Department of National Defence

Department of National Defence

December 07, 2006 16:52 ET

Canadian Air Force Helps Enable Jamaican Military Pilot Training to Take Off

Military Training Assistance Program

KINGSTON, JAMAICA--(CCNMatthews - Dec. 7, 2006) - Dignitaries from Jamaica, Canada and other Caribbean nations today attended official opening ceremonies for the Jamaica Military Aviation School (JMAS). JMAS, the only such facility in the Caribbean, was created in part thanks to the Canadian Forces' Military Training Assistance Program (MTAP), a highly effective defence diplomacy tool.

"The Canadian Air Force has trained Jamaica Defence Force (JDF) pilots and aircraft maintainers in Canada for more than 35 years," Maj.-Gen. Charlie Bouchard, Commander, 1 Canadian Air Division, explained during the opening ceremonies. "Jamaicans are clearly more than ready to help a new generation of military pilots earn their wings at home. Indeed, JMAS Commandant-designate Capt. Brian Creary just completed a three-year exchange with the Canadian Air Force in Portage la Prairie, Manitoba, training Canadian military pilots."

"This would not have been possible without MTAP assistance," JDF Air Wing Commanding Officer Lt.-Col. Geoffrey Roper observed. "Canada has nurtured a centre of technological and military excellence in Jamaica. This is a turning point that will ultimately benefit the entire Caribbean."

"JMAS will use Canadian standards to train military pilots from their primary flying training to Wing standards on helicopter and multi-engine aircraft. Canada's decision to contribute pilot training curriculum, computer equipment, and to refurbish the school building-which had been ravaged by Hurricane Ivan-helped us to get this project off the ground."

JDF Air Wing pilots play a vital role in Jamaican counter-narcotics operations and small-arms smuggling interdiction, and they have also flown numerous search and rescue, disaster relief and environmental protection missions.

"It's a close relationship," added Maj.-Gen. Bouchard. "Besides imparting Air Force skills second to none, Canada has-through MTAP-long supported the professional education of the region's military officers at the Caribbean Junior Command and Staff College in Jamaica."

Canada's Military Assistance Training Program, which is active in 61 countries, pays rich dividends whenever these nations' forces work together. It also helps to improve joint international peace support operations and promotes Canadian values, such as democracy, the rule of law, international stability and human rights.

For further information, please read the Jamaica Defence Force, 35 years of partnership backgrounder.

BACKGROUNDER

JAMAICA DEFENCE FORCE, 35 YEARS OF PARTNERSHIP

The Jamaica Defence Force (JDF) has benefited from Canada's training support for the last 35 years as part of the National Defence Military Training Assistance Program (MTAP). Thanks in part to MTAP, Jamaica has now opened its first military pilot training school. The new Jamaica Military Aviation School (JMAS) is the only such facility in the Caribbean and will train helicopter and multi-engine aircraft pilots according to Canadian standards.

THE NATIONAL DEFENCE MILITARY TRAINING ASSISTANCE PROGRAM (MTAP)

MTAP is an important part of Canada's contribution to international peace and security. The program provides language courses, professional development and peace support operations training for over 1300 students from 61 developing countries annually.

A highly effective defence diplomacy instrument, MTAP helps build the capabilities of member countries to democratically manage their militaries, following a uniquely Canadian management style. This involvement pays rich dividends for MTAP nations that work together and also helps to improve joint international peace support operations and promotes Canadian values, such as democracy, the rule of law, international stability and human rights.

MTAP ASSISTANCE TO JAMAICA AND TO THE CARIBBEAN REGION

MTAP's activities in the Caribbean date back to the early 1960's. The Caribbean has long been an area of strategic value to Canada. MTAP member countries from this region include Jamaica, Antigua and Barbuda, Belize, Guyana, and Trinidad and Tobago. Members have access to training in Canada, such as participation in Canadian Forces staff college courses, military observer training, as well as junior command and staff training. MTAP also runs a number of training programs in the Caribbean.

The Canadian Air Force has trained JDF pilots and aircraft maintainers in Canada for more than 35 years. MTAP's Jamaica programme has been largely geared towards training the JDF Air Wing and supporting the professional education of the region's military officers at the Caribbean Junior Command and Staff College (CJCSC). In addition, MTAP provided Jamaica with pilot, instructor, and technician training augmented by yearly standards visits.
JDF Air Wing pilots play a vital role in Jamaican counter-narcotics operations and small arms smuggling interdiction in the Caribbean region. They have also flown numerous search and rescue, disaster relief and environmental protection missions.

JAMAICA MILITARY AVIATION SCHOOL

One of the main benefits of Jamaica's partnership with Canada is that the country is now able to break away from its reliance on long-term military training assistance and establish its own pilot training facility using Canadian standards. In November 2005, the Jamaican government officially requested Canada's assistance in establishing a military pilot training school. The Department of National Defence and the CF have provided:

- Curriculum

- Engineer expertise and assistance to construct the air training school

- Computer equipment

- Ongoing training for Jamaican instructors

CANADA'S INTEREST

With Canada's support, Jamaica will be better able to serve their national and regional security needs. Jamaicans can now build their own capacity to generate aircrew to the same high Canadian standards. Canadian training standards and Air Force maintenance expertise are key elements to the overall success of the new JDF school.

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