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  • Like it or not, the U.S. needs to be a key part of Canada’s next-gen jet procurement process

    May 13, 2019 | Local, Aerospace

    Like it or not, the U.S. needs to be a key part of Canada’s next-gen jet procurement process

    ELINOR SLOAN, CONTRIBUTED TO THE GLOBE AND MAIL RICK BOWMER/THE ASSOCIATED PRESS Elinor Sloan, professor of international relations in the department of political science at Carleton University, is a fellow at the Canadian Global Affairs Institute. For a bid to buy a plane designed to cut quickly through the skies, Ottawa's pursuit of a future-generation fighter jet has been a long and torturous slog. In 1997, Jean Chrétien's Liberal government joined the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program, a U.S.-led initiative conceived as a new way for allies to work together to design, develop and produce a fifth-generation fighter aircraft. In 2006, Ottawa signed a formal memorandum of understanding that gave Canada and the other eight partner nations the exclusive right to compete for contracts to produce such aircraft and, since 2007, Canadian companies have won more than US$1.3-billion in defence contracts related to the Joint Strike Fighter. With a production line that will be operating at full capacity starting this year, and is expected to produce about 10 times as many aircraft as exist today over the next few decades, this number promises to grow substantially. Meanwhile, Canada's nearly 40-year-old fleet of fighter jets – the CF-18s – continues to age. In 2010, the Harper government shelved its plan to sole-source buy the Joint Strike Fighter to replace them after a public outcry and a damning auditor-general's report that found significant weaknesses in the process used by the Department of National Defence. Then, when the Liberals took office in 2015 and promised an open and fair competition to replace the CF-18s, it also banned the F-35 from bidding – two contradictory positions. The Trudeau government quietly dropped that ban last year, and pre-qualified four companies to bid on a contract worth at least $15-billion: Sweden's Saab Gripen, Britain's Airbus Eurofighter, the U.S.'s Boeing F/A-18 Super Hornet and, yes, Lockheed Martin's F-35 Joint Strike Fighter. According to letters released last week, though, the U.S. government threatened to pull the Lockheed Martin F-35 from consideration last year over Ottawa's insistence that Canada receive industrial benefits from the winning bid. In response, Ottawa relaxed its requirement on Thursday: Where bidders once had to commit to spend 100 per cent of the value of the aircraft's acquisition and sustainment in Canada, bids will now only lose points in a three-category scoring system in the review process, instead. With such exhausting twists and incompatible statements, it's little surprise that it took three and a half years of the government's four-year mandate just to get to the formal request-for-proposal stage. But there is a way out of this morass: pursuing a back-to-basics focus on why we need this aircraft and what we need it to do. To do so, we must focus on the proposed jets' promised technical capabilities, which are paramount, and rightly weighted the highest of that three-category scoring system. The second category is cost, which of course is important to any government. The third is creating and sustaining a highly skilled work force within our own borders, a goal enshrined in Canada's industrial trade benefits (ITB) policy, which requires a winning bid to guarantee it will make investments in Canada equal to the value of the contract. Each bid is scored by these three categories, weighed 60-20-20, respectively. However, the Joint Strike Fighter program, which Canada has spent millions to join, does not fit neatly into the ITB policy. In those letters last year, the Pentagon and Lockheed Martin pointed out that Canada's ITB terms are inconsistent with – and indeed prohibited by – the memorandum of understanding Canada signed in 2006, which says partners cannot impose industrial compensation measures. The solution reached on Thursday allows that memorandum to be obeyed, but since Canada will still give higher grades to bids that follow its ITB policy, questions remain as to whether the playing field has really been levelled. All of this is important because of the growing competition between the major powers. Russian bombers and fighters, for example, are increasingly testing the boundaries of Canadian and U.S. airspace. More than ever, the focus needs to be interoperability with the United States, working together on NORAD and helping NATO allies in Europe. As a flying command-and-control platform, rather than a mere fighter, Canada's next-generation jet must work with the United States' most sophisticated systems, and include a seamless and secure communications capability – that is a critical and non-negotiable criterion. Indeed, as DND has said,the United States will need to certify the winning jet meets Washington's security standards. Some may question the federal government's decision to relax the ITB rules, and to grant this certification sign-off. But whatever Canada buys must be able to address threats to us and to our allies until well into the 2060s. Our relationship with the United States, both in terms of geopolitics and military technology, is crucial. Despite our trade tiff, the United States remains our most important strategic partner. Canada can either take an active part in our own security, or leave it to the United States. https://www.theglobeandmail.com/opinion/article-the-us-needs-to-be-a-key-part-of-canadas-next-gen-jet-procurement/

  • Government of Canada awards contract for new space-based search and rescue technology

    May 13, 2019 | Local, Aerospace, C4ISR, Security

    Government of Canada awards contract for new space-based search and rescue technology

    SAINTE-ANNE-DE-BELLEVUE, QC, May 10, 2019 /CNW/ - Through Canada's defence policy, Strong, Secure, Engaged, the Government of Canada is ensuring that our women and men in uniform have the equipment they need to do their jobs and to protect Canadians. Today, the Honourable Marc Garneau, Minister of Transport and Francis Scarpaleggia, Member of Parliament for Lac-Saint-Louis, on behalf of the Honourable Carla Qualtrough, Minister of Public Services and Procurement and Accessibility, announced that the Government of Canada has awarded a $39-million contract to Macdonald, Dettwiler and Associates Corporation (MDA) of Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue, Quebec, to design, build and deliver 10 search and rescue repeaters for National Defence's Medium Earth Orbit Search and Rescue (MEOSAR) system. This contract will help create or maintain 44 jobs over the length of the contract, which will stimulate economic growth in Quebec. Deployed on a satellite, a repeater detects signals from distress beacons across the country and along Canada's coastlines and relays them to a ground station. As part of an agreement between National Defence and the United States Air Force (USAF), the Canadian repeaters will be hosted on USAF's next-generation GPS satellites. The MEOSAR system is expected to deliver improved response times for search and rescue activities and increase accuracy to locate people, ships or planes in distress. It will replace Canada's current search and rescue system, which has been in place for several decades. Quotes "Our Government is committed to providing the Canadian Armed Forces with cutting-edge technology for search and rescue operations to save those in distress in Canada. These repeaters will be designed and built with homegrown Canadian aerospace expertise, supporting our aerospace sector and stimulating economic growth in Quebec." The Honourable Marc Garneau Minister of Transport "Through this investment, our government is supporting the Canadian Armed Forces in their important work to help save people's lives both on land and sea. The contract with MDA will also help sustain economic growth in our community with 44 good middle-class jobs. ." Francis Scarpaleggia, Member of Parliament for Lac-Saint-Louis "This project builds on the successful partnership between National Defence and MDA to develop innovative solutions that are vital to Canada's sovereignty and security. Once qualified as operational, this system will dramatically improve both the speed and location accuracy for detecting beacons, and as a result, greatly enhance the coordination and dispatch of search and rescue teams to help people in distress." Mike Greenley Group President of Macdonald, Dettwiler and Associates Corporation Quick facts The Government of Canada's defence policy, Strong, Secure, Engaged, reaffirms Canada's commitment to invest in our military, and sustain our search and rescue capabilities. Alongside the Canadian Coast Guard, the Canadian Armed Forces responds to more than 9,000 search and rescue calls annually, approximately 1,000 of which result in the launching of search and rescue air assets. The contract will run until February 1, 2029. The government may extend the contract to August 1, 2034, if it elects to acquire an additional 12 repeaters. The contract was awarded following an open, fair and transparent competitive procurement process, which included a fairness monitor who observed the procurement process. https://www.newswire.ca/news-releases/government-of-canada-awards-contract-for-new-space-based-search-and-rescue-technology-832448437.html

  • New Canadian fighter jets will need U.S. certification: DND

    May 13, 2019 | Local, Aerospace

    New Canadian fighter jets will need U.S. certification: DND

    THE CANADIAN PRESS American officials will need to certify the fighter jet Canada buys at the end of a multibillion-dollar procurement that's started and stopped and started again for more than a decade, ensuring that it's fit to plug into the U.S.'s highest-security intelligence systems. But, says the Department of National Defence's top procurement official, they will not get to decide which plane replaces Canadian military's aging CF-18s. “Ultimately when we select, when we are into the detailed design, at some point, yes, the U.S. will have a role to play in ultimate certification,” Patrick Finn, the Defence Department's assistant deputy minister of materiel, told The Canadian Press. “But the Americans won't be sitting with us with the evaluation and doing that type of work. It will be us.” Some industry sources are nonetheless worried the U.S. could use the certification requirement to block Canada from choosing a non-American plane, particularly given the Trump administration's approach to trade. The federal government this week laid out the latest iteration of its plan for the $19-billion competition to replace Canada's CF-18s with 88 new fighters, which is expected to officially launch in July. While much of the presentation delivered to fighter-jet makers focused on a loosening of industrial-benefit rules (that is, how much the winning bidder will be expected to spend on work and production in Canada), the government also revealed that companies will be asked to show how they plan to meet certain security requirements. Specifically, companies will have until September to explain how they plan to ensure their aircraft can comply with the standards required for handling top-secret intelligence from two security networks in which Canada takes part, called “Five Eyes” and “Two Eyes.” The “Five Eyes” network comprises Canada, the U.S., the United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand. “Two Eyes” is just Canada and the U.S. and is essential for co-operating in the defence of North America. Meeting those requirements will pose different challenges for the four plane models that are expected to square off to replace the CF-18s, with the U.S.-made Lockheed Martin F-35 and Boeing Super Hornet already fully compliant. The other two expected competitors, the Eurofighter Typhoon and Saab Gripen, will face a tougher time. The Typhoon, which is used by the British military, already meets Five-Eyes requirements, but neither it nor the Swedish-made Gripen meets the Two-Eyes standard. A U.S. Embassy spokesperson in Ottawa emphasized the importance of technological connections between U.S. and Canadian forces on Friday. “We look forward to hearing more about Canada's plans for replacing its current CF-18 aircraft fleet with next-generation aircraft to meet Canada's ongoing military commitments over the coming decades,” Joseph Crook said by email. “We continue to believe in the importance of NATO and NORAD interoperability as a crucial component of Canada's acquisition of defence assets.” Crook said the U.S. hopes its plane manufacturers will get to compete in a fair process. Finn acknowledged in an interview Friday that both European contenders will have some work to do. He revealed for the first time that U.S. certification will be required before new aircraft can plug into the two security networks, but he said that will be years away and have no bearing on which plane replaces the CF-18s. He said the Canadian military has in the past bought non-U.S. equipment that needed to be modified to meet American security requirements, such as radios and sensors for ships and drones. However, industry sources, speaking on condition of anonymity because of a federal gag order on those involved in the fighter project, say there are fears the U.S. could use the security requirements to block Canada from buying a non-American plane. Defence analyst David Perry of the Canadian Global Affairs Institute said those concerns are completely justified given the Trump administration's penchant for using whatever means necessary to get foreign countries to buy U.S. products. “Ultimately, those aircraft have to plug into American systems, so the American government is going to have play some kind of role,” he said of whatever new fighter jet Canada buys. “And the concern the Europeans have is whether or not that effectively gives the Americans a veto over us buying their aircraft.” While unable to rule out the risk entirely, Finn said officials in Washington have consistently said they are open to Canada buying a non-U.S. plane as long as it can meet the security requirements. “The consistent answer we've gotten back is: ‘As long as you meet the criteria, over to you. And we are not going to tell you that a third-party cannot bid. We are telling you obviously it will have to meet our standards and the approach.' ” https://www.theglobeandmail.com/canada/article-new-canadian-fighter-jets-will-need-us-certification-dnd-2/

  • In row with Turkey, US searching for alternative F-35 component vendors

    May 13, 2019 | International, Aerospace

    In row with Turkey, US searching for alternative F-35 component vendors

    Ashley Roque, Washington, DC - Jane's Defence Weekly Pentagon leaders are searching for alternative vendors to manufacture several F-35 Joint Strike Fighter components in the case Washington and Ankara are unable to resolve their dispute over latter's plan to field the S-400 air defence system. Ellen Lord, the US Department of Defense's undersecretary of defence for acquisition and sustainment, spoke with reporters on 10 May about a host of topics including the ongoing quarrel with Turkey stemming from its plan to field the Russian-built S-400 system over the US-built Patriot system. "We have been very clear that the F-35 and the S-400 are incompatible," Lord told reporters. "We have, for some time now, been working to look at alternative sources of supply for the F-35 supply chain that is inside Turkey right now," she later added. https://www.janes.com/article/88442/in-row-with-turkey-us-searching-for-alternative-f-35-component-vendors

  • La défense européenne : utopie ou réalités

    May 13, 2019 | International, Aerospace, Naval, Land, C4ISR, Security, Other Defence

    La défense européenne : utopie ou réalités

    Nicolas Gros-Verheyde (B2) C'est le titre de l'ouvrage que je prépare pour les éditions du Villard. ‘Utopie ou réalités', c'est bien le dilemme auquel est confrontée aujourd'hui l'Europe de la défense ou la défense européenne Je ne compte pas donner de bonne recette ou asséner une vérité. Dans ce domaine, il y a assez de théorie et d'idéologie, souvent assez binaire. La principale ambition de cet ouvrage est ailleurs. Il s'agit de découvrir et d'expliquer les dernières nouveautés, les acquis déjà opérationnels, les projets en cours, les défis ou simplement les idées. Tout cela avec des arguments, précis, puisés aux meilleures sources, et de façon la plus compréhensible possible. Nous visiterons ainsi le fonds européen de défense, l'hypothèse d'une DG Défense à la Commission européenne, le commandement aérien intégré, l'ébauche d'un QG permanent militaire européen, l'initiative européenne d'intervention comme les idées d'avoir un Conseil européen de sécurité ou une armée européenne. Un ou deux invités surprises viendront compléter ou nuancer mon propos, tel un contrepoint. Cet ouvrage est à paraitre dès que possible et au plus tard d'ici l'automne. Il aurait dû sortir avant ; j'en avais parlé à quelques uns d'entre vous. Mais ma résidence dans les Alpes a brûlé en partie (1). Ce qui a un peu bousculé mon planning, m'obligeant à départir une grosse partie de mon temps pour rétablir au plus vite ce qui est mon principal poumon et ma principale respiration dans ce monde complexe et où la rapidité prime sur la compréhension, ma résidence d'écriture en quelque sorte. (Nicolas Gros-Verheyde) Heureusement nous avions une bonne assurance (du moins je l'espère), la Maïf pour ne pas la nommer. Je compte vivement sur cet assureur pour nous aider à franchir ce mauvais pas, préserver le maximum et rétablir l'habitation le plus vite possible. https://www.bruxelles2.eu/2019/05/11/defense-europeenne-utopie-ou-realite/

  • Contract Awards by US Department of Defense - May 10, 2019

    May 13, 2019 | International, Aerospace, Naval, Land, C4ISR, Security, Other Defence

    Contract Awards by US Department of Defense - May 10, 2019

    DEFENSE LOGISTICS AGENCY LiteFighter System LLC,** Canton, Georgia, has been awarded a maximum $200,000,000 firm-fixed-priced, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract for commercial-off-the-shelf shelters and tents. This was a competitive acquisition with one response received. This is a 12-month base contract with three one-year option periods. Locations of performance are Kentucky, Mississippi and Georgia, with a May 9, 2020, performance completion date. Using military services are Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps. Type of appropriation is fiscal 2019 through 2020 defense working capital funds. The contracting activity is the Defense Logistics Agency Troop Support, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (SPE1C1-19-D-1130). Buffalo Supply Inc., Lafayette, Colorado, has been awarded a maximum $42,422,105 fixed-price with economic-price-adjustment, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract for medical/surgical supplies. This was a competitive acquisition with 16 responses received. This is a five-year contract with no options. Location of performance is Colorado, with a May 9, 2024, performance completion date. Using customers are Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps and federal civilian agencies. Type of appropriation is fiscal 2019 through 2024 defense working capital funds. The contracting activity is the Defense Logistics Agency Troop Support, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (SPE2DE-19-D-0008). Varec Inc., Norcross, Georgia, has been awarded a maximum $25,998,175 firm-fixed-price, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract for electronic point of sales and supporting services for fixed facility fuel distribution devices. This was a competitive acquisition with four responses received. This is a five-year base contract with 10 one-year option periods. Location of performance is worldwide support, both in the continental U.S. and outside the continental U.S. (OCONUS), with a May 9, 2024, performance completion date. Using military services are Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, National Guard and Coast Guard. Type of appropriation is fiscal year 2019 through 2024 defense working capital funds. The contracting activity is the Defense Logistics Agency Contracting Services Office, Columbus, Ohio (SP4702-19-D-0002). Transaero Inc.,* Melville, New York, has been awarded a maximum $10,504,719 firm-fixed-price, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract for air data computers. This was a limited competitive acquisition using justification from Federal Acquisition Regulation 6.302-1(a)(2), which states only one responsible source and no other supplies or services will satisfy agency requirements, and extended to include only one or a limited number of responsible sources. This is a five-year contract with no option periods. Locations of performance are New York and the United Kingdom, with a May 10, 2024, performance completion date. Using military service is Army. Type of appropriation is fiscal 2019 through 2024 Army working capital funds. The contracting activity is the Defense Logistics Agency Aviation, Redstone Arsenal, Alabama (SPRRA1-19-D-0074). ARMY Northrop Grumman Systems Corp., Sierra Vista, Arizona, was awarded a $163,588,331 cost-plus-fixed-fee contract for Hunter unmanned aircraft system fleet support for operations, maintenance, engineering, re-engineering and remanufacturing. One bid was solicited with one bid received. Work will be performed in Sierra Vista, Arizona, with an estimated completion date of May 9, 2020. Fiscal 2019 operations and maintenance, Army funds in the amount of $41,883,787 were obligated at the time of the award. U.S. Army Contracting Command, Redstone Arsenal, Alabama, is the contracting activity (W58RGZ-19-C-0033). Raytheon Missiles Systems, Tucson, Arizona, was awarded a $101,333,802 modification (P00014) to contract W31P4Q-17-C-0194 to procure Tactically-Launched Optically-Tracked Wireless-Guided missiles. Work will be performed in Tucson, Arizona, with an estimated completion date of Aug. 31, 2022. Fiscal 2017 other procurement, Army funds in the amount of $101,333,802 were obligated at the time of the award. U.S. Army Contracting Command, Redstone Arsenal, Alabama, is the contracting activity. HHI Corp.,* Ogden, Utah, was awarded a $48,000,000 firm-fixed-price contract repair and construction at Hill Air Force Base, Utah. Bids were solicited via the internet with four received. Work locations and funding will be determined with each order, with an estimated completion date of May 9, 2026. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Sacramento, California, is the contracting activity (W91238-19-D-0071). G.L.H.C. Services Inc.,* Lumberton, North Carolina, was awarded a $13,000,000 modification (P00003) to contract W912HN-17-D-0004 for general construction and design-build construction. Work locations and funding will be determined with each order, with an estimated completion date of March 31, 2022. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Savannah, Georgia, is the contracting activity. Trend Construction Inc., Orlando, Florida, was awarded a $13,000,000 modification (P00004) to contract W912HN-15-D-0001 for general construction and design-build construction. Work locations and funding will be determined with each order, with an estimated completion date of March 25, 2020. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Savannah, Georgia, is the contracting activity. Lockheed Martin Corp., Grand Prairie, Texas, was awarded a $10,508,635 modification (P00049) to contract W31P4Q-16-C-0102 to develop and qualify a modular rocket pod and launch tubes for the Guided Multiple Launch Rocket System that will be adaptable to future munitions. Work will be performed in Grand Prairie, Texas, with an estimated completion date of Oct. 31, 2019. Fiscal 2018 missile procurement, Army funds in the amount of $10,508,635 were obligated at the time of the award. U.S. Army Contracting Command, Redstone Arsenal, Alabama, is the contracting activity. Milliman Solutions LLC, Seattle, Washington, was awarded a $9,010,000 firm-fixed-price contract to provide the U.S. Military Entrance Processing Command a commercial web-based prescription medication reporting system. Bids were solicited via the internet with two received. Work locations and funding will be determined with each order, with an estimated completion date of May 31, 2024. U.S. Army Health Contracting Activity, Fort Sam Houston, Texas, is the contracting activity (W81K04-19-D-0017). Science Applications International Corp., Reston, Virginia, was awarded an $8,339,000 modification (0001 34) to contract W31P4Q-18-A-0011 for systems engineering support. Work will be performed in Reston, Virginia, with an estimated completion date of May 3, 2020. Fiscal 2019 research, development, test and evaluation funds in the amount of $8,339,000 were obligated at the time of the award. U.S. Army Contracting Command, Redstone Arsenal, Alabama, is the contracting activity. AIR FORCE Harris Corp., Clifton, New Jersey, has been awarded $71,761,512 cost-plus-fixed-fee contract for engineering services. This contract provides for nonrecurring engineering services for AN/ ALQ-172 countermeasures systems, to include performing a form, fit, function, and interface replacement of the AN/ALQ-172 Line Replaceable Unit (LRU)-2, and LRU-3, documents and/or technical orders. Work will be performed in Clifton, New Jersey, and is expected to be complete by Nov. 9, 2022. This award is the result of a sole-source acquisition. Fiscal 2019 consolidated sustainment activity group-engineering funds in the full amount are being obligated at the time of award. Air Force Sustainment Center, Robins Air Force Base, Georgia, is the contracting activity (FA8522-19-C-0003). The Boeing Co., St. Louis, Missouri, has been awarded an $11,205,341 indefinite-delivery requirements contract for F-15 sustaining engineering services. This contract provides for post-production support tasks/services unique to the original equipment manufacturer as required to maintain an adequate level of continuous sustaining engineering and logistics support for the Air Force and Foreign Military Sales (FMS) F-15 fleets. Work will be performed primarily in St. Louis, Missouri, and is expected to be complete by Nov. 9, 2027. This contract involves FMS to Saudi Arabia and Israel. This award is the result of a sole-source acquisition. No funds are being obligated at the time of award. Air Force Life Cycle Management Center, Robins Air Force Base, Georgia, is the contacting activity (FA8505‐19‐D-0001). *Small business **Service-disabled veteran-owned small business https://dod.defense.gov/News/Contracts/Contract-View/Article/1844479/source/GovDelivery/

  • ASSESSING THE DAMAGE FROM CANADA’S FIGHTER REPLACEMENT FIASCO: NEW MLI REPORT

    May 10, 2019 | Local, Aerospace

    ASSESSING THE DAMAGE FROM CANADA’S FIGHTER REPLACEMENT FIASCO: NEW MLI REPORT

    OTTAWA, ON (May 6, 2019): In a hard-hitting new Macdonald-Laurier Institute report, MLI Senior Fellow Richard Shimooka takes a critical look at the government's approach to replacing Canada's aging fleet of CF-18 fighters. In the report, titled The Catastrophe: Assessing the Damage from Canada's Fighter Replacement Fiasco, he argues that Ottawa's performance on this file mirrors the SNC-Lavalin Scandal and the Mark Norman Affair. “At their heart, these two incidents represent attempts by the Liberal government to circumvent established processes to meet their partisan interests,” Shimooka explains. “This description is just as apt for the fighter program.” Canada is a participant in the Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) Program that has been developing the F-35s. These fighter jets were slotted to replace the RCAF's aging CF-18s, but after the program was mired in political scandal under the previous government, the Liberal government changed plans. “During the 2015 election campaign, the Liberal Party promised not to buy the F-35 jets, but instead to use a competition to identify and subsequently purchase a lower-cost competitor... this decision proved to be impossible, unethical, and potentially illegal,” writes Shimooka. From billions of dollars being wasted on a procurement process to fix a contrived capability gap to potentially threatening Canada's defence relationship with the US, the report finds that political interests have consistently been put above Canada's defence needs. Shimooka argues that “the decisions made [regarding fighter jet replacement] were purely for reasons of political interest: not a single one could be claimed as being in the country's national interest.” The “fiasco,” as Shimooka describes it, has caught the attention of both Canada's Office of the Auditor General (OAG) and senior US officials. According to documents never before seen by the public, the OAG had specifically cautioned the government against its chosen course of purchasing Australian Hornets as an interim measure in a draft report – and the final OAG report was heavily revised to obscure that recommendation. Worse still, letters from US officials reveal that “resentment and distrust towards the government of Canada had grown, particularly within the US Air Force.” These letters, which again have not been made public until now, outline the significant strategic and economic benefits that have already been accrued from being part of the JSF Program. Yet they also contain an implicit (but clear) threat that Canada could be kicked out of the Program – if Ottawa continues with its current policy of trying to obtain guaranteed industrial benefits that, by their very nature, are not allowed under the JSF Program. “There was a complete lack of logic of Canada's policy, which seemed to ignore basic facts about membership in the JSF program, including clear advantages in cost and capability that the F-35 provided.” Despite these persistent, high-level issues with the government's chosen approach on the fighter jet replacement, the file has avoided serious public scrutiny. Shimooka finds that this happened in large part due to the successful gag orders levelled by the government. “The government has also suppressed negative viewpoints within and outside the Department of National Defence, allegedly up to and including the deletion of portions of Memos to Cabinet that highlighted why certain decisions should not be taken.” Moving forward on the file may prove to be difficult; defence procurement woes have plagued Canada since Confederation, and the issues with the fighter jet replacement are deeper than just purchasing the right aircraft. Worse still, Shimooka says that the brunt of the burden of consistently poor decision-making in Ottawa will be borne by the RCAF itself. “While the negative consequences are clear for Canada as a whole," Shimooka explains, "no community has felt the impact more than the RCAF. As a result of this government's policies, its ability to conduct its most basic function, the defence of Canadian sovereignty and that of our allies, is diminishing rapidly.” “It is a sad state of affairs.” To read the commentary in full, click here. https://www.macdonaldlaurier.ca/assessing-damage-canadas-fighter-replacement-fiasco-new-mli-report/

  • Canada changing rules of competition for $19B fighter jet fleet to allow consideration of F-35: sources

    May 10, 2019 | Local, Aerospace

    Canada changing rules of competition for $19B fighter jet fleet to allow consideration of F-35: sources

    David Pugliese, Ottawa Citizen The Canadian government is changing the terms of the $19-billion competition to replace its aging fleet of fighter jets to allow the U.S. to enter its F-35 stealth fighter. The changes will allow for a more flexible approach in determining the value of the benefits bidders offer to Canadian defence firms, industry sources say, and come after a series of discussions with the U.S. government and threats by the Pentagon to withdraw the jet from consideration. Under the current terms, bidders were required to offer industrial benefits to Canada as part of the competition. That system, which would have disadvantaged the F-35, will now be amended, sources say. But those companies that do guarantee work for Canadian firms will receive more consideration under the new rules. U.S. officials had warned that the agreement Canada signed to be a partner nation in Lockheed Martin's development of the F-35 prohibits those partner nations from imposing requirements for industrial benefits in fighter jet competitions. “We cannot participate in an offer of the F-35 weapon system where requirements do not align with the F-35 Partnership,” U.S. Navy Vice-Adm. Mathias Winter told Canadian officials in a letter sent in December. Under the agreement, companies from the partner nations are eligible to compete for work on the F-35s, and contracts are awarded on a best-value basis. Over the last 12 years, Canadian firms have earned more than $1.3 billion in contracts to build F-35 parts. In a statement issued last week, Lockheed Martin Canada said that hundreds of Canadian jobs had been created by work on the jet. The firm noted that it continued to provide feedback to the U.S. government, which is involved with Canada in government-to-government discussions on the fighter jet program. The competition to win the Canadian contract for a fleet of 88 new fighter jets was launched on Dec. 12, 2017 and at this point four fighter jets are expected to be considered. Those include the F-35, the Super Hornet, the Eurofighter Typhoon and the Gripen. The Canadian government expects to award the contract in 2022. A request for bids for the new jets was scheduled to be released in conjunction with the CANSEC defence trade show in Ottawa at the end of the month, with bids to be evaluated by 2021. However, the government now admits that schedule is risky. In its latest update on major equipment projects the Department of National Defence said “The approved schedule is considered very aggressive,” and that “The project team is managing a number of risks which have the potential to impact schedule.” The document doesn't outline the specific risks but DND officials have acknowledged that figuring out how to deal with industrial benefits linked to the project could cause delays. The delivery of the first of the jets is expected in the mid-2020s, with the full capability available in the early 2030s, according to the DND document. The plan to purchase used Australian F-18s in the interim, the first already delivered, is also outlined in the document. It noted the final delivery of those jets is set for the end of 2021. https://nationalpost.com/news/canada/canada-changing-rules-of-competition-for-19b-fighter-jet-fleet-to-allow-consideration-of-f-35-sources

  • Feds look to ease requirements for fighter-jet makers after U.S. complaints

    May 10, 2019 | Local, Aerospace

    Feds look to ease requirements for fighter-jet makers after U.S. complaints

    By Lee Berthiaume, The Canadian Press OTTAWA — The federal government is planning to loosen its industrial requirements for fighter-jet makers in the $19-billion competition to replace Canada's aging CF-18s. The planned modification follows recent U.S. complaints that the previous criteria violated Canada's obligations as one of nine partner countries in the development of the F-35, one of the small handful of planes expected in the competition. Yet the proposed change has sparked complaints from some of the companies whose planes will be competing against the F-35, who say the new approach goes too far in the other direction. Canada has long required companies bidding on major defence contracts to commit to re-investing back into the country, with those unable to make such a contractual commitment seeing their bids tossed out. But in a presentation to companies on Thursday, the government said it plans to allow bids missing such a commitment in the fighter-jet competition — they will be just docked points in the assessment. The plan is intended to maximize the number of bids in the competition to buy 88 new jets while still aiming for the largest-possible economic spinoffs, a senior government official told The Canadian Press. The U.S. had threatened not to enter the F-35 into the competition if the requirement wasn't changed, noting that under the partnership agreement signed in 2006, companies in each member country instead compete for work. The threat was contained in a letter sent to the government from the head of the Pentagon's F-35 office in December and published in a report from the Macdonald-Laurier Institute think tank on Monday. Canada has contributed roughly $500 million over the past 20 years toward developing the F-35, while Canadian companies have won nearly $1.5 billion in contracts associated with the stealth fighter. Canada will also be able to buy the plane for less than non-members. The proposed new process will see the government evaluate bids on a scale, with 60 per cent of the points based on the plane's capability, 20 per cent on its full lifetime costs and the remaining 20 per cent on industrial benefits to Canada. Bidders can still guarantee that they will re-invest back into Canada if their jet wins the competition and get all 20 points - which is the likely approach for Boeing's Super Hornet, Eurofighter's Typhoon and Saab's Gripen. But those that can't make such a commitment will be asked to establish "industrial targets," lay out a plan for achieving those targets and sign a non-binding agreement promising to make all efforts to achieve them. The government will study those plans and assign points based on risk. This is the likely approach for Lockheed Martin and the F-35, which the U.S. has said could provide Canadian companies with billions in work over the next 50 years. The planned new approach has already stirred complaints from some of Lockheed Martin's competitors, who question why the F-35 should get points if the company can't guarantee re-investment back into Canada. There are also concerns about how the government will decide how risky plans to achieve "industrial targets" actually are, with one industry source saying that question is entirely subjective. Bidders were also told Thursday that the actual launch of the competition has been delayed until mid-July. Government officials had previously said they hoped the starting gun would be fired by the end of the month. Lee Berthiaume, The Canadian Press https://www.nationalnewswatch.com/2019/05/09/feds-ease-industrial-requirements-for-fighter-jet-makers-after-u-s-complaints/

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