Department of National Defence

Department of National Defence

September 13, 2012 12:39 ET

Thunderbirds Dedicate New Air Mobility Training Centre in Honour of Their First Commanding Officer

8 WING/CFB TRENTON, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Sept. 13, 2012) - Mr. Chris Alexander, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of National Defence, joined the men and women of 426 Transport Training Squadron (known as the Thunderbirds) today in dedicating the new Air Mobility Training Centre (AMTC) in honour of former Wing Commander (WComd) Sedley S. Blanchard.

"We're happy to have this modern training facility to provide the operators and maintainers of the new CC-130J Hercules fleet with the specialized training they need," said Mr. Alexander. "The unique training opportunities this new facility brings to Canada's air mobility will be of great benefit for the Royal Canadian Air Force."

The AMTC construction project was launched in September 2009 by The Honourable Peter MacKay, Minister of National Defence, to further modernize and strengthen the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF). The construction began in late-2009, and was completed in mid-2012.

With a construction cost of approximately $40.5 million, the 17 000-square metre AMTC houses cutting-edge training equipment provided by CAE Inc., a Canadian manufacturer of simulator, modeling and integrated training technologies, and its subcontractors.

"State-of-the-art training equipment such as the CC-130J Flight Simulator and the Fuselage Trainer will provide a Canadian-based centre of excellence where the men and women of the RCAF will hone their skills in operating and maintaining Canada's modern aircraft fleet," said Lieutenant-General André Deschamps, Commander of the RCAF.

The Thunderbirds, the user and custodian of the new AMTC, are proud to dedicate this modern facility to their first Commanding Officer, WComd Blanchard. WComd Blanchard coined the nickname 'Thunderbird Squadron'.

"We are pleased and honoured to have the opportunity to link both the history and the future of the Thunderbirds," said Lieutenant-Colonel Damon Perrault, Commanding Officer of 426 Transport Training Squadron.

The Thunderbirds conduct between 80 to 125 training serials of 25 different courses every year to generate operationally-effective air mobility aircrew and technicians in support of Canadian Forces operations. The squadron also has dedicated personnel assigned to provide operational test and evaluation and system support to air mobility fleets. The squadron trains approximately 420 RCAF personnel annually.

Note to editor / news director: For more information please contact Lieutenant Christopher Daniel, 8 Wing Public Affairs Officer, at (613) 392-2811 extension 4565, or via email at

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