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May 7, 2021 | Local, Land

Canada joins Europe's 'military mobility' defence project

Canada joins Europe's 'military mobility' defence project

The European project among the 27 nation European Union is designed to speed up movement of military personnel and equipment of member states across  their various  borders. This would reduce bureaucratic and other hindrances of movements by air, sea, road or rail. EU defence ministers announced today they will allow Canada, the U.S., and Norway…

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  • U.S. sent ‘blunt’ letter to Canada criticizing defence spending: sources

    November 26, 2019 | Local, Other Defence

    U.S. sent ‘blunt’ letter to Canada criticizing defence spending: sources

    BY MERCEDES STEPHENSON AND KERRI BREEN Canada has been officially called out by the United States over how much it spends on the military, Global News has learned. A “blunt” letter from the U.S. government was delivered to the Department of National Defence that criticized Canadian defence spending levels and repeated American demands that Canada meet NATO targets. Global News has not seen the letter — said to have a frustrated, critical tone — but multiple sources have confirmed it was sent and received. U.S. President Donald Trump has long called for members of the 29-nation military alliance to beef up their budgets for defence. His national security adviser Robert O’Brien, who spoke Saturday at the Halifax International Security Forum, said getting NATO members to meet the established target — two per cent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) — is an urgent priority. “There are very serious threats to our freedom and our security and if NATO is going to be effective, and if we want to put our money where our talk is, we got to spend that money to defend ourselves,” he said. Nations including Canada agreed at the 2014 NATO summit in Wales​ to move towards the military spending target within a decade, he noted. “We expect our friends and our colleagues to live up to their commitments and their promises,” he said. He also praised Canada’s plan to build and deploy Arctic patrol vessels. The North, he said, is going to be the new “frontline” of defence, as Russia and China have made it clear they are going to militarize the Arctic. One Canadian source told Global News that the U.S. is concerned that Canada does not take the threat from those countries in the Arctic seriously and wants the country to boost its contributions in that area. Just seven countries — including the U.S. and the U.K. — have met NATO’s two per cent of GDP spending goal, according to figures released in June. NATO’s estimates show Canada is expected to spend 1.27 per cent of its GDP on the military this year, up from about one per cent in 2014. Canada does fare better when you look at its defence budget in dollars and cents, said Dave Perry, vice president of the Canadian Global Affairs Institute. The country spends the sixth highest amount overall among NATO members on its military. As for meeting the percentage of GDP target, Perry’s not optimistic despite planned increases in the defence budget. “Canada is not on a path to live up to the commitments that we were signing up for in 2014 in Wales,” he said. Last year, Canada spent about $22.9 billion on the Department of National Defence. But Ottawa intends to dramatically boost military spending in the coming years. In 2017, the government released a plan to increase the budget to almost $33 billion annually within a decade. Asked about the letter from the U.S., Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan touted this plan to strengthen spending. Discussions around “burden sharing” within the bloc have been happening for some time, he said. He noted that under the government’s plan, the defence budget would see an increase of 70 per cent, a “significant amount.” “The relationship with Canada and the U.S., the defence relationship, I think, is even stronger now, because they see a tangible plan that we have created,” he said on an episode of The West Block that aired Sunday. “It’s working, actually, extremely well.” The U.S. sending such a letter is an unusual, formal means of relaying a message, and it represents an escalation from previous attempts to get Canada to spend more on its military. That pressure has been increasing in recent weeks ahead of the NATO summit in London starting on Dec. 3. In fact, the same message has been conveyed in multiple ways to the federal government, a diplomatic source said, and NATO itself also wants to see more military spending from Canada. In July, however, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg suggested publicly he was happy with improvements in Canadian defence spending. “Under your leadership,” he said to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, ​​”Canada has stepped up its contributions to our NATO alliance including with forces for NATO missions and operations and increased spending.” But one former defence minister said the letter from the U.S. — NATO’s leader in defence spending in relation to its GDP — was not a good sign. Peter MacKay said such a letter amounts to “a very serious diplomatic slap — not on the wrist, but in the face.” During his time in government, the former Nova Scotia Conservative MP said he had talks with defence secretaries regarding Canadian military spending and the country’s goal of reaching two per cent. “Those discussions can be forceful and frank but they took place face to face,” said MacKay, who was defence minister for six years under former prime minister Stephen Harper. “Sending a démarche (diplomatic letter) is really ratcheting it up a notch.”

  • NH90 : modernisation de quatre simulateurs de mission

    February 18, 2020 | Local, Aerospace

    NH90 : modernisation de quatre simulateurs de mission

    Le consortium HFTS qui réunit, à parts égales, Airbus Helicopters, CAE, Rheinmetall et Thales, va procéder à la remise à niveau des simulateurs NH90 au tout dernier standard hélicoptère MR-1. Le consortium HFTS qui réunit, à parts égales, Airbus Helicopters, CAE, Rheinmetall et Thales, va procéder à la remise à niveau des quatre simulateurs de mission NH90 des forces allemandes au tout dernier standard hélicoptère MR-1. Signé récemment, le contrat vient compléter le contrat de financement privé initial signé en 2004. "Cette modernisation s’accompagne d’une rénovation des configurations informatiques, du remplacement du poste instructeurs et du logiciel d’animation de la situation tactique (CGF) et prévoit une certification de niveau C auprès de l’autorité européenne EASA", indique Thales qui poursuit : "grâce à ce programme, les forces armées allemandes pourront fournir des services de formations de pointe pour leurs équipages NH90 dans un environnement virtuel. De plus, l’interconnexion des simulateurs répartis sur les sites de Bückeburg, Fassberg et Holzdorf et l’ouverture vers les autres moyens d’entrainement de l’Armée allemande permettra aux équipages de faire de l’entraînement collectif sur des missions complexes". "Tous les pilotes de NH90 des forces armées allemandes ont utilisé exclusivement les simulateurs de HFTS GmbH au cours de la dernière décennie, totalisant 200 000 heures de vol. Des clients internationaux tels que la Suède, la Belgique, la Finlande et la Nouvelle-Zélande se sont également entraînés avec succès sur les simulateurs NH90 ces dernières années", souligne Peter Halbig, directeur du consortium.

  • Canadian military bans international travel in response to COVID-19

    March 16, 2020 | Local, Aerospace, Naval, Land, C4ISR, Security

    Canadian military bans international travel in response to COVID-19

    Routine operations and patrols within Canada will continue The Canadian military has banned all foreign travel and ordered non-essential personnel to stay home — part of its sweeping response to the global outbreak of COVID-19. A formal order — known as a CANFORGEN — was issued Friday after a preliminary warning order was issued to units across the country the day before. In an interview, the country's top military commander also said a handful of troops who recently returned from an overseas operation have voluntarily gone into self-isolation at the military airbase in Bagotville, Que., but they are not considered "presumptive cases." Chief of Defence Staff Gen. Jonathan Vance confirmed that only one member of the military — a naval reservist — is in hospital in Spain after being formally diagnosed with the illness. 'Miltary operations will continue' He said those returning from deployment and leave outside of Canada will be ordered to self-isolate. "We're trying, at this point in time, to pause all things, but necessary military operations will continue," Vance said. The new travel ban will mean that the few thousand troops now serving on deployments, exercises and exchange positions will not be allowed to leave the countries where they are operating. Reservists, who serve part-time, are being encouraged to abstain from personal travel outside of Canada. Bases will be closed to visitors, including foreign delegations. Military training schools will restrict new entrants and those already on course will be confined to base. "While at home, or on leave, in Canada, I'm asking members to adopt an approach that protects themselves and their family from the virus," Vance said. "I expect our command and control headquarters to continue operations, albeit at reduced levels, and some units will be able to stand down to essential administration and command functions only." 'Ships will still sail and planes will still fly' Routine operations and patrols within Canada will continue, as normal. "Ships will still sail and planes will still fly," said Lt.-Col. Dave Devenney, a spokesman for the defence chief. "Our job is to stay healthy, preserve the force and be prepared to fight." Dave Perry, a defence analyst at the Canadian Global Affairs Institute, said the orders are meant not only to halt the spread of the virus but to give the military flexibility to respond if the civilian health care system or vital infrastructure becomes overwhelmed. "The military is pre-positioning if they are called out to help the government in any significant way," he said. Troops could be deployed with transport and communications to help frontline health workers, such as the people doing virus screening. "People at the frontline of the pandemic could require a host of supports," Perry said. An order for federal government workers to stay home also could put a strain on some parts of the country's telecommunications grid. "The military has independent communications that can work around that securely," Perry added. The order follows on a series of measures the military has taken in response to the unfolding pandemic crisis. Travel to China was banned shortly after the novel coronavirus became a major issue in Asia. THE LATEST Coronavirus: Here's what's happening in Canada and around the world on March 13 Government warns against all international travel, limits inbound flights to stop spread of COVID-19 A week ago, Vance said the military had started "pre-pandemic planning" by issuing orders that gave base commanders the authority to cancel large public gatherings, restrict all non-essential travel and enforce higher standards of personal hygiene. At that time, Vance said federal officials, under a worst-case scenario, were prepared for an absentee rate among government workers of 25 per cent and that the military is looking at a similar number. He added that the best defence is to not get sick at all. The biggest issue the Department of National Defence has faced thus far has been the civilian travel restrictions, which have hampered the movement of personnel. It also has prevented the full resumption of the military training mission in Iraq, a senior commander told a parliamentary committee this week. There is concern for the forces operating in war zones like Iraq, where the health care system lies in ruins. As of Thursday, Iraq reported 74 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and eight fatalities. Approximately one-quarter of the country's cases are known to be in the northern Kurdistan region, where Canadian special forces troops have been conducting an advise-and-assist mission to help root out the remaining extremist holdouts after the fall of the Islamic State. The country's second-largest city, Mosul, was largely destroyed by the fighting. The Canadian measures differ from those being imposed by the Pentagon, which as of today is barring all troops, family members and defence civilian employees from traveling to afflicted countries, including Italy, South Korea, and China, for the next 60 days.

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