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  • The Air Force will need terminals that work with more than GPS

    December 26, 2019 | International, Aerospace

    The Air Force will need terminals that work with more than GPS

    By: Nathan Strout Congress wants the Air Force to develop a prototype receiver capable of using navigation signals provided by other countries, which could increase the resilience of the military's position, navigation and timing equipment. The primary source of the military's PNT data is the Global Positioning System, a satellite system operated by the Air Force. But with adversaries developing GPS jamming technology and anti-satellite weapons that could potentially knock out one or more of those satellites, Congress wants a receiver capable of utilizing other global navigation satellite systems. The annual defense policy bill, which was passed by both chambers of the legislature this week, calls on the Air Force to develop a prototype receiver capable of utilizing multiple global navigation satellite systems in addition to GPS, such as the European Union's Galileo and Japan's QZSS satellites. The belief is that if the GPS signal is degraded or denied, war fighters could switch to one of those other systems to get the PNT data they need. According to Brian Weeden, director of program planning at the Secure World Foundation, the provision represents an evolution from the Department of Defense's stance on foreign GNSS signals from 15 years ago. “When Galileo was first announced, there was a big debate within the Pentagon about whether to cooperate with the Europeans or try and kill it,” Weeden wrote to C4ISRNET in a Dec. 18 email. “The big driver there was that the Europeans were going to park their protected signal on top of M-code and then sell their service as being unjammable by the Americans (assuming that the US couldn't jam the protected Galileo signal without also interfering with M-Code).” Efforts to kill Galileo ultimately died, Weeden noted, although the EU did move their protected GNSS signal off of M-Code, a more secure military version of the GPS signal that is in development. That concession and the subsequent development of GPS jamming capabilities by Russia and China has changed the thinking on Galileo and other GNSS signals. “It seems the Pentagon has decided that leveraging Galileo will make their PNT capabilities more robust as Russia or China would need to jam both of the separate military signals,” said Weeden. “There's some engineering and technical wizardry still to be worked out to create a good multi-GNSS receiver but it's doable.” Congress wants the Air Force to report on the benefits and risks of each potential GNSS signal, and it fences 90 percent of the funding for the Military GPS User Equipment Program until lawmakers receive that report. https://www.c4isrnet.com/battlefield-tech/space/2019/12/19/the-air-force-will-need-terminals-that-work-with-more-than-gps

  • NATO declares space ‘operational domain,’ but more work remains

    December 26, 2019 | International, Aerospace

    NATO declares space ‘operational domain,’ but more work remains

    By: Bradley Bowman and Andrew Gabel The North Atlantic Treaty Organization recently declared that space is an “operational domain” for the alliance. Though much work remains to actualize an integrated NATO space posture, the affirmation is an important benchmark as NATO scrambles to meet rapidly evolving space and counter-space threats. Today, space-based assets are an Achilles' heel of U.S. military operations, representing a vital enabling mechanism upon which success often depends. In addition, great power adversaries could target civilian space assets to wreak havoc on the homeland in ways that redound far beyond the military realm. America's enemies have taken notice. “Foreign governments are developing capabilities that threaten others' ability to use space,” according to a 2019 U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency assessment. “China and Russia, in particular, have taken steps to challenge the United States.” Russia has spent decades building up its counter-space arsenal, from cutting-edge electronic warfare capabilities to probable ground-launched anti-satellite weapons. Moscow believes that “achieving supremacy in space” can enable victory in future conflicts. China's People's Liberation Army apparently agrees. Beijing has also identified space superiority — and space denial — as essential planks in its modern “informatized” military strategy. Indeed, China “continues to improve its counterspace weapons capabilities and has enacted military reforms to better integrate cyberspace, space, and EW into joint military operations,” the DIA assessment read. These threats are already materializing. Russia is suspected to be behind nearly 10,000 GPS spoofing incidents — affecting over 1,300 civilian navigation systems — according to a report by C4ADS released last June. China has also targeted America's vulnerability in space, notoriously hacking U.S. weather systems and satellite networks in 2014, after testing an anti-satellite weapon in 2007, which generated a cloud of hazardous space debris. Fortunately, NATO is beginning to respond. In June 2019, NATO approved a new space policy, which NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg has described as an acknowledgment of NATO's reliance upon satellites for a range of fundamental military functions. These include, for example, communications, tracking, early warning, surveillance and navigation. Though only a “framework” for now, it is an important start. Today the U.S. shares space situational awareness data with its NATO allies and vice versa. Yet, there is potential for deeper collaboration in additional areas such as hosted payloads on satellites and communications. And while there is disagreement within the alliance with respect to space weaponization, this tension should not prevent the alliance from forging ahead on a number of important initiatives. Examples include general space-asset resilience (including within the electromagnetic spectrum), space-reliant communication, synchronized threat warning, command and control, and surveillance and reconnaissance. A space sensor layer, for instance, will be critical to tracking and intercepting Russian hypersonic missiles, an emerging threat against which there is currently no adequate defense. NATO must take swift action to redress these areas of exposure. But how? To begin with, NATO could publish a publicly available strategy document analogous to the U.S.-produced National Defense Strategy. This would provide multiyear strategic signposts and, because of its public availability, outside accountability. As proposed by others, NATO could also run annual “Space Flag” exercises akin to the current “Red Flag” exercises, which today help hone large-scale, multinational joint air operations. “Space Flag” could likewise be used to systematically develop and refine space contingencies against red cell adversaries. In addition, NATO could explore co-developing NATO-specific space assets from inception, tailored for NATO's mission and permanently integrated into NATO's command structure. The United States and Europe's combined space experience and infrastructure is a comparative advantage vis-a-vis Russia and China. If put to proper use, it could give NATO's space dominance efforts a significant leg up. Finally, NATO could entertain the formation of a combined NATO-operated space assets pool, to which existing current member states could contribute existing capacity. A study conducted by the NATO-sponsored Joint Air Power Competence Centre found it “demonstrably feasible” to complete multination, multi-satellite constellations. The study suggested such an approach could emulate NATO partnerships related to the E-3A, C-17 and A-400M platforms but would be “potentially conducive to additional flexibility and innovation.” The same report cites the Disaster Monitoring Constellation, or DMC, program — an existing multinational satellite-monitoring program used for disaster relief — as an existing example of effectively marshaling space assets. DMC's shared capabilities “reduce cost, enable sharing, and can be upgraded and expanded to address emerging concerns.” So, too, might a NATO constellation. Officially recognizing space as an operational domain and establishing a framework for a unified space policy are laudable steps forward for NATO — necessary to counter both present and future threats. But waking up to the threat is not enough. Now is the time for tangible and urgent collective action to secure the ultimate high ground. Bradley Bowman is senior director for the Center on Military and Political Power with the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, where Andrew Gabel is a research analyst. https://www.defensenews.com/opinion/commentary/2019/12/16/nato-declares-space-operational-domain-but-more-work-remains

  • Canadians won't be allowed to work on portions of new Canadian spy planes because of U.S. security regulations

    December 26, 2019 | Local, Aerospace

    Canadians won't be allowed to work on portions of new Canadian spy planes because of U.S. security regulations

    DAVID PUGLIESE, OTTAWA CITIZEN Canadians won't be allowed to work on parts of the country's new surveillance aircraft because they contain sensitive American-made equipment that can only be handled by U.S. citizens. Maintenance of the equipment, installed in new planes that will be operated by Canadian special forces, will be off-limits both to Canadian military personnel and Canadian aerospace workers. Instead, the gear or the aircraft will have to be sent to the U.S. for maintenance or U.S. government staff will have to travel to Canada to work on the planes. The equipment is subject to strict U.S. security regulations. Canadian special forces are to receive three surveillance aircraft from the U.S. government. The planes are expected to arrive in spring 2022. The Beechcraft King Air planes, to be based at CFB Trenton, will be outfitted with sensors and equipment to intercept cellphone and other electronic transmissions, and track individuals and vehicles on the ground. Canadian special forces and, potentially, other federal government departments and the RCMP will use the aircraft for missions overseas and in Canada. Canada is paying the U.S. government $188 million for the aircraft. The overall value of the project is estimated to be $247 million. The funding includes the acquisition of the aircraft and prime mission equipment from the U.S., and an initial portion of the associated in-service support of the planes. The main contractor is Beechcraft in Wichita, Kan. The maintenance plan for the sensitive equipment that only Americans can work on has yet to be put in place, but the Canadian military is hoping it won't disrupt aircraft operations too much. “Arrangements for the maintenance of certain specialized equipment are not yet in-place; therefore, details and costs are not known at this time,” Public Services and Procurement Canada spokeswoman Stéfanie Hamel noted in an email. “However, Canada will ensure the sustainment strategy supports continued operations while maintenance is underway.” The government has not provided details on what parts of the aircraft are covered by the U.S. security regulations. Another in-service support contract, for the aircraft themselves and related mechanical equipment, will also be put in place. Canadians will be able to do that work. A request for proposals from Canadian firms for that work is expected to be issued in January or February. The contract would cover maintenance and support over a 20-year period. Canadian aerospace firms had originally wanted to provide the aircraft and on-board equipment, and in 2013 a number of companies responded when the federal government initially outlined its need for such planes. But the Canadian military decided it needed the planes more quickly than they believed Canadian companies could deliver. The military was also concerned there could be delays if the on-board sensor equipment used was subject to U.S. security regulations. The Canadian companies, however, felt they could meet the military's needs with Canadian-made equipment that wouldn't be covered by U.S. regulations, allowing Canada more flexibility. But the Canadian government instead opted for the American-made solution, which had also been used by Canadian special forces in Afghanistan. The agreement for the aircraft was finalized on April 26, 2019 with the U.S. government. Canadian special forces personnel recently trained with similar surveillance aircraft operated by the U.S. In mid-November members of 427 Special Operations Aviation Squadron and the Canadian Special Operations Regiment, both based in Petawawa, conducted an exercise supported by one of the American aircraft. The U.S. plane operated from the Ottawa airport, and flights occurred between Petawawa and Mansfield-et-Pontefract, Que., according to Canadian special forces. “The intent was to conduct a training and needs assessment to ensure the appropriate personnel are trained and equipped to support the arrival of three Beechcraft King Air 350ER as part of the command's Manned Airborne Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance project,” Maj. Amber Bineau, spokesperson for Canadian Special Operations Forces Command, said in an email. https://ottawacitizen.com/news/national/defence-watch/canadians-wont-be-allowed-to-work-on-portions-of-new-canadian-spy-planes-because-of-u-s-security-regulations

  • Deal allows Canada to continue operating aging RCAF VIP aircraft in U.S. airspace

    December 26, 2019 | Local, Aerospace

    Deal allows Canada to continue operating aging RCAF VIP aircraft in U.S. airspace

    DAVID PUGLIESE, OTTAWA CITIZEN Two RCAF Challenger aircraft are too old to be upgraded with the modern systems required to meet new regulations for civilian airspace. Canada has cut a deal with the United States to allow two of the military's aging Challenger jets to continue to operate in American airspace despite not having the required new air traffic control equipment on board. The two Royal Canadian Air Force Challenger aircraft, used for VIP transportation and other military duties, are too old to be upgraded with the modern systems required to meet new flight regulations for civilian airspace. The new rules come into effect for the U.S., Mexico, Columbia, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates on Jan. 1. For most of Europe, those rules will apply starting June 7. In Canada, the rules are being phased in between Jan. 1, 2021, and Jan. 1, 2023. The aviation rules call for increased reliance on data links, new air traffic control surveillance technologies and satellite-based navigation. The regulatory changes are being implemented worldwide and are commonly referred to as ADS-B. Canada had been in ongoing negotiations with the U.S. government and its Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) over the continued use of the Challengers in U.S. airspace. “The RCAF has confirmed with the United States Department of Defense and the FAA that we will continue to operate our aircraft in U.S. airspace under a Memorandum of Understanding,” Department of National Defence spokesman Dan Le Bouthillier said. “This interim measure will allow the RCAF to continue operating its Challenger aircraft in U.S. airspace with established processes and is a reflection of our strong relationship with our American partners.” The memorandum covers a five-year period. “Since two of our Challenger aircraft are not ADS-B compliant, they may still be subject to suboptimal flight routings in parts of the U.S., depending on location, density of air traffic and other factors,” Le Bouthillier added. That could mean, for instance, that the Canadian aircraft might need to be rerouted or take a different flight path if the level of air traffic in an area is high. The RCAF operates four Challenger jets, with the two more modern aircraft already outfitted with the new equipment. The Liberal government has been reluctant to buy new aircraft since it is expected Conservative MPs will try to score political points about planes being purchased for VIPs such as the prime minister before new fighter jets are bought for the RCAF. When the Liberals were in opposition, they criticized the Conservative government's use of VIP aircraft. Some within the RCAF support either replacing the two older Challenger jets or purchasing a new fleet of four aircraft, noting the planes are also used for military missions such as medical transportation of injured personnel. The older Challenger planes are not the only aircraft in the VIP fleet that have faced problems. The RCAF's specialized VIP aircraft used by the prime minister won't be flying until August 2020 because of an accident this fall. On Oct. 19, while being towed into a hangar at 8 Wing Trenton by contracted maintenance personnel, the Polaris aircraft was significantly damaged when it rolled into the back wall of a hangar. Engineering teams from Airbus, the original manufacturer of the aircraft, and General Electric, which made the engines, assessed the damages and have provided an initial repair plan. “We do not have sufficient detail about potential costs, or the attribution of those costs, to provide any detail at this time,” RCAF spokesman Lt.-Col. Steve Neta stated in an earlier email. Neta said the RCAF was confident it could meet travel needs of the prime minister and other VIPs. The RCAF has other aircraft that can be used for VIP transport, including other Polaris planes and as the CC-144 Challenger fleet, depending on the requirements, Neta added. In early December, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau used another Polaris aircraft to fly to a NATO summit in the United Kingdom. After that plane arrived, though, problems were discovered in one engine and the aircraft was deemed temporarily “unserviceable” while it was repaired. Another RCAF Polaris, which had taken Governor General Julie Payette to Europe for a tour, was instead used to transpot Trudeau and government officials back to Canada. https://ottawacitizen.com/news/national/defence-watch/deal-allows-canada-to-continue-operating-aging-rcaf-vip-aircraft-in-u-s-airspace

  • Canada's new frigates could take part in ballistic missile defence — if Ottawa says yes

    December 26, 2019 | Local, Naval

    Canada's new frigates could take part in ballistic missile defence — if Ottawa says yes

    Murray Brewster Canada's new frigates are being designed with ballistic missile defence in mind, even though successive federal governments have avoided taking part in the U.S. program. When they slip into the water sometime in the mid- to late-2020s, the new warships probably won't have the direct capability to shoot down incoming intercontinental rockets. But the decisions made in their design allow them to be converted to that role, should the federal government ever change course. The warships are based upon the British Type 26 layout and are about to hit the drawing board. Their radar has been chosen and selected missile launchers have been configured to make them easy and cost-effective to upgrade. Vice-Admiral Art McDonald said the Lockheed Martin-built AN/SPY-7 radar system to be installed on the new frigates is cutting-edge. It's also being used on land now by the U.S. and Japan for detecting ballistic missiles. "It's a great piece, and that is what we were looking for in terms of specification," McDonald told CBC News in a year-end interview. Selecting the radar system for the new frigates was seen as one of the more important decisions facing naval planners because it has to stay operational and relevant for decades to come — even as new military threats and technologies emerge. McDonald said positive feedback from elsewhere in the defence industry convinced federal officials that they had made the right choice. "Even from those that weren't producing an advanced kind of radar, they said this is the capability you need," he said. The whole concept of ballistic missile defence (BMD) remains a politically touchy topic. BMD — "Star Wars," to its critics — lies at the centre of a policy debate the Liberal government has tried to avoid at all costs. In 2017, Canada chose not to join the BMD program. That reluctance to embrace BMD dates back to the political bruising Paul Martin's Liberal government suffered in 2004-05, when the administration of then-U.S. president George W. Bush leaned heavily on Ottawa to join the program. In the years since, both the House of Commons and Senate defence committees have recommended the federal government relent and sign on to BMD — mostly because of the emerging missile threat posed by rogue nations such as North Korea. Liberals reluctant to talk BMD The question of whether to join BMD is expected to form part of the deliberations surrounding the renewal of NORAD — an undertaking the Liberal government has acknowledged but not costed out as part of its 2017 defence policy. Missile defence continues to be a highly fraught concept within the federal government. Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan made a point of downplaying a CBC News story last summer that revealed how the Canadian and U.S. militaries had laid down markers for what the new NORAD could look like, pending sign-off by both Washington and Ottawa. Asked about Sajjan's response, a former senior official in the minister's office said it raised the spectre of "Star Wars" — not a topic the Liberal government was anxious to discuss ahead of last fall's election. The current government may not want to talk about it, but the Canadian navy and other NATO countries are grappling with the technology. Practice makes perfect Last spring, a Canadian patrol frigate, operating with 12 other alliance warships, tracked and shot down a supersonic target meant to simulate a ballistic missile. A French frigate also scored a separate hit. For the last two years, NATO warships have practiced linking up electronically in defensive exercises to shoot down both mock ballistic and cruise missiles. A Canadian frigate in the 2017 iteration of the exercise destroyed a simulated cruise missile. At the recent Halifax Security Forum, there was a lot of talk about the proliferation of missile technology. One defence expert told the forum Canadian military planners have been paying attention to the issue for a long time. The frigate design is an important example. "I think what they've tried to do is keep the door open by some of the decisions they've made, recognizing that missile proliferation is a significant concern," said Dave Perry, of the Canadian Global Affairs Institute. "They haven't shut the door on doing that and I think that is smart." Opponents of BMD, meanwhile, have long argued the fixation by the U.S. and NATO on ballistic missile defence is fuelling instability and giving Russia and China reasons to co-operate in air and missile defence. Speaking before a Commons committee in 2017, Peggy Mason, president of the foreign and defence policy think-tank Rideau Institute, said the United States's adversaries have concluded that building more offensive systems is cheaper than investing in defensive ones. "The American BMD system also acts as a catalyst to nuclear weapons modernization, as Russia and China seek not only increased numbers of nuclear weapons but also increased manoeuvrability," said Mason, Canada's ambassador for disarmament from 1989 to 1994, testifying on Sept. 14, 2017. She also warned that "there would be significant financial costs to Canadian participation" in the U.S. BMD program "given American demands" — even prior to Donald Trump's presidency — "that allies pay their 'fair share' of the collective defence burden." https://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/frigate-ballistic-missile-defence-canada-1.5407226

  • Canada's new Arctic patrol ships could be tasked with hurricane relief

    December 26, 2019 | Local, Naval

    Canada's new Arctic patrol ships could be tasked with hurricane relief

    Murray Brewster · The Canadian navy will take possession of two Arctic Offshore Patrol Ships in the new year — and it looks like they'll be spending as much time in the sunny south as they do in the Far North. Vice-Admiral Art McDonald, the commander of the navy, told CBC News recently that military planners see the ships playing a role in delivering disaster relief in the Caribbean, where hurricanes have been increasing in size and destructive power. "We can see a great opportunity to use this hurricane response as we go forward," McDonald said in a year-end interview. "Ironically, the Arctic offshore patrol vessel will find itself equally spending its time between our Far North and down south in support of our securing the continent." The first of the long-awaited patrol ships, HMCS Harry DeWolf, conducted sea trials a few weeks ago under the supervision of its builder, Irving Shipbuilding of Halifax. It's due to be handed over to the navy in the spring, McDonald said. Some members of the ship's inaugural crew took part in the shakedown to familiarize themselves with the new vessels. "We've completed our training and we're ready to take it," McDonald said. A second ship, HMCS Margaret Brooke, will be delivered to the navy in the fall. Irving's Halifax Shipyard originally was slated to deliver the Harry DeWolf in 2018, but the deadline was pushed ahead to the end of 2019 and then pushed again into 2020. That new timeline puts the date of delivery nearly five years after construction started. McDonald said there are always delays when the first ships in a new class of vessels are introduced and the navy is satisfied it will receive fully functional, capable ships. "We know that the lessons learned from tackling those production challenges, they're being folded into the second ship and into the third ship," he said. Major component blocks of the third ship are being assembled at the Halifax yard now, and company officials, speaking recently on background, said production has become exponentially more efficient since the completion of the second vessel. Steel for the fourth ship is being cut and shaped. The brainchild of the former Conservative government, the Arctic Offshore Patrol Ships originally were pitched 15 years ago as three armed heavy icebreakers for the Far North. That morphed into a plan — originally pegged at $3.1 billion — to build eight light icebreakers. The number was cut to five (with the possible addition of a sixth) by the time the program got underway. A little more than a year ago, the Liberal government confirmed it would build a sixth ship for the navy and construct two others for the Canadian Coast Guard. Irving is the prime contractor for the navy's new frigate program; some expressed concerns that the company would be stuck with a gap in production between the frigates and the patrol ships. The addition of the three new ships promised by the Liberals all but closes that construction gap, company officials acknowledged. It also added $800 million to the program's revised $3.5 billion budget. CBC News recently was given access to the Harry DeWolf as contractors completed last-minute work. Compared with previous Canadian warships, its cabins and work areas are spacious and high-tech. McDonald said he believes the versatile design will make the ship useful, not only for sovereignty and security patrols, but also for research projects. "We can bring on scientists," he said. "We can bring on teams focused around missions that are larger than the navy as we go forward." https://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/arctic-offshore-patrol-ships-frigates-irving-canadian-navy-1.5404650

  • Industry briefing questions Ottawa's choice of guns, defence systems for new frigates

    December 26, 2019 | Local, Naval

    Industry briefing questions Ottawa's choice of guns, defence systems for new frigates

    Murray Brewster The Department of National Defence has faced some tough, pointed questions about whether it has chosen the right radar, main gun and close air defence systems for the navy's new frigates, which will soon hit the drawing board. An unsolicited defence industry slide deck presentation, obtained by CBC News, questions each of those key components in the planned $60 billion modernization of the fleet. It was circulated earlier this year and put in front of the senior federal officials in charge of the program. The defence industry briefing presentation points out that the Lockheed Martin-built AN/SPY-7 radar system — an updated, more sophisticated version of an existing U.S. military system — has not been installed and certified on any warship. A land-based version of the system is being produced and fielded for the Japanese government. The briefing calls it "an unproven radar" system that will be "costly to support," and claims it comes at a total price tag of $1 billion for all of the new ships, which the undated presentation describes as "an unnecessary expenditure." Lockheed Martin Canada and British-based BAE Systems Inc. were chosen earlier this year by the Liberal government to design and help build 15 new warships to replace the country's existing patrol frigates — the backbone of the navy. Old guns, inadequate defence systems? The briefing raises concerns about DND's choice of a main gun for the frigates — a 127 millimetre MK 45 described by the briefing as 30-year-old technology that will soon be obsolete and cannot fire precision-guided shells. The briefing also singles out as inadequate the Sea Ceptor close air defence system, which is meant to shoot down incoming, ship-killing missiles. Given the Canadian government's past missteps with military procurement — buying used equipment or opting for developmental systems that take years to get into service — a defence expert said the caution being expressed by the industry now is legitimate, but in some respects it's coming years too late. "There's a risk anytime you try to do something new for the first time," said Dave Perry, an analyst who specializes in procurement at the Canadian Global Affairs Institute. The navy struggled for years to get second-hand British submarines up to Canadian standards. The air force also sat on its hands while the manufacturer of the CH-148 Cyclone helicopters worked out all of the developmental bugs. The presentation, Perry said, essentially tries to re-litigate decisions made by federal officials over three years ago, when the government's request for proposals was mapped out. 'The ship has sailed' "This is calling into question whether the government set down [technical] markers in an appropriate spot or not," he said. "There is always the possibility that these issues can be revisited, but I think at this point the ship has sailed because a competition was run, it did produce a preferred bidder." The pressure to get the new frigate design right is enormous, given the enormous expense involved and the changing nature of warfare, Perry added. The briefing presentation apparently was circulated by a rival radar-maker which was not part of the bidding process. Federal officials declined to name the company. Raytheon Canada Ltd. and its U.S. parent are among the biggest electronics and radar manufacturers in the world. A request for comment sent to their international business division went unanswered last week. 'We did our homework' The concerns in the briefing were presented last summer to: Pat Finn, former head of materiel at DND; Andre Fillion, the assistant deputy minister of defence purchasing at Public Services and Procurement Canada; and Rear Admiral Casper Donovan, the navy's director general for "future ship capability." DND confirmed the existence of the briefing presentation but refused to say who received it or which defence contractor was pushing it. "It is not uncommon for companies to present unsolicited material to our department when they are unsuccessful in a competitive process," spokesman Andrew McKelvey said recently. "We do not comment on these unsolicited documents as they are provided outside the scope of our established procurement process." Both the department and the commander of the navy stand behind the decisions that were made and the systems chosen for the new frigate. "We did our homework. We talked to other navies. We engaged our allies," said Vice-Admiral Art McDonald, who added DND was aware of other options on the market. Delivering the warships on schedule and on budget in the mid-2020s is a constant preoccupation in the department, he said. He would not say whether the choice of radar system might mean a delay in delivery. A senior executive at Lockheed Martin Canada said the company's radar system is identical to one selected by the U.S. government and other countries. Much of the system's hardware, and some of its software, have been used on U.S. Aegis-type guided missile destroyers and cruisers. The difference between the radar system chosen for Canada's frigates and conventional systems is in its array: the Lockheed Martin system sweeps around and above the vessel, rather than only horizontally. "The work that remains is to integrate it into the ship and integrate it into the ship's combat system," said Gary Fudge, general manager and vice president of Lockheed Martin Canada. "We worked for two years with BAE during the proposal stage to optimize the ship design with this particular radar." https://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/frigate-gun-radar-canadian-navy-1.5405054

  • Canadian Forces had valuable ‘insights’ in Afghanistan, defence minister says following damning U.S. report

    December 20, 2019 | Local, Other Defence

    Canadian Forces had valuable ‘insights’ in Afghanistan, defence minister says following damning U.S. report

    By Charlie Pinkerton. Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan says Canadian Forces deployed to Afghanistan contributed useful insights to American forces, whose past military operations in the country have drawn new scrutiny following The Washington Post's publication of the so-called Afghanistan Papers. The documents obtained and published by the Post are the product of hundreds of interviews carried out by the special inspector general for Afghanistan reconstruction (SIGAR). SIGAR was mandated to complete a series of reports exploring the effectiveness of its nearly two-decade, close to trillion-dollar mission that it began as a retaliation against al-Qaeda for the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. The documents fought for in court by the Post include notes, transcripts and audio recordings that the subjects had been promised would not be made public by the government. They provide a thorough look at the frustrations and concerns of top U.S. brass and a lack of understanding of the conflict by the American military and its government. One of the revelations of the Afghanistan Papers is the that as the conflict continued, top American military officials considered it an unwinnable conflict. Sajjan completed three Afghanistan tours, where he worked in intelligence before working directly with top American troops as an adviser. In giving his take on how the Canadian perspective compared to that of the Americans during the mission, Sajjan said the Canadian Armed Forces had a better understanding of the realities of the conflict than its closest allies. READ MORE: A year-end Q&A with Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan “I would say the insights the Canadians provided were actually very useful. That's one point that I'm trying to get across here, and I appreciate the Americans coming out and talking about this now,” Sajjan said. “Canadians were providing a very good perspective, very early on, to have a much more, I would say, accurate account of what is happening,” One passage the Post highlighted from the thousands of pages of documents to underscore the discontent with the conflict by U.S. officials was an interview with Douglas Lute, a former top army general who became an adviser on the Afghan war in the White House. “We were devoid of a fundamental understanding of Afghanistan — we didn't know what we were doing,” Lute said. “What are we trying to do here? We didn't have the foggiest notion of what we were undertaking.” Sajjan said good decisions were made only with an “accurate” and “good understanding” of the Afghanistan conflict. From 2001 to 2014, 40,000 Canadians served in Afghanistan. There were 158 Canadian soldiers killed. On top of its military effort, Canada has provided more than $3 billion in international assistance to Afghanistan since 2001. In talking about Canada's operations in Afghanistan, Sajjan also defended well-known Canadian-led aspects of the mission, such as the Operational Mentoring and Liaison Team (OMLT, but known colloquially as omelette) and its stabilization-focused whole-of-government approach to the conflict. “What I'm trying to say here is that the work that Canada did there was highly valued and I appreciate other allies coming out with different perspectives,” Sajjan said. https://ipolitics.ca/2019/12/19/canadian-forces-had-valuable-insights-in-afghanistan-defence-minister-says-following-damning-u-s-report/

  • Three ministers to work on options for creation of the new Defence Procurement Canada

    December 20, 2019 | Local, Aerospace, Naval, Land, C4ISR, Security

    Three ministers to work on options for creation of the new Defence Procurement Canada

    DAVID PUGLIESE, OTTAWA CITIZEN Procurement minister Anita Anand has been told by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau that she will lead the push to create a new defence procurement organization. That will be done with the support of Harjit Sajjan, the Minister of National Defence and Bernadette Jordan, the Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard. They will work together “in bringing forward analyses and options for the creation of Defence Procurement Canada, to ensure that Canada's biggest and most complex National Defence and Canadian Coast Guard procurement projects are delivered on time and with greater transparency to Parliament,” according to the mandate letter issued by Trudeau to Anand. “This priority is to be developed concurrently with ongoing procurement projects and existing timelines.” No timelines were provided for when the options for the new organization are needed. In addition, there are no details on when Defence Procurement Canada would be expected to be up and running. The organization is being created to deal with ongoing problems Canada faces in purchasing equipment for the Canadian Forces and the Canadian Coast Guard. https://ottawacitizen.com/news/national/defence-watch/three-ministers-to-work-on-options-for-creation-of-the-new-defence-procurement-canada

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