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May 13, 2022 | Local, Aerospace, Land

Ottawa weighing ballistic missile defence as part of North American defence upgrades

OTTAWA - Defence Minister Anita Anand says the federal government is weighing whether Canada should join the U...

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  • Sentient Vision aims to expand Cormorant search radar

    December 14, 2018 | Local, Aerospace

    Sentient Vision aims to expand Cormorant search radar

    by Chris Thatcher When the Department of National Defence (DND) finalizes the statement of work for the CH-149 Cormorant Mid-Life Upgrade (CMLU), Sentient Vision is hoping a visual detection and ranging (ViDAR) optical radar will be among the requirements. The Australian company has partnered with Heli-One, a Vancouver-based subsidiary of CHC Helicopter, to offer a Canadian manufactured version of what it says is a transformational search and rescue technology. “We've coined a phrase: lost at sea, found in seconds. The system we have developed is able to autonomously find people lost at sea in seconds,” Simon Olsen, director of business development, strategy and partnerships, told Skies. “It is truly transformational. It has the unique ability to detect very small things that virtually no other system in the world has.” Where traditional radar struggles to differentiate small objects such as a person or a rubber raft from the waves in most sea states, ViDAR has successfully demonstrated the ability to find almost all objects or persons. “A radar works on being able to have a response back from the object, so the object needs to stand out from the ocean environment,” explained Olsen. “If the object is very small, and especially if it doesn't have a radar cross-section, it can't get a response back. Hence, in most search and rescue environments, when you are looking for people at sea, a rubber raft or even a small canoe . . . we currently use beacons or transponders to get a rough location, and then rely on the Mark 1 eyeball.” That often involves a spotter in an aircraft monitoring about 0.1 nautical miles at a time. “With ViDAR, we can look out two to 2.5 nautical miles from that aircraft and have an almost 100 per cent certainty of finding every person lost at sea immediately,” he said. The Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) has been analyzing options for a life-extension program that would see the CH-149 fleet of 14 search and rescue helicopters remain in service until around 2040. The project secured long-term funding with the release of the Liberal government defence policy in June 2017. And a year later, in April 2018, Public Services and Procurement Canada posted a letter of notification (LoN) outlining its intent to conduct a sole-source negotiation with Leonardo, formerly AgustaWestland, to replace, modify or upgrade current and projected obsolete systems based on the Norwegian AW101-612 All-Weather Search and Rescue Helicopter (NAWSARH) model, which began entering service in December 2017. The LoN also indicated that the government would proceed with a plan to “augment” the current fleet by upgrading as many as seven of nine VH-71 aircraft, variants of the AW101, acquired from the U.S. government in 2011 ostensibly for spare parts. Olsen said the Canadian program presents an opportunity to not only work with a highly regarded Canadian partner, but also to develop and prove a solution that could then be exported to other military and civilian search and rescue programs. “If we have the opportunity to partner with [Team Cormorant] to supply this technology to the Canadian government, we see tremendous export appeal to other markets in which these helicopters operate,” he said of the team led by manufacturer Leonardo Helicopters and in-service support provider, IMP Aerospace & Defence. “We are configuring this to be able to retrofit it to existing aircraft of a similar kind.” The ViDAR hardware consists of a small, lightweight pod that can be mounted to multiple points on an aircraft and is then integrated with the onboard mission system. “We don't want to add any risk or complex technical integration, so we've focused on making it easy to integrate and use,” said Olsen. “Operationally, there is no new mission system, there's no new mapping system. All we do is send a location on a map and a thumbnail image of the object we find in the water. The operator can click that image and it slews the existing sensors they have on the aircraft to investigate that object.” It was still being developed when the Canadian government released the statement of requirements for the fixed-wing search and rescue project, but Olsen said ViDAR could be readily added to the Airbus CC295 when it enters service with the RCAF. Air Force members have seen the system in action and are well aware of the capability, he added. The U.S. Coast Guard conducted a “fairly exhaustive” trial in 2016 at which, of the various radars evaluated, “we were the only one that found 100 per cent search and rescue targets in a range of sea states,” he said. The Coast Guard subsequently incorporated it into its Insitu ScanEagle unmanned aerial platforms for counter-narcotics operations in the Caribbean and off the southern coast. ViDAR is also being employed by the Australian Maritime Safety Authority's Bombardier Challenger 604 jets in a search and rescue capacity. By partnering with Heli-One and CHC Helicopter, which operates an extensive global search and rescue network, Olsen said there is an opportunity to develop a solution with a Canadian stamp on it that the government can take ownership of and help to export. “With the unique relationship between Heli-One and CHC, we clearly see an opportunity to extend this, not just along the path of where the Cormorant goes with Leonardo, but to work with CHC on a range of search and rescue operations they have all around the world.”

  • WEBINAR RECORDING: Do Business with NATO

    April 20, 2023 | Local, Other Defence

    WEBINAR RECORDING: Do Business with NATO

    The Do Business with NATO webinar has been made available on the Canadian Association of Defence and Security Industries (CADSI) website.

  • Renewing Canadian Coast Guard fleet and delivering important services for Canadians

    May 23, 2019 | Local, Naval

    Renewing Canadian Coast Guard fleet and delivering important services for Canadians

    QUÉBEC, May 22, 2019 /CNW/ - Canadians across the country rely on the Canadian Coast Guard to protect mariners and our environment, and to ensure the safe and efficient movement of ships that are key to our vibrant economy. Following an announcement by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau earlier today, the Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos, Minister of Families, Children and Social Development and Member of Parliament for Québec, visited Quai de la Reine in Québec to highlight the Government of Canada's new investments to renew the Canadian Coast Guard fleet and to provide up to 18 new large ships to be built in Canadian shipyards. These new vessels will help the Coast Guard continue to deliver its important services for Canadians. Canada's partners for large ship construction under the National Shipbuilding Strategy (NSS), Irving Shipbuilding of Halifax, Nova Scotia, and Seaspan's Vancouver Shipyards in British Columbia, will build the new ships. Irving Shipbuilding will build two new Arctic and Offshore Patrol Ships, which will be adapted for the Coast Guard to perform a range of critical missions, including Northwest Atlantic Fisheries Organization patrols. Seaspan's Vancouver Shipyards will build up to 16 Multi-Purpose Vessels to support a variety of missions, including light icebreaking, environmental response, and offshore search and rescue. In addition, the Government of Canada is investing in vessel life extensions, refits and maintenance work at shipyards throughout Canada, including in Quebec, so the current Coast Guard fleet can continue delivering critical search and rescue and environmental response services while the new ships are being built. Even with investments in maintenance, Coast Guard ships will eventually reach the end of their service lives, and more ships will be needed to fully renew the Coast Guard fleet. To support future shipbuilding requirements, and attract more talent and good jobs to our communities, the Government of Canada intends to add a third Canadian shipyard as a partner under the NSS. The Government of Canada will move forward with a competitive process to select the third shipyard in the coming months. Quotes "The Canadian Coast Guard saves lives at sea, maintains safe shipping, enables an otherwise ice-choked economy, protects the marine environment and supports Canadian sovereignty and security. With increasing shipping trade and the impacts of climate change already upon us, demands on Canada's Coast Guard will continue to grow. A renewed Coast Guard fleet ensures the confidence of Canadians and the confidence of industries that rely on Coast Guard services to remain competitive." The Honourable Jonathan Wilkinson Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard "The National Shipbuilding Strategy is the right approach to ensure our Coast Guard, Navy and marine activities are supported by modern vessels. In addition to adapting to meet evolving federal shipbuilding requirements, the Strategy is creating jobs, generating benefits and prosperity in communities across Canada, and supporting a sustainable marine sector. We remain firmly committed to the National Shipbuilding Strategy, and will continue to work closely with our shipbuilding partners to continue its success into the future." The Honourable Carla Qualtrough Minister of Public Services and Procurement and Accessibility "The Canadian Coast Guard offers vital services while ensuring safety in the navigation of our waterways, particularly the St. Lawrence River and the Saguenay Fjord. Today's announcement is especially important since the government recognizes that we must add a third shipyard to the National Shipbuilding Strategy. This is a major change that will allow Chantier Davie to participate in the process of selecting a third shipyard in the coming months. Also, the announcement of $2 billion to prolong the life, refit and maintenance of ships is excellent news for shipyards in Quebec, allowing them to obtain numerous contracts." The Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos Minister of Families, Children and Social Development Quick facts The Canadian Coast Guard provides critical search and rescue, environmental response, and icebreaking services in the Central and Arctic region, with more than 1,400 employees, a fleet of 18 ships, as well as 6 helicopters. Search and rescue command centres in the Central and Arctic region (St. Lawrence and Great Lakes sectors) receive more than 5,600 calls annually. In 2018, the Coast Guard's Central and Arctic Environmental Response Program received 1,370 pollution reports, mainly cases of pollution from a vessel. The Canadian Coast Guard also oversees icebreaking operations in the winter along the St. Lawrence River and in the Gulf of St. Lawrence. In the spring, the Coast Guard helps to clear ice on the seaway between Montréal and the Great Lakes, an operation that allows commercial vessels to enter and exit ports in a safe and efficient manner. Its hovercraft help with spring icebreaking on about 15 rivers, mainly in Quebec. Total funding for the 18 new large ships is $15.7 billion, which represents early estimates of project budgets, including construction, logistics and support, contingency, project management and infrastructure costs. The costs of each ship will be announced following contract negotiations. The government will also proceed through a competitive process with the design of a new class of smaller ships, the Mid-Shore Multi-Mission Ship, which will complement the work of the large fleet in shallow areas and deliver mid-shore science activities. Repairs, refits and vessel life extension work will be carried out on the existing fleet until the new ships are delivered, with more than $2 billion to be invested on a competitive basis for this purpose. In addition to funding for shipbuilding, the Government of Canada is also providing $351.3 million to support ongoing Canadian Coast Guard capacity enhancements, such as strengthening management oversight and promoting green innovation. To date, the Government of Canada has awarded more than $11 billion in NSS-related contracts across the country. Of this value, approximately $1.6 billion, or 16%, has been awarded to companies in Quebec.

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