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March 24, 2021 | Local, Aerospace

RCAF implements new bio-containment capability to transport infectious patients

February 1, 2021 Royal Canadian Air Force Public Affairs Click on the photo under “Image Gallery” to see more photos.  With the world still dealing with the threats posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF), in collaboration with Canadian Forces Health Services Group, is implementing a new bio-containment capability for the…

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  • Fire Rescue Victoria sets up new drone unit

    February 1, 2021 | Local, Aerospace, Security

    Fire Rescue Victoria sets up new drone unit

    By Justin Hendry v Drones give firies new imaging capabilities. Fire Rescue Victoria (FRV) has set up a new drone unit to help firefighters better monitor fires and other emergencies from the air. The new aviation unit, which will initially consist of a squadron of four drones, became operational last month. Staffed by four Civil Aviation Safety Authority-qualified drone pilots and other specialists, the unit will support FRV across the state from its base in Melbourne suburb of Burnley. It builds on FRV’s existing remotely piloted aircraft system (RPAS) unit, which consists of drones from the former Metropolitan Fire Brigade (MFB) and Country Fire Authority (CFA). MFB – which was the first fire and rescue services in Australia to develop a RPAS capability in 2011 – had at least nine drones before the merger with the CFA last year. However, unlike the previous drones, the new squadron will be able to stay in the air for up to 30 minutes and can withstand difficult wind conditions. They will also be able to carry both thermal and optical cameras at the same time, whereas the existing RPAS fleet can only carry a single camera. Having both thermal imaging and live streaming cameras will allow the drones to capture better quality footage to support firefighting efforts, the government said. “The technology means firefighters can better monitor fires and other incidents from the air, and get a fuller picture of complex fires, ultimately increasing community safety and contributing to saving lives,” it said. Since the unit became operational, the drones have already been used to support the FRV response to a recent industrial fire in the Melbourne suburb of Laverton North. Police and emergency services minister Lisa Neville said the unit and four new drones will “significantly add to [FRV’s] firefighting arsenal”. “Thanks to this highly specialist aviation unit and these new highly specialised drones, our emergency services will have greater access to critical information and intelligence to efficiently contain fires, respond to emergencies and save lives,” she said.

  • Feds give Lockheed Martin first shot at $60-billion warship contract

    October 21, 2018 | Local, Naval

    Feds give Lockheed Martin first shot at $60-billion warship contract

    By Canadian Press OTTAWA — The federal government is giving U.S. defence giant Lockheed Martin the first crack at inking a contract to design Canada’s $60-billion fleet of new warships. Government officials say Lockheed’s proposed design beat out two rival submissions in what has been a long and extremely sensitive competition to design replacements for the navy’s entire frigate and destroyer fleets. While the announcement marked the start of an important new phase in the largest and most expensive military purchase in Canadian history, it could also prove to be extremely controversial as some had questioned why the bid was allowed in the first place. Still, Lockheed executives may not be popping the champagne just yet. Negotiators for both sides as well as Halifax-based Irving Shipbuilding, which will actually build the vessels, must now work out details — including the final cost — before an actual contract is awarded. The stakes will be high for both sides, with hundreds of millions of dollars in play as well as pressure to make up for lost time as numerous delays — including in the design competition — have pushed the schedule for construction. Irving has warned that it could be forced to lay off hundreds of employees if work on the warships is not ready to start by the time it finishes building the navy’s new Arctic patrol ships in 2021 or 2022. The Defence Department’s head of military procurement, Patrick Finn, acknowledged the need for urgency. But he also noted the need for care as whatever decisions are taken during the negotiations could have ramifications on the navy and taxpayers for decades. “So it behooves us to stop and make sure we do the final checks in all of the areas,” Finn said this week in an interview. Lockheed’s victory is likely to be contentious as the federal government had originally said it wanted a “mature design,” which was widely interpreted as meaning a vessel that has already been built and used by another navy. But the Type 26 frigate, upon which Lockheed’s proposal is based, is only now being built by the British government and has not been used on operations. The federal government has reserved the right to walk away from the talks — if Lockheed drives too hard a bargain — and negotiate with the second-place bidder, which was not identified. However, officials hope that won’t be necessary and a contract will be signed this winter. “We have notional time frames allocated,” said Andre Fillion, who oversees military and naval projects with Public Services and Procurement Canada. “And should everything go according to plan, we’re looking at winter 2019 for the award of the contract. If it doesn’t go according to plan, then we go to Plan B — and obviously that would take longer.” Lockheed’s design was up against a pitch by U.S.-based defence company Alion, which proposed a design based on a Dutch frigate, and Spanish firm Navantia’s proposal, which was modelled on a frigate used by the Spanish navy. One of the big questions heading into the negotiations will be how much of Lockheed’s design will need to be changed to reflect the navy’s needs and how much the navy will have to shift its requirements because changing the design will take more time and money. Government negotiators are also facing a potential battle over the amount of intellectual property that Lockheed will be required to hand over, which Ottawa wants so it can operate and maintain the vessels on its own after they are built. Companies had originally been told that the winner would be required to turn over the full blueprints, but after significant resistance the two sides agreed the matter would be negotiated before a contract is awarded. Officials remain focused on getting “the intellectual property access and rights that we need to not only build the ship but also to operate and maintain it for its entire life cycle,” Fillion said. — Follow @leeberthiaume on Twitter

  • PAL Aerospace wins government aerial surveillance contract

    March 5, 2019 | Local, Aerospace, C4ISR

    PAL Aerospace wins government aerial surveillance contract

    PAL Aerospace is pleased to be awarded a contract to provide aerial surveillance for Canada’s inland, coastal and offshore waters on behalf of the Government of Canada. The expanded contract, delivered on behalf of Fisheries and Oceans Canada, covers an initial five-year period and includes opportunities for PAL Aerospace to earn contract extensions that increase the life of the agreement to 10 years. PAL Aerospace has been providing this critical service under contract to the government since 1990. “This contract award confirms the Government of Canada’s confidence in our company’s ability to execute the most advanced maritime surveillance program of its type in the world,” said PAL CEO Brian Chafe. “The program is an excellent example of the successful public-private partnership that continues to drive innovation and support employment in Canada.” Fisheries and Oceans Canada is responsible for the monitoring, control, and surveillance of Canada’s fisheries waters, as well as certain international areas, such as the Northwest Atlantic Fisheries Organization Regulatory Area, and the North Pacific. “PAL Aerospace’s work on behalf of the Government of Canada will ensure highly skilled employment and important economic benefits from coast to coast,” said Jake Trainor, chief operating officer of PAL Aerospace. “From St. John’s to Campbell River, our operations and employees look forward to delivering this important work for Canadians.” PAL Aerospace’s critical role in the delivery of Canada’s aerial surveillance program provides the Government of Canada with the capability to monitor domestic and foreign vessel activities and detect potential violations. The program also contributes significantly to pollution surveillance, environmental monitoring, and marine security for a number of other federal departments and agencies. “This contract is a significant investment in the Newfoundland and Labrador economy that will support our bright future in the community,” said Derek Scott, vice-president of Program Development for PAL Aerospace. “Ensuring we meet Fisheries and Oceans Canada’s service expectations for this contract will push us to improve and expand our already significant core capabilities. In doing so, PAL Aerospace will be better positioned to continue developing and delivering value added Canadian technology and innovative practices to domestic and export markets.” Under the new contract, PAL Aerospace will provide Fisheries and Oceans Canada with service through a combination of Beechcraft King Air B200 medium-range aircraft and Dash 8-100 series long-range aircraft, all associated ground support and other related services. The aircraft will operate from bases in St. John’s, N.L.; Halifax, N.S.; and Campbell River, B.C.

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