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February 17, 2021 | Local, Aerospace

Canada seeking qualified bidders for Polaris replacement

Canada seeking qualified bidders for Polaris replacement

AvatarBY CHRIS THATCHER | FEBRUARY 16, 2021

Estimated reading time  7 minutes, 45 seconds.

The Canadian government is inviting aerospace and other interested companies to qualify for the Strategic Tanker Transport Capability (STTC) project. 

Public Services and Procurement Canada (PSPC) posted the notice on the government Buy and Sell website Feb. 12 as a first step in a three-phase procurement process to replace the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) CC-150 Polaris strategic airlift fleet.

The invitation to qualify (ITQ), which closes on Feb. 26, is intended to identify respondents able to meet the project’s security and other core requirements before moving to the tender phase. Once a qualified suppliers list is established, Procurement Canada and the Air Force will then review and refine the project requirements with companies before developing a draft request for proposal (RFP), to be issued by fall 2021. 

The review phase “is intended to be a collaborative process and may involve interactions such as workshops, one-on-one sessions (commercially confidential meetings), and written questions and answers,” according to the ITQ documents. “Canada will consider the feedback provided by qualified suppliers.” 

A formal RFP, the third phase, is expected by late 2021 or early 2022.

While the process means only qualified suppliers will be invited to submit bids, the government “reserves the right . . . to re-evaluate any aspect of the qualification of any Qualified Supplier at any time during the aircraft procurement process and change their status to ‘unqualified’ if they no longer meet the requirements provided in this ITQ,” according to the document. In addition, “Canada may, at its sole discretion, re-open Phase 1 – ITQ.” 

The RCAF is seeking a multi-role platform that can be configured for air-to-air refueling, personnel airlift, strategic government transport, aeromedical evacuations and freight movement, among other roles. The aircraft may also be used to support disaster relief, search-and-rescue and contributions to peace operations; it must also include the capacity to detect, avoid and defeat air-to-air and air-to-ground threats. In its tanker role, the aircraft must be able to refuel allied fighter jets on NATO and NORAD operations. 

Though the ITQ does not specify a quantity, the fleet must be large enough to concurrently provide support to three lines of tasking of “unrestricted global air mobility movements” over a 24-hour period.

The STTC project was outlined in the Liberal government’s June 2017 defense policy as initiative 47 to recapitalize strategic tanking and airlift with a next generation platform to replace the CC-150. The Polaris is a modified variant of the Airbus A310-300 built in the late 1980s, and operated by 437 Transport Squadron at 8 Wing Trenton, Ontario. A fleet of five was acquired in 1992 from Canadian Airlines, and two were converted to tankers in 2008. 

While the two CC-150Ts have been providing air-to-air refueling globally (their crucial role alongside other coalition tankers in the fight against ISIS in Iraq and Syria was highlighted in a recent RAND research brief), they only recently received full operational capability to conduct mid-air refueling on NORAD operations — a role that had previously only been done by the CC-130H Hercules tankers operated by 435 Transport and Rescue Squadron from 17 Wing Winnipeg, Manitoba, and U.S. Air Force aircraft.

Boeing and Airbus have indicated interest in the program. Boeing is offering the KC-46 Pegasus, a militarized variant of the 767 widebody, while Airbus is promoting the A330 multirole tanker transport (MRTT), a variant of the A330-200 airframe. CBC has reported the government may also be assessing “whether any deal can be found among commercial airlines that are currently looking for financial relief from Ottawa,” including Air Canada. 

“We look forward to working with the government of Canada and engaging in [the] Strategic Tanker Transport Capability project,” Boeing Defense, Space & Security said in a statement. “Boeing’s KC-46A is a wide-body, multi-role tanker, and is already certified to refuel Canadian, allied and coalition military aircraft. In addition to serving as an aerial refueling tanker, the KC-46 can be configured to accommodate cargo, passengers, or to serve as an aero-medical evacuation aircraft or any combination of all three. . . . The KC-46 offers superior interoperability, supportability and affordability benefits – coupled with a robust industry plan that will bring real, guaranteed jobs to companies all across Canada. With 183 aircraft on order and growing international interest, we expect the fleet to surpass 200 aircraft by 2029.”

“We welcome Canada’s invitation to qualify for the Strategic Tanker Transport Capability project,” said Simon Jacques, president of Airbus Defence and Space Canada, in a statement. “We believe that our A330 MRTT multirole-tanker is the best option in the market, and are confident that our offer will fulfill all current and future requirements for this key capability for the RCAF.”

Prospective bidders will be expected to provide aircrew and maintenance training programs, and establish initial sustainment and long-term in-service support “that assures operational readiness and maintains mission effectiveness of the capability throughout its service life,” according to the ITQ.

As part of the STTC project, the Air Force will improve infrastructure for 437 Squadron. In December, the government released an advanced procurement notice for a new or renovated hangar at the main operating base in Trenton, as well as upgrades to the apron and taxiways. A request for proposals is expected by summer 2021.

Contenders will also have to comply with Canada’s Industrial and Technological Benefits policy, which requires the successful bidder to make investments in Canadian industry and academic research equal to the value of the contract. With STTC, the government will be seeking investments that align with key industrial capabilities, including aerospace systems, systems integration, in-service support and training and simulation. 

https://skiesmag.com/news/canada-seeking-qualified-bidders-polaris-replacement/

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    September 24, 2018 | Local, C4ISR, Security

    RCMP's ability to police digital realm 'rapidly declining,' commissioner warned

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That's down slightly from the previous year, when the vacancy rate was 6.6 per cent. The briefing note says that in the last five years, there has been a "dramatic" increase in the number of new recruits needed to fill operational vacancies and evolving program requirements. About 1,280 cadets were expected to be enrolled in 2018-2019, up from 1,152 the previous year. In 2016, CBC News reported that the RCMP was dropping its requirement that applicants be Canadian citizens, and that it would accept applications from permanent residents. The RCMP also loosened entrance requirements to deal with a wave of retirements, low pay and the need to expand its pool of potential new officers. Starting this month, the RCMP is dropping its requirement that applicants must be Canadian citizens. It will now accept permanent residents. Post-secondary graduates no longer will have to write an entrance exam that measures aptitude for police work and the force will no longer require a physical abilities evaluation before people submit an application. With files from the CBC's  Kathleen Harris. https://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/lucki-briefing-binde-cybercrime-1.4831340

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    January 29, 2020 | Local, Aerospace

    Laflamme Aéro reçoit 2 millions de dollars en capital de risque

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  • ‘Hard decisions are going to have to be made’: can vital defence procurements survive in a post-pandemic world?

    May 13, 2020 | Local, Aerospace, Naval, Land, C4ISR, Security

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Mr. Perry said historically when the government has needed to slash spending, it has looked at the military. “When you are trying to fix a fiscal problem, inevitably national defence is part of the way governments have tended to try and fix that,” he said, adding that given the size of the defence budget, it is “virtually impossible” to address an economic situation without making some fiscal changes at the Department of National Defence. But he said that historical pattern may not continue as it’s a different kind of fiscal problem for the government. “In a dynamic where you have real big impacts on consumer confidence and there’s also, I think, fairly serious concerns about the availability of financing and liquidity in the civilian economy, potentially there’s more of a room for DND and the Government of Canada writ large to be part of the economic solution here and not just part of the fiscal problem,” Mr. Perry said. Former naval officer Norman Jolin, who served in the Canadian Navy for 37 years and commanded the Halifax-class HMCS Montréal, said the last thing the government will want to do is cancel projects that it has already announced at the expense of Canadian workers. “The last thing [the government] would want to do in a world where we’ve lost so many jobs is to cause more people not to have jobs by cutting things,” he said. Mr. Jolin compared the National Shipbuilding Strategy to the construction of a trans-Canada railway in the 19th century. “This is jobs across Canada,” he said, adding that it is not just jobs at shipyards but throughout the supply chain including manufacturing jobs in southern Ontario. Mr. Jolin said with the procurements under the National Shipbuilding Strategy, the lengthy timeline will mitigate the pandemic’s impact. For the Canadian Surface Combatant procurement, the first ship isn’t projected to be completed until the mid-2020s and the final delivery date for the entire fleet is in the late 2040s. He said while there may be minor delays in the short term, it shouldn’t have much impact on when the ships are delivered in the end. But he said there is still much unknown about how the pandemic has affected the procurement process. Charles Davies, a retired colonel in the Armed Forces who spent time as the senior director responsible for procurement and equipment management policy at the Department of National Defence, also said the long timeline on projects should reduce the impact of any delay. “In the inherently long gestation periods of the major programs, the net impact should be limited,” he said. Mr. Davies, a CDA Institute fellow, said now can be a time for the government to look to make key investments in capabilities that will be needed in the future to defend its borders while at the same time keeping the economy afloat. He said unlike in the mid-1990s during the budget cuts under then-prime minister Jean Chrétien, Canada is not in the geopolitical position to allow its defence budget to dissipate. “We’re in a different world now,” he said, citing the “strategic environment” with more aggressive behaviour being seen from the Chinese and Russian governments. https://www.hilltimes.com/2020/05/13/hard-decisions-are-going-to-have-to-be-made-can-vital-defence-procurements-survive-in-a-post-pandemic-world/247826

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