Back to news

November 9, 2017 | Local, Aerospace

Airbus eyes Canadian military deal, further cooperation with Bombardier

OTTAWA/MONTREAL (Reuters) - Airbus SE (AIR.PA) could cooperate further with Bombardier Inc (BBDb.TO) beyond a recent venture in the CSeries jets, if its fighter jet is permitted to compete in a Canadian military procurement, and its partners agree, an executive said on Wednesday.

Canada said last year it will launch an open competition to replace its aging fleet of fighter jets and a request for proposal for the open competition is expected in 2019.

Dirk Hoke, chief executive of Airbus Defense and Space, said the Eurofighter Typhoon fighter jet could be an option for further collaboration with Bombardier, although he did not specify further.

“We will definitely also look at additional potential further cooperation with Bombardier beyond just the CSeries,” Hoke told Reuters on the sidelines of an Ottawa aerospace conference, adding that he was “very optimistic and positive about us entering this competition.”

Airbus last month agreed to take a majority stake in Bombardier’s CSeries jets program, bolstering the Canadian plane’s sales and giving it a possible way out of a damaging trade dispute with Boeing Co (BA.N) and U.S. regulators.

The CSeries trade dispute has muddied a potential interim military contract between Boeing and Canada for 18 Super Hornet fighter jets, creating new opportunities for rivals like Airbus, Dassault Aviation SA (AVMD.PA) and Lockheed Martin(LMT.N).

Boeing and Canada had initially discussed purchasing the fighters as a stop-gap measure while the country prepared an open five-year competition to replace its aging fleet of 77 Boeing CF-18 fighter jets. Canada has halted talks with Boeing because of the dispute.

Hoke said Airbus is not considering jumping into the interim bid for fighter jets and is waiting to see the specifics from the Canadian government on the open competition.

“Right now, we have a very positive feeling about it but of course we have to see ... what (are) the specifications that have been finally defined and confirmed.”

In 2016, Canada selected Airbus C295W aircraft for its fixed-wing search and rescue program, estimated at C$3 billion ($2.36 billion).

Boeing has accused Bombardier of receiving illegal subsidies and dumping the CSeries at “absurdly low” prices in the U.S. market to win a key April 2016 order from Delta Air Lines Inc (DAL.N). The U.S. Commerce Department has notched up proposed trade duties on U.S. sales of CSeries jets at nearly 300 percent, in a case that will be decided next year at the International Trade Commission.

On the same subject

  • Mobilizing Insights in Defence and Security (MINDS)

    May 22, 2019 | Local, Aerospace, Naval, Land, C4ISR, Security, Other Defence

    Mobilizing Insights in Defence and Security (MINDS)

    Policy Direction: Strong, Secure, Engaged Strong, Secure, Engaged recognizes that collaboration with academia and other experts strengthens the foundation of evidenced-based policy-making. To that end, it provides direction to increase annual investment in a revamped and expanded defence engagement program. The Mobilizing Insights in Defence and Security (MINDS) program answers this call.  Building on Success MINDS builds on the successful Defence Engagement Program (DEP), expanding the program thoughtfully, with an end result that is not just bigger, but better. Consultations have been at the heart of these renewal efforts. They started with the Defence Policy Review and have continued through ongoing dialogue with experts across the country. The DEP effectively helped the Defence Team access external advice through its Expert Briefing Series and Targeted Engagement Grant program. These successful program elements will continue. A New Approach to External Engagement Expanding on the DEP, MINDS delivers a program that: Responds to the need for relevant and timely advice from defence and security experts; Fosters the next generation of experts and scholars; and, Contributes to Canadians understanding of defence and security issues. However, MINDS provides even greater opportunities for collaboration between the Defence Team and the defence and security expert community. There are five key pillars of MINDS: Expert Briefing Series, Targeted Engagement Grants, Collaborative Networks, Scholarships, and a Rapid Response Mechanism. Each offers a different means for the Department of National Defence and the Canadian Armed Forces to access relevant, timely expertise that incorporates a diversity of viewpoints and provides well-rounded advice. The program is committed to reflecting key Government of Canada priorities in the work it delivers, ensuring the incorporation of Gender Based Analysis Plus (GBA+) and supporting Indigenous reconciliation and youth engagement. Defence Team Collaboration MINDS is different from, but complementary to, the Innovation for Defence Excellence and Security (IDEaS) program, using different approaches to tackle defence and security challenges. While IDEaS advances critical solutions to challenges relating to applied capabilities and technology, MINDS is focused on policy thinking and the generation of knowledge in the public policy realm. Together, MINDS and IDEaS drive innovation and help address defence challenges. Strong, Secure, Engaged calls for concrete steps to enhance the Defence Team’s ability to anticipate and understand threats, challenges and opportunities. Leveraging the expertise of Canada’s defence and security expert community through MINDS is central to meeting this objective. https://www.canada.ca/en/department-national-defence/programs/minds.html

  • How the U.S. election outcome could affect Canada's environment and energy future

    October 7, 2020 | Local, Aerospace, Naval, Land, C4ISR, Security, Other Defence

    How the U.S. election outcome could affect Canada's environment and energy future

    Alexander Panetta  Biden, Trump have deep differences — and each could significantly impact Canada This story is part of a five-part series looking at how the policies of the two U.S. presidential candidates, Joe Biden and Donald Trump, differ when it comes to the major issues of interest to Canada, including energy, defence, trade and immigration. The old truism that elections have consequences is doubly apt for the United States, a country whose politics reach beyond its borders. It's certainly so for Canada. Specific policy issues in a U.S. election hold particular stakes for Canada, including energy and the environment, national defence, the border and migration and U.S. relations with China. In advance of the U.S. presidential election on Nov. 3, CBC will run stories on these five issues, and how they might play out if the winner is current President Donald Trump or his Democratic challenger, Joe Biden. Our first instalment examines one of the most striking differences between them: energy and the environment. If Biden wins Biden drew attention in Canada for promising to cancel the Keystone XL pipeline from Alberta, then doubling down on it.  Rory Johnston, an energy analyst at Price Street in Toronto, said a president clearly has the legal power to revoke a permit. What's not clear to him is whether Biden would, in precarious economic times, actually cancel a big project, which would cost jobs and anger construction unions. The Democratic nominee has a sweeping environmental platform that goes far beyond that one pipeline pledge. For starters, he said he'd re-join the Paris climate accord on Day 1 of his presidency. Then he would convene, shame and potentially punish other countries that slack on their carbon emissions commitments. Within 100 days, Biden said he'd hold a global climate summit to push countries to join the U.S. in toughening their climate objectives. He said he would also demand a worldwide ban on government subsidies for fossil fuels. INTERACTIVE Will Biden or Trump be the U.S. president? These states will decide Biden also intends to grade countries on their performance. He promises a global climate change report, similar to the State Department's annual report on human rights and human trafficking. It would rank countries' performance in meeting their Paris commitments. If that doesn't work, he's threatening to wield the stick of trade tariffs. Biden said he wants to impose what he calls "carbon-adjustment fees," or perhaps quotas, on carbon-intensive products from countries that fail to meet climate and environmental obligations. It's not clear how many countries Biden would target. "We can no longer separate trade policy from our climate objectives," says Biden's platform. Canada is projecting a lowering of emissions but not nearly by enough to meet its Paris commitment.  Implementing such a tariff could be tricky. To become embedded in U.S. law, it would have to get through Congress — and receiving the 51 to 60 per cent of votes required in the Senate would be a tall order. Some trade analysts believe such a tactic would also be illegal protectionism under international trade law unless the U.S. imposed a similar carbon tax domestically — also a tall order.  However, other analysts say there's one tool Biden could use, which has become famous in the Trump era: declare carbon emissions a national security matter and apply the same trade weapon the current president used against foreign steel and aluminum. Any regulatory moves could face another hurdle in a more hostile Supreme Court. Speaking of the environment and trade, Biden is proposing a massive, $2 trillion green-infrastructure plan aimed at new transit, vehicles and a carbon-free power grid by 2035. Biden says the construction would be done by U.S. firms under Buy American rules. He would also re-establish policies from the Obama era that Canada has signed onto, from methane and auto regulations to an Arctic drilling ban. Gerald Butts, who was a former senior aide to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and worked on some of those agreements with the U.S, said Biden's climate policies go far beyond Obama's and reflect a growing recognition of the environmental threat. "Biden's plan would have been unthinkable for a presidential nominee for a major party even one cycle ago," said Butts, now vice-chair of the political risk consultancy Eurasia Group. Bob Deans, a spokesman for the political action committee of the Washington-based Natural Resources Defence Council, called climate change a defining issue for this election. "The American people are facing a stark choice in this election. Two completely different energy futures," Deans said. "We need to be reducing our reliance on oil and gas, not locking future generations into this climate nightmare."  If Trump wins In his 2016 platform, Trump promised more oil drilling, more pipelines — and less regulation. He delivered that on several fronts. Just last month he announced a border permit for a multi-purpose rail project that, if built, could eventually ship Canadian oil through Alaska.  Trump ditched a number of Obama's climate rules, and left the Paris Accord. (His pullout from the Paris agreement officially goes into effect the day after this year's election.) Trump hasn't published a platform for the next four years. His campaign website simply lists things he's done to slash regulations and promote fossil-fuel development. He's promising no major policy changes. "We would continue what we're doing," Trump told The New York Times, when asked about his overall second-term plans. As far as Canada is concerned, that means a continued commitment to the still-unbuilt Keystone XL pipeline, which would carry nearly one-fifth of the oil Canada exports to the U.S. each day. Johnston said that pipeline isn't, on its own, a make-or-break issue for the Canadian oilpatch, but it would help, he said. He said the oilsands likely need two pipelines completed over the next few years out of the three major projects underway — Trans Mountain to the Pacific Coast, the Line 3 expansion to the Great Lakes and Keystone XL to the Gulf of Mexico — to avoid the type of transportation bottlenecks that have previously devastated Canadian oil prices. "It's never ideal to be just at the limit of your [transportation] capacity," Johnston said. Even with the current president's support, Keystone XL faces challenges. The ground has been cleared for only 100 kilometres of pipe to be laid inside Canada. A border-crossing segment has been built, and 17 pump stations out of an eventual 36 along the route are under construction. That leaves the project about two years, many hundreds of kilometres and some legal and regulatory fights shy of completion. A Supreme Court decision this summer allowed a Montana ruling to stand, which forced the pipeline company to get permits for crossing waterways. Permit hearings were scheduled for late September in Montana and North Dakota. It's an uncertain moment for oil — and the financial stakes for Canada are considerable. It's Canada's top export to the U.S., in dollar figures; Canadian oil accounts for about half of U.S. oil imports, following years of growth. But energy giant BP projects that global oil demand has peaked.  The U.S. Energy Information Administration projects U.S. imports will flatten out and even decline a bit. That's happening as several automakers say they will keep building vehicles to the stricter emissions standards set in California — standards that are backed by Ottawa. California, the largest U.S. vehicle market, recently announced it planned to ban sales of gasoline-powered cars by 2035. Some of these changes in energy markets will proceed regardless of who's president. Johnston's own projection? Barring a sudden change in the market, Canadian oil production will grow a bit for two to five years, then plateau at similar levels for decades. https://www.cbc.ca/news/world/us-issues-canada-environment-1.5746288

  • Canadian air force short 275 pilots as attrition outpaces recruitment, training

    September 19, 2018 | Local, Aerospace

    Canadian air force short 275 pilots as attrition outpaces recruitment, training

    By Canadian Press OTTAWA — The Royal Canadian Air Force is contending with a shortage of around 275 pilots and needs more mechanics, sensor operators and other trained personnel in the face of increasing demands at home and abroad. The Air Force says it is working to address the deficiencies and that they have not negatively impacted operations, but officials acknowledge the situation has added pressure on Canada’s flying corps and represents a challenge for the foreseeable future. “Right now we’re doing everything we can to make sure we recruit, train and retain enough personnel to do our current mission,” said Brig.-Gen. Eric Kenny, director general of air readiness. “In the next 20 years, it’s going to be a challenge to grow the force at the rate that we would like.” The shortfall in pilots and mechanics was referenced in an internal report recently published by the Department of National Defence, which also flagged underspending on maintenance for bases and other infrastructure, as well as reductions in annual flying times thanks to Conservative-era budget cuts. Some of those issues have since started to be addressed by the Liberals through their new defence policy, but the personnel shortage remains an area of critical concern given the need for pilots and others to fly and maintain the military’s various aircraft fleets at home and abroad. Those include the planes and helicopters involved in Canada’s military missions in Iraq, Latvia, Mali, and Ukraine; domestic search-and-rescue aircraft; and the CF-18 fighter jets deployed in Romania and guarding against a foreign attack on North America. The Air Force is authorized to have 1,580 pilots, but Kenny said in an interview the Air Force is short by around 17 per cent — or about 275 pilots — along with similar shortfalls for navigators and sensor operators, who work onboard different types of aircraft, as well as mechanics. Kenny also acknowledged the threat of burnout as service members are forced to pick up the slack left by unfilled positions, and the added burden of promised new drones, fighter jets and other aircraft arriving in the coming years, which will require even more people to fly and maintain. Efforts to address the shortfalls have looked at retaining service members with tax breaks, additional support and services for family members to ease military life, and plans to free up experienced personnel by assigning administrative staff to do day-to-day tasks. Several initiatives have also been introduced to speed up recruitment and training, and attract older pilots back into the Forces, which has borne some fruit and aimed at buying time for officials to decide whether to change the length of time pilots and others are required to serve before they can leave. “This is beyond just looking at benefits,” Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan said Tuesday. “We’re looking at a much more holistic approach in how we look after them.” But the current training system means the Air Force can only produce 115 new pilots each year, which commanders have said is insufficient to meet needs given the rate at which military pilots have moved on to commercial opportunities in recent years. Conservative defence critic James Bezan suggested one reason the military is losing pilots is because they are being asked to fly older planes, including CF-18 fighter jets that are close to 40 years old. “If pilots aren’t getting new aircraft, why are they sticking around?” Bezan said. “And so, the idea of bringing in used fighter jets from Australia that are even in worse shape than the current CF-18s that we fly today, why would they stick around?” The Department of National Defence is drawing up plans for a new system that officials hope will be in place by 2021 and include the ability to expand or shrink the number of trainees in any year given the Air Force’s needs. Kenny said the shortfalls will remain a challenge since the current system will remain in place for several more years — and because it takes four and eight years to train a pilot from scratch. “We know what capabilities we’re receiving and now we can start working to make sure that we have personnel that are trained to be able to meet those requirements,” he said. “But I’m not going to lie: It’s definitely a challenge.” https://ipolitics.ca/2018/09/18/canadian-air-force-short-275-pilots-as-attrition-outpaces-recruitment-training-2/

All news