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  • Creating jobs through defence procurement

    May 17, 2018 | Local, Aerospace

    Creating jobs through defence procurement

    News release Positioning Canadian industry for a once-in-a-generation opportunity May 16, 2018, Ottawa, Ontario Canada's planned purchase of 88 new fighter jets would be its largest aerospace buy in more than 30 years. It presents a once-in-a-generation opportunity to create jobs and generate benefits for Canadians. The purchase of these jets is subject to the Industrial and Technological Benefits (ITB) Policy, which requires that for every dollar the government spends on major defence purchases, the winning contractor must put a dollar back into Canada's economy. Through this policy, the government's purchasing power is being used to support innovation and create well-paying middle-class jobs. This was the message delivered at a series of six regional forums held across the country by Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada, in concert with National Defence, Public Services and Procurement Canada, and the regional development agencies. Representatives from more than 250 companies and 50 universities and research institutions participated in a total of 750 meetings. They were able to meet directly with fighter manufacturers and start building relationships and partnerships during these forums, positioning them to take advantage of the opportunities that will come from this large-scale procurement. By working with Canada's aerospace and defence industries, our government is making sure that Canadians get the most benefits possible from large defence purchases. Quotes “The Industrial and Technological Benefits Policy means we can turn the most significant investment in the Royal Canadian Air Force in more than 30 years into middle-class jobs and economic benefits for Canadians.” – The Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development “Our government has achieved yet another important milestone as we continue to make progress toward replacing Canada's fighter fleet. This procurement will generate significant economic benefits for Canadians, and we committed to ensuring that our Canadian aerospace and defence sectors are well-positioned to participate in the renewal of Canada's fighter fleet.” – The Honourable Carla Qualtrough, Minister of Public Services and Procurement “A modern fighter jet fleet is essential for defending Canadian sovereignty, enabling continental security, and contributing to international peace and security. I am pleased to hear about the productive conversations that have been taking place with Canadian industry members and partners these past few weeks. This competition presents a great opportunity for Canadian industry to be involved with the sustainment of the future fighter fleet.” – The Honourable Harjit S. Sajjan, Minister of National Defence Quick facts Canada's aerospace and defence industries together contribute over 240,000 quality jobs. The aerospace industry directly contributed $13 billion in gross domestic product and over 87,000 jobs to the Canadian economy in 2016. The Canadian defence sector includes over 650 firms employing highly skilled workers in high-quality jobs. Since 1986, Canada's ITB Policy and its predecessor, the Industrial and Regional Benefits Policy, have contributed almost $40 billion to Canada's gross domestic product. Applying the policy generates around 40,000 jobs annually.

  • Federal government invests in innovative training for aerospace and defence sectors

    May 17, 2018 | Local, Aerospace

    Federal government invests in innovative training for aerospace and defence sectors

    News release Investment will help create and maintain more than 200 jobs and promote innovation in Atlantic Canada May 16, 2018 – Halifax, Nova Scotia – Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada The Government of Canada is maintaining and creating well-paying middle-class jobs, economic growth and long-term prosperity by investing in the growth of small businesses to promote innovation and global competitiveness. Today, the Honourable Scott Brison, President of the Treasury Board, on behalf of the Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development, announced a repayable investment of $7.6 million to support a $19-million project by Bluedrop Performance Learning Inc., a company that provides simulation technology, simulators and training programs to the aerospace and defence sectors. The funding will help Bluedrop create or maintain more than 200 jobs by supporting the design and development of next-generation aerospace and marine simulation and training products. The project will adapt gaming and mobile technologies such as virtual reality and augmented reality to improve the use of artificial intelligence in developing new simulation and training products used by air and marine crews. This investment will lead to training that is more relevant and cost-effective and that improves safety for air and marine crews. This investment is being made through the Strategic Innovation Fund, a program designed to attract and support high-quality business investments across all sectors of the economy by encouraging R&D that will accelerate technology transfer and the commercialization of innovative products, processes and services and will facilitate the growth of innovative firms. Quotes “Our government is investing to help small businesses across Canada grow and be active players in innovative sectors of the economy. This investment in Bluedrop's innovative simulation and training technologies will support the creation of middle-class jobs in Atlantic Canada and foster a vibrant regional economy. This investment is a concrete example of our government's ambitious agenda to strengthen the middle class, create jobs, and ensure a prosperous and inclusive future for Canadians.” – The Honourable Scott Brison, President of the Treasury Board “Bluedrop welcomes this support from the Government of Canada, through the Strategic Innovation Fund, as we look to further enhance our competitive position through the development of next-generation training solutions.” – Derrick Rowe, Executive Chairman of the Board of Bluedrop Performance Learning Inc. Quick facts Founded in 2012, Bluedrop Training and Simulation Inc. designs and develops advanced training systems and state-of-the-art simulation products to safely train operators and maintainers of complex equipment. The company is headquartered in St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador, and also has a location in Halifax, Nova Scotia, where the project will take place. The Strategic Innovation Fund is a flexible program that reflects the diversity of innovation in all sectors of the economy. In addition to the Strategic Innovation Fund, there are hundreds of programs and services to help businesses innovate, create jobs and grow Canada's economy. With a simple, story-based user interface, the new Innovation Canada platform can match businesses with the most fitting programs and services in about two minutes.

  • Saab Held Today its Annual Gripen Seminar

    May 16, 2018 | International, Aerospace

    Saab Held Today its Annual Gripen Seminar

    Seminar can be viewed at: Article on Skies Magazine: Saab positions Gripen E as Canada's next-generation fighter Saab Group is confident that its single-engine Gripen E remains a viable contender for Canada's next generation fighter aircraft fleet, even though there are currently no immediate plans for Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) pilots to actually fly the aircraft. This was according to Richard Smith, head of Gripen marketing and sales during a May 16 briefing on Gripen market opportunities worldwide. He confirmed the planned visits included “site surveys and also some more senior visits as well, but at the moment, no plans for a flight evaluation.” He offered no details on who specifically would be visiting, but welcomed a suggestion that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau could be on the list. Canada is one of a number of countries Saab is targeting as a customer for the Mach 2 delta wing/canard fighter, the first variation of which entered service with the Swedish Air Force in 1997. Development of the Gripen E, featuring a General Electric F414G engine and an upgraded electronic warfare system (EWS), began about 2014 and it was first flown in June 2017. It is now said to be on track for delivery to the Swedish and Brazilian air forces. Smith said he expected that “continued dialogue so far this year” with Canadian government representatives was setting the stage for an early draft proposal, possibly in the third quarter of 2018, followed by the government's request for proposal for 80 aircraft early next year. He said the Gripen is suitable for all RCAF operations, including the high north, the Arctic and forward operating bases, which he said are “very similar to what we have in Sweden.” He later added that Saab would “tailor” its offering to Canada, as it would to other prospective customers with different operating environments. “Value for money, the industrial packages, that's what makes the Gripen rather unique and rather attractive.” On the seminal Canadian question about the reliability of a single-engine aircraft in Arctic and maritime missions, Gripen test pilot Mikhal Olsson said it had never been an issue. “I've been flying fighter aircraft since 1996 and I've been stationed . . . up in the Arctic,” he said. “I've been flying over the Atlantic, I've been flying across the sea eastbound to India (Saab is proposing the Gripen for the India Air Force), and every time I've been in a single-engine jet. I've never, ever, been worried about the engine [due to built-in redundancies]. “We have a really reliable system.” Olsson also said that as a “smart fighter” with net-centric technologies, a new sensor suite and long-range weapons, the E model is tailored to an “much more hostile and . . . much more unpredictable” operational environment where “new conflicts arise and disappear much quicker that we've seen before.” Gripen EWS sales director Inga Bergstrom added that electronic warfare was not the aircraft's primary function. Rather, EWS was “an enabler to . . . a successful mission” and because it was upgradeable software, it could deal with evolving threats. Asked about having to compete in some markets with used aircraft, Smith said these were, at best, an interim solution. “We're going to operate it for 30 to 40 years,” he replied. “Second-hand fighters . . . need to be replaced after maybe 10 years, and the capability that we bring is somewhat different to those old fighters. . . . Even though there has been, as you say, some headwind recently, I remain very optimistic about the outlook for Gripen both short term and longer term.” Jonas Hjelm, head of Aeronautics at Saab, acknowledged that although the company can't compete with used fighters because of the price difference, he agreed that the upgradeable Gripen could be operated for potentially more than 40 years without having to go through a new acquisition process, so the total package “makes sense for very many of the countries that are now in process of actually selecting a new fighter system.” Asked how the Gripen could compete with “stealth” platforms, Hjelm declined comment on competitors' aircraft but conceded that it was a difficult challenge. Calling stealth a “fashion word,” he said that while the newest Gripen variants have “stealth features,” Saab has chosen “different paths to have a low signature.” Besides, with “every smart technique you come up with to defend yourself, there will be a pushback from the other side to detect you . . . . We continue all the time to see what we can develop . . . to become more invisible.”

  • The US Air Force Is Adding Algorithms to Predict When Planes Will Break

    May 16, 2018 | International, Aerospace

    The US Air Force Is Adding Algorithms to Predict When Planes Will Break

    The airlines already use predictive maintenance technology. Now the service's materiel chief says it's a “must-do for us.” The U.S. Air Force has started to use algorithms to predict when its aircraft will break, part of an effort to minimize the time and money they consume in the repair shop. The use of predictive analytics has been blazed by airlines, which monitor their fleets' parts in an effort to replace broken components just before — and crucially, not after — they break. “I believe it is a must-do for us,” said Gen. Ellen Pawlikowski, the head of Air Force Materiel Command, the arm of the Air Force that oversees the maintenance of its planes. She spoke Tuesday at a Defense Writers Group breakfast in Washington. “We see this as a huge benefit.” If the Air Force could reduce the risk of unexpected breakage — and the attendant need to fly replacement parts and repair crews around the globe — it could reduce costs and boost mission effectiveness. It could also increase the usefulness of the current fleet by reducing the number of aircraft that need to be be held in reserve as backups. It starts with gathering data, such as the temperature of engine parts or the stresses on the airframe. “We are trying to leverage what we already get off of airplanes, as opposed to trying to go in and put instruments in places,” Pawlikowski said. “It turns out there's quite a bit that's there, but it may not be a direct measurement. In order to measure the temperature in this one particular spot, I'm getting information somewhere else.” Artificial intelligence and machine learning can then determine patterns. The general said the Air Force has been learning a lot from Delta, the world's second-largest commercial airline. “Delta has demonstrated the effectiveness of predictive maintenance in dramatically reducing the number of delays to flights due to maintenance,” she said. Over the past three years, Air Mobility Command — the arm of the Air Force that oversees all of its large cargo planes and aerial refueling tankers — has been organizing the data it collects on some of its planes. It has started using the predictive maintenance technology on its massive C-5 airlifters. The Air Force is also using the technology on the B-1 bomber. “The B-1 is an airplane that we actually bought with a whole bunch of data that we weren't using,” Pawlikowski said. “We started to take that data in and start to analyze it....We're very excited about this because we see huge potential to improve aircraft availability and drive down the cost.” She said she “was impressed when I saw some of the data that they were showing me.” The Air Force Lifecycle Management Center, which reports to Pawlikowski, has been funding these trials “by finding the loose change in the seat cushions,” she said. “As we have now shown some things ... we're seeing more and more interest in it and we're looking at increasing the investment in that to bring it further,” Pawlikowski said of the predictive maintenance. Last September, Gen. Carlton “Dewey” Everhart, head of Air Mobility Command, stressed his desire to use predictive maintenance, but warned it would cost money to get the datafrom the companies that make the planes. “In some cases, we'll be working this collaboratively with our industry partners,” Pawlikowski said Tuesday. “In other cases, we'll be doing it completely organically.” Air Mobility Command is also using predictive maintenance technology on the C-130J airlifter. The latest version of the venerable Lockheed Martin cargo plane — the J model — collects reams of data as it flies. In April, the Lockheed announced it was teaming with analytics firm SAS to crunch that data. “Everything we've been doing up to a certain point has been looking in the rear-view mirror with the data,” said Lockheed's Duane Szalwinski, a senior manager with his company's sustainment organization who specializes in analytics. “We're going to be able to look forward.” Lockheed is working on a six-month demonstration for Air Mobility Command; officials hope to be able to predict when certain parts will break before a flight. “If we're able to do that, it kind of changes the game in how you maintain and operate a fleet,” Szalwinski said. The data will give military planners a wealth of information about their aircraft that could help determine the best aircraft to deploy. “All those things you now know you have insights as to what you will need at the next flight, so you act accordingly,” he said. “Once we prove that we understand the probability of failure of these parts ... all things then become possible,” Szalwinski said. “Now it's not a matter of if, it's a matter of when. And if you know when, you can start acting accordingly. It would be a gamechanger in the way you manage a fleet.” Lockheed also wants to use the predictive maintenance tech on the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter. “The beauty of this is that the toolsets that we're developing, the models, how we clean the data, how we build the models, how we build the algorithms, all of that is not unique to a platform,” Szalwinski said. Still, instituting predictive maintenance practices fleet-wide is not going to happen overnight, particularly as since it will take time to understand the data, Pawlikowski said. Using this technology will require a cultural shift among maintenance crews because they'll be replacing parts before they actually fail, Pawlikowski said. “One of the big benefits is the reduction in the amount of time the airmen on the flightline spends troubleshooting a broken part” because “we will take them off before they break,” she said.

  • The Air Force is looking for new, cheap planes to take the place of advanced fighters — and the 2nd phase of its experiment just started

    May 16, 2018 | International, Aerospace

    The Air Force is looking for new, cheap planes to take the place of advanced fighters — and the 2nd phase of its experiment just started

    Christopher Woody The Air Force has started the second phase of its Light Attack Experiment. The program is looking for cheap aircraft that can be acquired quickly to fill roles currently filled by advanced aircraft. Critics have said such aircraft would expose US pilots to more risks, however. The US Air Force started the second phase of its Light Attack Experiment on Monday, putting the A-29 Super Tucano and AT-6B Wolverine aircraft through more testing at Holloman Air Force Base in New Mexico. Air Force officials have touted light-attack aircraft as a cheap option to address low-end threats, like ISIS or other militant groups, and free up advanced platforms, like the F-22 and F-35, to take on more complex operations. Air Force chief of staff Gen. David Goldfein has described the light-attack aircraft as part of a networked battlefield, connecting and sharing information with partner forces in the air and on the ground. "We're looking at light attack through the lens of allies and partners," Goldfein told the Senate Armed Services Committee. "A big part of the Light Attack Experiment is a common architecture and an intelligence-sharing network, so that those who would join us would be part of the campaign against violent extremism." Phase 2 of the experiment The latest phase of the Light Attack Experiment will be a three-month, live-fly experiment intended to gather more information about each aircraft's capabilities, networking ability, and potential interoperability with partner forces, the Air Force said in a release. The first phase of the experiment took place at Holloman in August with four aircraft. In February, the Air Force announced that it had narrowed the field to the two current aircraft. The second phase at Holloman comes in lieu of a combat demonstration, which Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson said in February the service would forgo. "This second phase of experimentation is about informing the rapid procurement process as we move closer to investing in light attack," Lt. Gen. Arnie Bunch, the military deputy at the office of the assistant secretary of the Air Force for acquisition, said in the release. Fighter, attack, and special-operations pilots will take part in this phase of the experiment, working with test pilots and flight engineers from the Air Force, Air National Guard, and Air Force Reserve. They will carry out day and night missions doing air interdiction, close air support, armed overwatch, and combat search and rescue. Addressing the Air Force's pilot shortage Adding light-attack aircraft to the fleet would mean more airframes on which pilots could train in order to maintain their qualifications and prepare to transition to more advanced aircraft — helping address a pilot shortage caused in part by bottlenecks in the training pipeline. "If we can get light attack aircraft operating in permissive combat environments, we can alleviate the demand on our 4th and 5th generation aircraft, so they can be training for the high-end fight they were made for," Bunch said in the release. The Air Force has not committed to pursuing a contract for a light-attack aircraft after the experiment, however. Lt. Gen. Jerry Harris, deputy chief of staff for requirements, told Flight Global that the Air Force hasn't made a final decision, though he said service has reserved more than $2 billion over the next six years should it go forward with production. Critics have said operating such aircraft, even in permissive environments, will expose pilots to more risk. "The last time the US did this in Vietnam, oh boy, it really wasn't pleasant," Richard Aboulafia, vice president of analysis for aerospace-consulting firm Teal Group, told Air Force Times in February. "They took a lot of casualties, for predictable reasons. It's low, it's slow and vulnerable, and the air defense environment has become a lot more sophisticated." The A-29 Super Tucano is already in service with the Afghan air force, and Wilson said in 2017 that none of those aircraft had been shot down in 18 months of operations.

  • L’offre française pour remplacer les F-16 laisse le gouvernement sur sa faim

    May 16, 2018 | International, Aerospace

    L’offre française pour remplacer les F-16 laisse le gouvernement sur sa faim

    Le ministère de la Défense a réservé un accueil assez froid, voire distant, à la proposition de «partenariat approfondi et structurant» fondé sur l'avion de combat Rafale réitérée par la France à la Belgique. Une délégation de membres du cabinet de la ministre française des Armées, Florence Parly, a eu l'occasion, pour la première fois en huit mois, de venir détailler auprès de ses homologues belges, l «offre française» de partenariat «approfondi et structurant» fondé sur l'avion de combat Rafale – hors de l'appel d'offres officiel lancé en mars 2017 pour l'achat de 34 chasseurs-bombardiers de nouvelle génération. Cette rencontre a eu lieu «à la demande du Premier ministre» Charles Michel, qui souhaite disposer de tous les éléments nécessaires à une prochaine décision du gouvernement belge, a-t-on indiqué de sources gouvernementales. Mais «on n'a rien entendu de nouveau par rapport à la lettre reçue (de Mme Parly, NDLR) le 6 septembre 2017. Il n'y a rien de plus concret», a expliqué la porte-parole du ministre belge de la Défense, Steven Vandeput, Laurence Mortier. L'entourage de M. Vandeput (N-VA) a confirmé à l'agence Belga être intéressé par une éventuelle participation au programme de Système de combat aérien du futur (Scaf) européen, actuellement négocié entre la France et l'Allemagne, tout en étant ouvert à d'autres partenaires. Sur base de l'analyse des deux offres considérées comme juridiquement valables après réponse à l'appel d'offres (en jargon, un «Request for Government Proposal» ou RfGP) lancé en mars 2017, et de la – très vague – offre française, l'équipe de programme doit faire une recommandation au ministre de la Défense. Les deux candidats qui ont remis des offres en bonne et due forme sont les États-Unis avec le F-35 Lightning II du groupe Lockheed Martin et l'Eurofighter Typhoon du consortium européen éponyme. Le dossier complet, avec les aspects économiques, sera ensuite soumis au gouvernement fédéral. La Défense espère toujours une décision finale avant le sommet de l'OTAN des 11 et 12 juillet prochains, pour permettre à la Belgique d'y faire – relativement – bonne figure en dépit de ses faibles dépenses en matière de défense.

  • CAE USA awarded contract to provide instructor support services for United States Navy

    May 15, 2018 | International, Aerospace

    CAE USA awarded contract to provide instructor support services for United States Navy

    CAE today announced that CAE USA has won a contract to provide the Chief of Naval Air Training (CNATRA) with Contract Instruction Services (CIS) that will support the delivery of ground-based training to the United States Navy. Under terms of the five-year CNATRA CIS contract, which was awarded as a base contract with four one-year options, CAE USA will provide classroom and simulator instructors at five Naval Air Stations (NAS) to support primary, intermediate and advanced pilot training for the U.S. Navy. “We are pleased to be selected for this highly competitive program to support U.S. naval aviation pilot training,” said Ray Duquette, President and General Manager, CAE USA. “Over the past several years, we have demonstrated our capabilities to the Navy on the T-44C program as a world-class provider of comprehensive training solutions and services. CAE USA looks forward to expanding our support of the primary and advanced flight training that will produce future naval aviators for the United States Navy.” CAE USA will provide classroom and simulator instructors at five U.S. Navy training bases: NAS Whiting Field, Florida – training base for primary phase of training utilizing T-6B Texan aircraft; NAS Corpus Christi, Texas – training base for primary phase of training utilizing T-6B Texan aircraft; NAS Meridian, Mississippi – training base for intermediate and advanced phase of jet training utilizing T-45C Goshawk aircraft; NAS Kingsville, Texas – training base for intermediate and advanced phase of jet training utilizing T-45C Goshawk aircraft; NAS Pensacola, Florida – training base for naval flight officer (NFO) training. The CNATRA CIS program provides classroom and simulator instructor support services for the primary phase of naval aviation training, which is the start of training for all future Navy pilots. The CNATRA CIS program also supports intermediate and advanced strike training, which is the training pipeline for future fighter and attack, or “Tailhook” aviators; and NFO training, which provides the basic training for operating the advance systems onboard naval aircraft. CAE USA already supports the training pipeline for advanced multi-engine training as part of the contractor-owned and operated T-44C Command Aircraft Crew Training program at NAS Corpus Christi. The naval aviator training pipeline for rotary-wing is supported under a separate training support program. “The CNATRA CIS training program is another example of the U.S. military outsourcing to industry some of the training support required for aircrew training,” said Duquette, a retired naval aviator and former instructor at NAS Kingsville. “As a company focused on training, we are in a good position to partner with our military customers to help train and prepare their next-generation aviators.”

  • Japan focuses on maritime security in new ocean policy

    May 15, 2018 | International, Aerospace, Naval, C4ISR, Security

    Japan focuses on maritime security in new ocean policy

    Japan approved Tuesday a new ocean policy that highlights maritime security, amid perceived growing threats from North Korea and China, in a reversal from the previous version which focused largely on sea resource development. The ocean program cited threats from North Korea's launching of ballistic missiles, and operations by Chinese vessels around the Japan-controlled and China-claimed Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea. “Amid an increasingly severe maritime situation, the government will come together to protect our territorial waters and interests at sea,” Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said in a meeting of the government panel on ocean policy. The contents of the third Basic Plan on Ocean Policy are expected to be reflected in the government's defense buildup guidelines that are set to be revised in December. Since its first adoption in 2008, the ocean policy has been reviewed every five years. The policy pointed out that the maritime security situation facing the nation is “highly likely to deteriorate, if no measure is taken.” The government also plans to make use of coastal radar equipment, aircraft and vessels from the Self-Defense Forces and the Japan Coast Guard, as well as high-tech optical satellites of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, to strengthen the nation's intelligence gathering abilities. The policy underscores the need for cooperation between the coast guard and the Fisheries Agency to enhance responses to illegal operations by North Korea and fishing vessels from other countries, amid a surge in the number of such cases in the waters surrounding Japan. To ensure sea lane safety, it also stipulates the government's promotion of the “free and open Indo-Pacific” strategy advocated by Abe for maintaining and strengthening a free and open order in the region based on the rule of law.

  • RCAF change of command marks new era

    May 14, 2018 | Local, Aerospace

    RCAF change of command marks new era

    by Chris Thatcher Against a backdrop of a Douglas DC-3, a Bombardier Challenger 604, a McDonnell Douglas CF-188B and a Boeing CH-113 Labrador, LGen Michael Hood passed command of the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) to LGen Al Meinzinger on May 4, 2018. The ceremony was conducted at the Canada Aviation and Space Museum in Ottawa and included an honour guard parade from 8 Wing Trenton, Ont., which Hood led from 2007 to 2009, and a Colour Party from 429 Tactical Airlift Squadron, the last squadron he commanded. It also featured the central band of the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) and the pipes and drums of 8 Wing. A planned flyover of two CH-146 Griffon helicopters, two CF-188 Hornets and one CC-130J Hercules was cancelled due to poor weather. The transfer of command from Hood, an air combat systems officer, to Meinzinger, a helicopter pilot, marked the first time the new RCAF colours were paraded since they were presented by the Governor General in September. The former colours were passed to the custody of the Toronto Maple Leafs in a ceremony in February. The setting of historic Air Force and Canadian airframes was a fitting reminder of the importance of the RCAF legacy, a history both commanders referenced in remarks to an audience of several hundred personnel, families and dignitaries, including seven former commanders, three former Chiefs of the Defence Staff (CDS), and three former deputy commanders of NORAD. The change of command is more than passing a torch, “it's poignant,” said CDS Gen Jonathan Vance. “[It] marks the very cadence of life in the armed forces.” Hood assumed command of the RCAF in July 2015, culminating a 33-year career that included many years in a CC-130 Hercules as well as staff tours with the Governor General, the United States Air Force, and in senior positions with the CAF and RCAF. He praised the “exceptional people” of the Air Force and their skill on operations. “You are inheriting a great team you helped build,” he told Meinzinger. Hood's one lament, he said, was the pace and lack of political agreement on vital procurement programs, in particular the replacement of the CF-188 Hornets. “While I'm happy [the new] defence policy has a lot of great opportunity for the Air Force, and we have a vision moving forward for an open and transparent competition for the replacement of the fighter, I can tell you it is not happening fast enough,” he said. “And I am going to continue to encourage, in my role as a civilian, the government to try and accelerate the acquisition of that replacement fighter.” Vance thanked Hood for his “sound and clear” advice on a number of complex files, including acquisition projects such as fighter jets and fixed-wing search and rescue aircraft, “ferocious advice” that was delivered in private and “honest execution delivered in public.” He also commended Hood for his efforts to instill a new generation of innovators within the RCAF by seeking out ideas from across the Air Force and seconding non-commissioned and junior officers to an entrepreneurial environment in a technology hub in Waterloo, Ont. “It speaks to your care for the future ... of the RCAF,” said Vance. Meinzinger, who served as deputy commander of the RCAF for two years under Hood, also applauded the innovation agenda and said he would, “continue to focus on innovation as we look to the future.” A CH-135 Twin Huey and CH-146 Griffon pilot with four flying tours, Meinzinger has served in a variety of senior staff roles in the CAF, RCAF and NORAD, most recently as director of staff in the Strategic Joint Staff under Gen Vance. He commanded the Joint Task Force Afghanistan air wing in Kandahar in 2011, overseeing air wing support to combat operations, and has led both the training and education systems as commanding officer of 403 Helicopter Operational Training Squadron in 2006 and later, in 2013, as commandant of the Royal Military College of Canada. His experience taught him the importance of “flying in formation” and working “as one team,” said Meinzinger. Born in Trenton and raised on the base, he said he was “indentured for life” and learned at an early age “what it means to be part of a military family.” His father, a chief warrant officer, served 36 years in the CAF. Meinzinger said he intends to maintain the RCAF reputation for excellence on operations. “Our ability to deliver air power effects in an integrated manner with precision, agility and professionalism is our true calling card.” But he also emphasized people as a personal priority at a time when the Air Force is wrestling with recruitment and, perhaps more challenging, retention. “In my view, the RCAF can only be successful ... if we have well-led, healthy, robust and inclusive squadrons and tactical units. I firmly believe that if we can get it right within our 39 flying units and 85 tactical units, our future will be all that brighter,” he said, pledging that decisions would be made with the understanding that squadrons “remain the life blood of the RCAF.”

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