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May 13, 2022 | Local, Aerospace, Land

Defence Minister mulling weapons and defence strategy in Canada - Canadian Manufacturing

Anand told a conference hosted by the Canadian Global Affairs Institute that the government is taking "a full and comprehensive look" at ballistic missile defence.

https://www.canadianmanufacturing.com/manufacturing/defence-minister-mulling-weapons-manufacturing-abilities-in-canada-281519/

On the same subject

  • Will other firms withdraw from fighter jet competition leaving F-35 last plane standing?

    September 25, 2019 | Local, Aerospace

    Will other firms withdraw from fighter jet competition leaving F-35 last plane standing?

    By DAVID PUGLIESE, OTTAWA CITIZEN  Shortly before he retired, Pat Finn, the Department of National Defence’s procurement chief, told this newspaper there was always a risk that some companies would drop out of the future fighter jet competition but that extra efforts had been made to ensure the process was fair. “We’re not getting all kinds of signals that (companies are) losing interest” in bidding, Finn said in an interview July 23. On Aug. 30, the United Kingdom’s Ministry of Defence and Airbus Defence and Space informed the Canadian government of their decision to withdraw from Canada’s future fighter competition. Airbus had been offering Canada the Eurofighter. At the time the Canadian Press news service reported the Eurofighter withdrawal was a surprise. It wasn’t. For the last nine months the various competing firms, Boeing, Airbus and Saab have been sounding the alarm about how the fighter jet process is structured and their worry that it is stacked in favour of the Lockheed Martin F-35. The RCAF, which originally selected the F-35 as the CF-18 replacement before that selection was put on hold by the previous Conservative government because of cost and technical issues, came up with the new requirements. Industry representatives say these requirements highlight the strengths of the F-35 such as stealth and a first strike capability. The primary role of the new fighter jets is to protect North America, or so government officials have said. Lockheed Martin’s industry rivals question how stealth and a first strike capability fit into that role. Representatives from Lockheed Martin’s competitors have also made overtures to federal officials about their concerns about the procurement process but say they received little response. In early July Reuters news service reported that both Airbus and Boeing were considering dropping out. Airbus followed through on its concerns and as noted decided it wasn’t worth competing because of how the process was designed. Last year the European firm Dassault informed the Canadian government it would not be competing in the competition. It had been planning to offer Canada the Rafale fighter jet. There were two key changes in the $19 billion procurement that caused Airbus to leave. One was the decision to change the industrial benefits needed for the program. Airbus was willing to outline and guarantee specific industrial benefits for Canada. That was the way previous defence procurements had worked. But that has been changed because of concerns the U.S. government raised for Lockheed Martin. U.S. officials had warned that the F-35 development agreement Canada signed years ago prohibits partners from imposing requirements for industrial benefits. Although Canada is a partner in the development of the aircraft that does not stipulate it is required to buy the F-35. But under the F-35 agreement, partner nations such as Canada are prohibited from demanding domestic companies receive specific work on the fighter jet. Instead, Canadian firms compete and if they are good enough they receive contracts. Over the last 12 years, Canadian firms have earned more than $1.3 billion in contracts to build F-35 parts. But there are no guarantees. The other problem that Airbus and Rafale faced was linked to the requirement that bidders need to show how their aircraft will integrate into the U.S.-Canada system to defend North America. Airbus would have been required to show how it planned to integrate the Eurofighter Typhoon into the U.S.-Canadian system without knowing the system’s full technical details, the Canadian Press news service pointed out. Saab, which is offering Canada the Gripen fighter, could be facing the same problem. Boeing, which is considering offering the Super Hornet, would not have such a problem as its aircraft is being flown by the U.S. military. It is still unclear, however, whether Boeing or Saab will even continue in the competition. Bids must be submitted by the spring of 2020 but there is a growing sense among the defence industry that the F-35 will ultimately be selected as the new aircraft for the RCAF. https://ottawacitizen.com/news/national/defence-watch/will-other-firms-withdraw-from-fighter-jet-competition-leaving-f-35-last-plane-standing

  • Drone drops of drugs and weapons are getting more common at Ontario prisons

    August 25, 2020 | Local, Aerospace, Security

    Drone drops of drugs and weapons are getting more common at Ontario prisons

    Flying a drone to drop drugs and weapons inside a prison seems like something out of an action movie — yet it happened this month near Toronto and in the last few years, the problem continues to get worse. Warkworth Institution, a medium-security prison about two hours east of Toronto, found drugs, tattoo paraphernalia, handmade weapons and drug paraphernalia in a search of the facility, which ended on Aug. 21. The items were thought to have been brought in via a drone. This isn’t the first time contraband items have entered Canadian corrections facilities. Drones dropped weapons and phones in a Kingston prison earlier this year. In June four people were arrested in a drone plot to smuggle drugs and weapons into a Kingston prison. The Canadian government has been working on solving the issue and planned to spend $6 million on a pilot drone detection program at several institutions. The project has been delayed after the contract was cancelled in January 2020, Veronique Rioux, a spokesperson for Correctional Service Canada (CSC) told blogTO in an email.  While drone sightings over Canadian correctional facilities have increased over the past several years, Rioux said they don’t have a big impact on the number of drugs in correctional institutions. “The use of drones as a method to introduce drugs into correctional institutions is one of many methods used by drug traffickers in an attempt to circumvent CSC's drug interdiction efforts,” she said. For security purposes, Rioux said she cannot say how many items are smuggled through drones or how the drones are used. But they are working to stop contraband items from entering through searches of offenders, visitors, staff, cells, vehicles, buildings and cells with ion scanners and detector dogs. “CSC continues to research and introduce new technology as it becomes available to better facilitate the detection of contraband, including drone detection,” Rioux said. https://www.blogto.com/city/2020/08/drugs-weapons-drone-ontario-prison/

  • With billions of dollars at stake, all parties promise to fix defence purchases

    October 7, 2019 | Local, Aerospace, Naval, Land, C4ISR, Security

    With billions of dollars at stake, all parties promise to fix defence purchases

    Every election, would-be prime ministers promise to cancel bad military purchases or processes, hurry along good ones, fix the mess once and for all OTTAWA — The seemingly endless effort to replace Canada’s CF-18s fighter jets passed a tiny milestone Friday: fighter-jet makers participating in the $19-billion competition were required to explain how they planned to make their aircraft compliant with U.S. intelligence systems. For nearly a decade, Canadians have been inundated with talk of fighter jets without Canada ever buying them, an ever-worsening symbol of the failures of Canada’s military procurement system. Every election, would-be prime ministers promise to cancel bad purchases or processes, hurry along good ones, fix the mess once and for all. Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer this week promised to “de-politicize” military procurement with new oversight bodies in cabinet and the Privy Council Office while working toward multi-partisan consensus on procurement projects in Parliament. The Liberals promise to establish a new agency called Defence Procurement Canada, which suggests taking the entire function away from the four departments that now share responsibility for buying military kit. The New Democrats and Greens promise, without detail, that they will ensure Canada’s military gets the equipment it needs. The origins of what we face today can be traced back to the end of the Cold War when Canada and its allies began to cut defence spending after a decades-long arms race with the Soviet Union. There were concerns about whether or not you're getting the right kind of economic benefits “We deferred purchasing new fighter planes and did the same thing with our frigate fleet,” says David Perry, vice-president of the Canadian Global Affairs Institute and one of Canada’s foremost experts on defence spending and procurement. “We just kicked the can down the road on fixed-wing search-and-rescue aircraft. There was a bunch of other projects that fit the same vein.” The military had to use equipment for years longer than it was supposed to and the Department of National Defence lost most of its procurement experts. But in the mid-2000s, the Forces’ equipment problems were revealed in Kandahar: the military lacked transport aircraft to resupply its Afghanistan mission, artillery and tanks to support troops on the ground and helicopters to move them around. Ottawa rushed into gear, purchasing transport planes, howitzers, helicopters and tanks in short order — in most cases without competitions. New equipment flooded in but there were some big failures, starting with accusations defence officials rigged the requirements for a new search-and-rescue plane to select a specific U.S. plane. There was also a failed effort to buy new supply ships for the navy and, most explosively, a plan to buy new fighter jets, Lockheed Martin’s F-35s, without a competition. In 2012, auditor general Michael Ferguson blasted the Defence Department for failing to communicate the stealth fighter’s risks, including escalating costs and schedule delays, to Parliament and decision-makers. Dan Ross, who was the department’s head of military procurement at the time, would later say defence officials had all the information and were willing to share it — the Harper government just wouldn’t let them. Either way, the public’s confidence in the system and the government’s ability to manage it were shaken. The F-35 purchase was scrapped. The Tories imposed new constraints to keep costs under control and ensure Canadian industry and communities benefit from defence contracts. “There were concerns about whether or not you’re getting the right kind of economic benefits, some significant concerns about whether or not process was being adhered to until you had this system recalibration where you had an injection of additional rules and governance,” Perry says. That recalibration imposed a fundamental tension on the system: the need to get the best equipment possible, with the most benefit to the economy or local industry, at the lowest cost. Every big procurement is partly about the military’s needs and partly about national industrial policy — and, that means, partly about politics. Most procurements are still completed with minimal fuss. The problems largely lie with big, once-in-a-lifetime contracts like fighters and warships that are worth billions of dollars and are not only essential for the military to operate, but have the potential to benefit Canadian businesses and communities for years. The ones that involve billions of public dollars. “You’re trying to get the best bang for the buck for as little buck as possible,” says Queen’s University professor Kim Nossal, who wrote a book entitled “Charlie Foxtrot: Fixing Defence Procurement in Canada” in 2016. “The one comforting thing is that very few countries have got the balance right. All industrial countries, all of our allies, faces these kinds of pressures. They worry about jobs and costs and capability.” Efforts to combine the three competing priorities can lead to bickering among federal departments, lawsuits from companies and politicians sticking their fingers in things. Seconds after saying he would de-politicize the military procurement system this week, Scheer promised to negotiate the purchase of an interim naval supply ship from Quebec’s Chantier Davie shipyard, which lobbied the Liberal government for years to ink such a contract without success. Davie is one of Canada’s big players in shipbuilding — and it’s in much-contested political territory just outside Quebec City. Alan Williams, who was the Defence Department’s head of procurement from 1999 to 2005 and now advises companies on procurement matters, compares Scheer’s promise on Davie to Justin Trudeau’s promise in 2015 not to buy the F-35. That’s because while a government can decide to purchase a piece of military equipment, procurement laws — and Canada’s international trade obligations — forbid it from choosing or excluding a specific product or supplier except under extreme circumstances. Upon taking office, the Liberals twisted themselves in pretzels to get around the legal implications of their promise. That twisting led to a plan to buy Super Hornets from a competing vendor. When that fell through, four years passed before an actual competition was launched — with the F-35 now one of three planes still in contention. In the meantime, the CF-18s will fly until 2032, reinforced with second-hand Australian F-18s to buy time. https://nationalpost.com/news/politics/election-2019/with-billions-of-dollars-at-stake-all-parties-promise-to-fix-defence-purchases

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