure for the Air Force. The new AEW will be composed of a Command Element, an Operations Support Flight, and a Mission Support Flight. It will train together and deploy as a team, with aircraft and personnel tailored to the specific requirements of an operation.

"Many of our allies have re-structured their Air Forces in a similar fashion to this expeditionary concept," said Lieutenant-General Lucas. "If Canada's Air Force is to maximize its effectiveness for deployed operations in the security environment of the 21st Century, it must develop a robust expeditionary capability."

A fully staffed and properly supported expeditionary wing will require a total of up to 550 personnel with associated investments in infrastructure and equipment estimated at up to $300M.

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