Back to news

May 14, 2018 | Local, Aerospace

Helicopter firm tries to revive cancelled Canadian deal with the Philippines

David Pugliese

Just months after a contract to sell military helicopters to the Philippines was cancelled, a Canadian firm is hoping it can revive the controversial deal.

The Liberal government ordered a review of the original contract involving Bell Helicopter Canada after human rights concerns were raised in February about the aircraft being used on the front lines of the country's various conflicts.

But that review angered Rodrigo Duterte, the president of the Philippines, who cancelled the $234-million deal for 16 Bell 412 helicopters to be built in Mirabel, Que.

Bell says it is now back in discussions with the Philippines as a potential client for the same helicopters. Patrick Moulay, a Bell senior vice-president, told the aviation publication Flight Global that he can't get into specifics because the discussions are commercially sensitive. “We are still discussing to see how we can address the missions and operational needs of our customers,” he explained. “We are talking to them on a daily basis but you should wait for a few more weeks before we go into more details.”

In February, when the original deal became public, human rights advocates expressed disbelief that Canada was selling the aircraft to the Philippines considering the country's poor human rights record and its controversial leader Duterte.

The international criminal court has launched an initial inquiry into allegations of crimes against humanity committed by Duterte. The allegations relate to extrajudicial executions committed during the president's war on drugs, which has killed thousands. Duterte, who once boasted about throwing a man to his death from a helicopter, has also warned government officials they would face the same fate if he learned they were involved in corruption.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau also raised concerns about extrajudicial killings while visiting the country in November, specifically those related to Duterte's violent crackdown on illegal drugs.

The Canadian Commercial Corporation, a federal government agency, brokered the original February deal to supply the 16 Bell 412 helicopters to the Philippines. But the corporation noted in an email Monday that the organization is not supporting Bell's latest efforts in the Philippines.

Bell Helicopter did not respond to a request for comment.

Some arms control advocates are worried that Bell might do an end-run around Canadian regulations by shipping portions of the helicopters to its U.S. facilities for assembly and eventual sale to the Philippines. “Canada's arms control policies are so weak that there are various ways to get these helicopters to Duterte,” said Steve Staples, vice president of the Rideau Institute, an Ottawa think tank. “Shipping semi-completed aircraft from Mirabel into the U.S. could be one way.”

The Liberal government said in February it was unaware the Bell helicopters were going to be used for military operations in the Philippines. It stated the original purpose of the aircraft was for search and rescue and disaster relief. The Liberals blamed the previous Conservative government for initiating the deal.

But the Philippine government never hid its intention to use the Canadian-built helicopters in military operations, even going as far as displaying the first batch of those choppers armed with machine guns during an official ceremony in 2015 attended by Canada's ambassador.

Philippines Brigadier-General Restituto Padilla, military chief of plans, also told journalists in Manila that the aircraft “will be used for the military's internal security operations.”

The Philippine military is keen to boost its capabilities as it fights Communist insurgents and Islamic extremists. It says it would use the Canadian helicopters to transport and supply troops and ferry wounded soldiers out of danger. Other uses would be for disaster relief.

Last summer, the Philippine air force used its older utility helicopters during intense fighting in the city of Marawi, a predominantly Muslim city.

On the same subject

  • MHD-ROCKLAND and ESG Aerosystems Keep the P-3 Legacy Alive

    December 1, 2020 | Local, Aerospace, Naval

    MHD-ROCKLAND and ESG Aerosystems Keep the P-3 Legacy Alive

    P-3 Aircrew Training is set to Commence in December ESG Aerosystems is proud to be awarded a $ 64.5 M U.S. Navy Contract for which MHD-ROCKLAND is excited to be the sole-source aircraft Subcontractor. Starke, Fla., November 26th, 2020 – MHD-ROCKLAND Inc. and ESG Aerosystems, announce that ESG Aerosystems has been awarded a U.S Navy Contract valued at $64.5 million, and MHD-ROCKLAND will act as the sole-source aircraft subcontractor. As per the scope of this contract ESG Aerosystems is mandated to develop a curriculum and facilitate training for P-3 aircrew positions including co-pilots, patrol plane commanders, instructor pilots, flight engineers, instructor flight engineers, and flight currency training. This is to support Naval Education and Training Security Assistance Field Activity's (NETSAFA) applicable field units and other program offices and stakeholders. The achievement is 100% funded by Federal Republic of Germany funds under the Foreign Military Sales Program to secure the operational readiness of the German Navy P-3C Aircrew. The training is set to start in December 2020 and takes place at the ESG Aerosystems training facility within the MHD-ROCKLAND Flight Ops facilities located at Keystone Heights Airport Fla. Home to five MHD-ROCKLAND P-3 aircraft, the facility is well-equipped to host students and provide hands-on mission ready training. The duration of the training program varies with the type of aircrew position and will include both simulator and live flight training. “We are extremely excited to partner with ESG Aerosystems to deliver comprehensive training solutions for the enduring P-3 Orion platform” said Josh Miller, President, MHD-ROCKLAND. “With over 40 years of experience in legacy aircraft sustainment, our team is ready to add value and offer this unique and essen-tial service to global P-3 fleet operators who require it” he added. “We are delighted to partner with MHD-ROCKLAND,” stated Matthias Weerts, President, ESG Aerosystems, and continued, “We are looking forward to starting the training for the German Navy and then to serving the global P-3 community by delivering efficient, effective, and tailored training to sustain this incredible platform and community.” The new P-3 aircrew training program spearheaded by ESG Aerosystems and MHD-ROCKLAND fills in the gap left by the closure of VP-30. The global P-3 Orion network is extremely resilient and will continue flying their P-3 Orion fleet-many of them well into the 2030's. We are ready to support the P-3 Orion customers including Foreign Military partners and U.S. Government agencies, by providing an extensive program which perfectly matches each operator's needs and requirements. About MHD-ROCKLAND With offices in the United States, Canada, Australia and New Zealand, MHD-ROCKLAND Inc. is a privately-held aero-space company that has, for close to 40 years, supplied high-caliber services, training and support to fixed-wing aircraft for military aircraft operators around the globe, including manufacturer support through OEM and other channel partners as well as repair and overhaul within its own facilities. With more than 250,000 square feet of warehouse facilities, the company has one of the largest privately-owned P-3 and C-130 inventories in the world. It's Flight Ops Unit located in Keystone Heights, Fla. is home to five P-3 Orions and four L-188 Electras. For further infor-mation, visit Media Contact: Amna Chishty, Marketing Communications Phone: + 1 (514) 453 1632 Ext: 1293 About ESG Aerosystems ESG Aerosystems Inc. is a 100% subsidiary of the German privately owned company ESG Elektroniksystem- und Logistik-GmbH, which is one of the German Armed Forces (Bundeswehr) most trusted and proven partners. ESG was founded in 1967 and established itself as an independent service provider, developing, integrating and operating complex, security relevant electronic and IT systems for the military, public authorities and companies. ESG is a certified aviation company for aircraft for the Bundeswehr (German Federal Armed Forces) and an aviation engineering company in line with EASA Part 21J, EASA Part 21G and EASA Part 145. To provide excellent P-3 pilot training, ESG Aerosystems Inc. has teamed up with MHD-ROCKLAND, a world class supplier in fixed wing aircraft services and support. Media Contact: William Bushman Phone: (904) 601-9422 Press release

  • Québec Invests $350,000 in Zetane to Support Collaboration with Rheinmetall Canada to Develop Artificial Intelligence in Predictive Maintenance

    December 10, 2020 | Local, Aerospace, Naval, Land, C4ISR, Security

    Québec Invests $350,000 in Zetane to Support Collaboration with Rheinmetall Canada to Develop Artificial Intelligence in Predictive Maintenance

    [Montreal Canada; December 10, 2020] Technology to avoid costly repairs and foresee critical equipment breakdowns for heavy-duty vehicles aims to go mainstream in Québec thanks to government support of a multi-phase innovation initiative. Specializing in the deployment of artificial intelligence (AI) in industry, the Montreal-region tech start-up Zetane Systems announced today funding to establish AI-powered predictive maintenance solutions with the defence contractor, Rheinmetall Canada , headquartered in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu. Investissement Québec (IQ) of the Ministère de l'Économie et de l'Innovation (MEI) contributed $350,000 in non-refundable financing--accounting for half the project costs--to support the first phase of the innovation project. “By employing artificial intelligence, Zetane contributes to reducing the costs related to the maintenance of heavy-duty vehicles and reduces our ecological footprint. Several sectors, such as aerospace and construction, will be able to gain important advantages from the technology developed by this innovative fledgeling company. It's innovation initiatives like this that reaffirms Québec's leadership in artificial intelligence,” highlighted the Minister of Economy and Innovation, Pierre Fitzgibbon. Gaining funding support for such initiatives requires a highly competitive application process and detailed evaluation by experts in government and industry. Thanks to the collaboration of the Québec government, the project will serve to introduce new technologies and industrial processes with significant potential to improve economic, social and environmental factors in Québec. Of particular focus, funding of innovation initiatives serves to encourage the advancement of high-risk innovation projects that have much potential in ensuring Québec industry remains competitive. “Funding opportunities from the Québec government merit fervent support. They make collaboration between leading innovative companies such as Rheinmetall within reach, even during difficult economic times. Government investments in innovation are always a smart allocation of our resources that will ensure promising Québec startups with global appeal remain competitive and build further prosperity for all of us,” said the CEO and co-founder of Zetane, Guillaume Hervé. A more efficient means to foresee and prevent mechanical problems Several major industries--such as construction, aerospace, municipal works and mining--require managing fleets of heavy-duty vehicles. Whether it be trucks, planes or trains, ensuring these vehicles are well maintained avoids accidents and project delays. Being well maintained also reduces greenhouse gas emissions by ensuring that vehicles function at peak performance. A challenge these industries face today is an inability to customize maintenance schedules for individual vehicles, as well as an inability to predict equipment breakdowns with accuracy. AI provides a new means to analyse past maintenance requirements and process data from sensors on vehicles in order to predict mechanical wear-and-tear before problems arise. AI-powered machine vision technology also enables the automation of certain tasks in routine vehicle inspections. Zetane's particular strength in the project stems from the company's provision of a software platform designed specifically for a more intuitive and streamlined development of enterprise applications of AI. Once delivered, Rheinmetall Canada will gain unique AI technologies to better serve its clients with more efficient, accurate and less costly maintenance services and supply more performant transport vehicles. “Our strengths at Rheinmetall Canada stem from our embrace of technological change. Partnering with intrepid start-ups like Zetane not only gives us access to cutting-edge yet practical AI tools developed for enterprises, but also enables us to rapidly execute experimental proofs of concept that address specific customer needs” said Roger Bolduc, Senior Director of Engineering at Rheinmetall Canada. Benefits beyond innovation This innovation project aims to optimize Zetane's capacities to introduce predictive maintenance to diverse industries. Once complete, Zetane will use their experience with Rheinmetall to market AI predictive maintenance to new clients, enabling the Québecois start-up to expand service offerings both here and internationally. Additional future benefits of the project identified in the funding application include important social and environmental factors. One benefit is retaining and expanding rewarding job opportunities in technology both in Montreal and in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu. Environmental factors include lowered greenhouse gas emissions due to better-maintained vehicles. Health and safety factors include the possibility for safer work environments thanks to expected decreases in accidents caused by equipment failures. In addition to reducing operating costs in the for-profit sector, savings accrued from predictive maintenance for municipal vehicles have the potential to reduce the costs of tax-payer funded municipal works and civic services. About Zetane Systems Zetane Systems is a software technology company specializing in artificial intelligence. Our proprietary software easily integrates into existing AI platforms and provides a visual, intuitive workspace for building technology products in the AI subdomains of machine learning; the Zetane software provides a digital workspace to produce AI innovations. Zetane aims to make AI development more accessible and promote the technology industry's abilities to explain the inner workings of AI innovations. We do this by making AI more available to diverse professionals and industry verticals through our easy-to-learn-and-use software that complements and works with current popular AI development tools. About Rheinmetall Canada Rheinmetall Canada is a proud member of Germany's Rheinmetall Group, Europe's foremost supplier of army technology and a longstanding partner of armed forces. As an internationally recognized systems integrator, Rheinmetall Canada creates technologically advanced, fully-customised solutions for the global defence and security market. Located in its facilities in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Ottawa, and other locations throughout the world, over 375 employees put their expertise to work and push back their limits to ensure innovation and the success of each mandate. Ministry of Economy and Innovation on social media Facebook : LinkedIn :économie-québec Twitter : Press contact: Jason Behrmann Director of Marketing and Communications

  • Charlie Bouchard steps down from Lockheed Martin Canada’s top job

    April 25, 2019 | Local, Aerospace

    Charlie Bouchard steps down from Lockheed Martin Canada’s top job

    DAVID PUGLIESE, OTTAWA CITIZEN Charles Bouchard announced his decision Wednesday to retire as Chief Executive, Lockheed Martin Canada effective April 30. Bouchard, a retired lieutenant general, served in the role for nearly six years. He had a 37-year career in the Royal Canadian Air Force. “I have thoroughly enjoyed serving Lockheed Martin Canada and Lockheed Martin Corporation and while the time has come for me to retire, I will remain an ardent supporter and advocate of the work Lockheed Martin does to deliver the best equipment to today's modern warfighter, the F-35 being a primary example,” Bouchard said in a statement. Lorraine Ben will serve as Interim Chief Executive.

All news