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June 23, 2022 | Local, Aerospace, Naval, Land, C4ISR, Security

Ottawa annonce 4,9 milliards de dollars pour moderniser les équipements du NORAD

Ottawa va investir 4,9 milliards de dollars sur six ans pour moderniser et pour augmenter les capacités de défense continentale du Commandement de la défense aérospatiale de l'Amérique du Nord (NORAD), géré conjointement avec les États-Unis, a annoncé lundi la ministre de la Défense Anita Anand. «

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  • DND denies misjudging supply ship cost even though price tag jumped to $4.1 billion

    July 6, 2020 | Local, Naval

    DND denies misjudging supply ship cost even though price tag jumped to $4.1 billion

    DAVID PUGLIESE, OTTAWA CITIZEN  Updated: July 2, 2020 The defence department denies it ever misjudged the cost of a project to buy new naval ships even though the price tag jumped from $2.3 billion to $4.1 billion in less than two years. And DND admits the cost to taxpayers for the vessels could rise even more in the coming years. The Liberal government acknowledged on June 15 that the cost of the project to buy two Joint Support Ships has increased to $4.1 billion. The vessels are needed by the Royal Canadian Navy as they would provide fuel, ammunition and other supplies to warships at sea. But the $4.1 billion price tag is just the latest in a series of steadily increasing cost figures. In June 2018, the government acknowledged the cost of the ship project had, at that time, jumped from $2.3 billion to $3.4 billion. But Seaspan, the Vancouver shipyard that is to build the vessels, provided a new set of numbers in October 2019 and by February 2020 government approval was received for a new budget of $4.1 billion, DND confirmed in an email to this newspaper. “As with any large-scale procurement project, all project values are best estimates that are based on the data and figures available at the time,” the email added. There has been no misjudging of costs on the JSS project, the department noted. In 2013, the Parliamentary Budget Officer questioned DND’s JSS cost estimates and warned that the project would require $4.13 billion. DND stated in its email to this newspaper that taxpayers can be assured they are getting value for money on JSS and that those working on the shipbuilding project in both the department and Public Services and Procurement Canada are top notch. “The Department of National Defence and the Canadian Armed Forces, along with our counterparts at PSPC, have a first-rate cadre of experienced, professional procurement officers, subject matter experts and financial administrators who take great pride in their work and in their accomplishments,” DND said in an email. “Our team has – and will continue to – ensure that Canadians get value from their investments in the Armed Forces.” But DND also acknowledged costs could continue to rise. “While the total project budget includes contingency funding for these types of reasons, some events may happen unexpectedly and thus excel what the contingency funding allowed for,” the DND email noted. “As a result, it’s possible that cost estimates may change for a variety of reasons that can’t be controlled or predicted.” Conservative MP Kelly McCauley said DND’s claim that project costs weren’t misjudged is “BS.” “I don’t even have faith in their latest cost of $4.1 billion,” added McCauley, who is behind the effort to get the Parliamentary Budget Officer to do a new report looking at JSS. “It’s going to go up.” McCauley said the JSS design is based on the Berlin-class, an existing and proven German Navy ship. But he noted that DND and PSPC keep making changes to the ship, driving up costs and adding delays. DND noted that, “it’s not uncommon for the cost estimate to change throughout the duration of a project, especially for a first-of-class ship.” DND also pointed out the construction contract with Seaspan may be changed throughout the duration of the project but added that does not necessarily mean the project budget will increase. The Standing Committee on Government Operations and Estimates recently passed McCauley’s motion to request the Office of the Parliamentary Budget Officer undertake a costing analysis of building the JSS in Canada as well as the leasing of Asterix, a commercial ship converted into a supply vessel for the Royal Canadian Navy to use. The PBO report will be presented to the committee by Oct. 15. The Asterix, converted by Davie shipyards in Quebec, was at the centre of the two-year legal battle Vice Adm. Mark Norman found himself in when the RCMP charged him with breach of trust. The police force alleged Norman had tipped off Davie that the Liberal government was planning to delay its Asterix deal. The legal case against Norman collapsed in 2019, forcing the federal government to pay the naval officer an undisclosed financial settlement as well as prompting questions about whether the charge had been politically motivated. The Asterix turned out to be a procurement success and since 2018 has been used to refuel and resupply Royal Canadian Navy and allied warships. The Liberal government tried to derail the Asterix project shortly after being elected in the fall of 2015. The move came after cabinet ministers, including Scott Brison and defence minister Harjit Sajjan, received a letter from the Irving family with a complaint that the Irving proposal for a similar supply ship was not examined properly. Irving has denied any suggestion it was involved in political meddling. But after receiving the letter from the Irvings, the Liberals decided to put Asterix on hold. The government, however, had to back off that plan after news of its decision leaked out to the news media. Shortly after, the RCMP began investigating Norman.

  • RCAF commander recaps 2018

    January 2, 2019 | Local, Aerospace

    RCAF commander recaps 2018

    The following is excerpted from the 2018 holiday message that LGen Al Meinzinger, commander of the RCAF, sent to Air Force personnel and the extended RCAF family. We can honestly say that 2018 has been an extraordinary year for the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF). The year was bookended by the Sea King, with the last east coast operational flight of our maritime helicopter taking place in January and the official farewell and final flights taking place in December. It’s hard to say farewell to an old friend such as the Sea King, but the Cyclone is proving to be a tremendous asset to the RCAF and the Royal Canadian Navy, and the first operational deployment of the Cyclone onboard HMCS Ville de Quebec was a tremendous milestone. This year also brought our participation in a major UN peacekeeping operation, with stellar work being carried out by our Air Task Force personnel in Mali under Op Presence. We also continued our contributions to Op Caribbe and Op Impact. On the space aspect of “air and space power,” we are now an integral part of the Combined Space Operations Centre in California, with a member of the RCAF serving as the combined deputy director. Meanwhile, at home, our ongoing, essential search and rescue (SAR) missions continued, as well as sovereignty operations and exercises in the North. We responded to several Op Lentus missions, including fires in British Columbia and Manitoba, flooding in Kaschechewan, Ont., and storm damage on les Îles de la Madeleine. We also participated in marking a number of significant anniversaries this year, including the 60th anniversary of NORAD. We also marked the 100th anniversary of the Royal Air Force and, as part of those celebrations, sent a contingent to the United Kingdom to undertake Public Duties–guarding the residences of Her Majesty the Queen. 2018 also brought the 100th anniversary of the end of the First World War, as well as the 75th anniversary of the Dambusters Raid. In April, I was privileged to attend the opening of the International Bomber Command Centre in England, which is mandated to preserve and honour the memory of all those who served in the Command. I was reminded powerfully of the courageous contributions of our RCAF personnel, noting that we lost some 10,000 RCAF personnel during the bombing campaign. As we look forward to 2019, we must continue to focus on our anchor points: our people, our defence policy, our program and our posture. First and foremost among these are you, our people. Successful delivery of air and space power relies on well-led, robust, healthy and inclusive squadrons and tactical units. You and your families are our lifeblood, and your leaders will continue to create the right conditions to support you, retain your exceptional talents and attract personnel with the right skills and energy to continue your excellent work and move us into the future. We are extremely grateful for and proud of your enthusiasm, your dedicated service and your unparalleled professionalism. You may also rest assured that your work is deeply appreciated by Canadians, by your colleagues throughout the Canadian Armed Forces and Department of National Defence, and by our allies.

  • Helicopter firm tries to revive cancelled Canadian deal with the Philippines

    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.

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