27 octobre 2020 | Local, C4ISR, Autre défense

Bombardier Recreational Products suspends delivery of aircraft engines used on military drones

Bombardier Recreational Products suspends delivery of aircraft engines used on military drones

Canadian company says it only recently became aware the engines were powering military UAVs

Levon Sevunts

Bombardier Recreational Products (BRP) says it has suspended the delivery of aircraft engines to "countries with unclear usage" in the wake of reports that some of those engines are being used on Turkish combat drones deployed by Azerbaijan in fighting against Armenian forces in Nagorno-Karabakh.

The Quebec-based company — better known for its Ski-Doo and Lynx snowmobiles — said it became aware late last week that some of the recreational aircraft engines produced by its Austrian subsidiary, Rotax, are being used on Turkish Bayraktar TB2 unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs).

"We have recently been made aware that some Rotax engines are currently used in military UAVs, and have started a thorough investigation immediately," Martin Langelier, BPR's senior vice president and the company's spokesperson, told Radio Canada International in an email statement.

"In the meantime, we are suspending delivery of aircraft engines in countries with unclear usage."

Export controls and 'civilian' tech

Langelier said that all Rotax aircraft engines are designed and produced in Austria exclusively for civilian purposes and are certified for civilian use only.

Canada suspended most exports of defence technology to Turkey in October of 2019 following the Turkish invasion of northwestern Syria.

Michel Cimpaye, a spokesperson for Global Affairs Canada, said exports of items on the country's Export Control List require a permit only when exported from Canada.

Controlled goods and technology exported from another country, however, are subject to the export controls of that country, Cimpaye added.

Gabriele Juen, a spokesperson for the Austrian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said the Rotax engines are used in various motorsports and drones could be used "for a multitude of solely civilian purposes."

"The European Union Control List of Dual Use Items does not list the drone engine in question as a dual use good item," Juen said. "As a consequence, no approval permit is required under Austrian legislation that regulates the export of defence-related goods."

A loophole in arms control regimes

Kelsey Gallagher is a researcher with the disarmament group Project Ploughshares who has studied Canadian exports of drone technology to Turkey.

Gallagher said the matter of BRP recreational aircraft engines ending up on Turkish combat drones exposes a serious flaw in international arms control regimes.

"I think this speaks to the fact that components such as engines should more frequently fall under regulations that we see for what we deem to be more conventional weapons," he said. "Frequently, engines are not controlled as weapons systems even though they are integral, like other components, to the operation of a vehicle."

The Bayraktar TB2 drones also feature optical sensors and target designation systems produced by L3 Harris WESCAM in Burlington, Ont.

On Monday, defence officials in Armenia displayed what they claimed are parts of a Bayraktar TB2 drone and its Canadian-made optical and target acquisition systems, as well as its Rotax engine.

A spokesperson for the Armenian Ministry of Defence said another Turkish Bayraktar TB2 drone was shot down by Armenian air defence units during fighting in Nagorno-Karabakh on Thursday.

Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan has called on countries that supply components for the Turkish drone program to follow Canada's example and suspend all exports of such components to Turkey.

Fighting in the breakaway Nagorno-Karabakh region of Azerbaijan, which is populated by ethnic Armenians, began on Sept. 27. It's the most significant outburst of violence since a Russian-brokered ceasefire paused hostilities in 1994.

Armenia has repeatedly accused Turkey of supplying Azerbaijan with arms — including drones and F-16 fighter jets — as well as military advisers and jihadist Syrian mercenaries taking part in the fighting.

Armenian officials also have accused Azerbaijan of using the Turkish drones to not only target military forces but also to conduct strikes against civilian infrastructure across Nagorno-Karabakh and in Armenia proper.

Turkey and Azerbaijan have denied these reports. The Turkish embassy did not respond to a request for comment

Officials at Global Affairs Canada said they are investigating allegations regarding the possible use of Canadian technology in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict and "will continue to assess the situation."

Foreign Affairs Minister François-Philippe Champagne suspended the export permits for WESCAM optical sensors and target acquisition systems on Oct. 6.

However, senior Global Affairs officials speaking at Thursday's briefing for MPs on the situation in Nagorno-Karabakh could not explain why an exemption was made for these exports in the first place, given the embargo announced in 2019 and renewed in April of this year.

Appearing before the standing committee on foreign affairs and international development, Shalini Anand, acting director general for export controls at Global Affairs Canada, said she could not discuss the issue of the permits because of "commercial confidentiality."

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau specifically discussed the issue of WESCAM exports to Turkey with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan during a phone conversation in April, according to sources who spoke with Radio Canada International on condition of anonymity.

The issue was discussed again during their phone conversation on Oct. 16, according to the Prime Minister's Office.


Sur le même sujet

  • L’arrangement en matière d'approvisionnement, multiples ministères fédéraux, pour petits bateaux / Initiative de nettoyage des bateaux dans l'eau, multiples ministères fédéraux

    9 juillet 2020 | Local, Naval

    L’arrangement en matière d'approvisionnement, multiples ministères fédéraux, pour petits bateaux / Initiative de nettoyage des bateaux dans l'eau, multiples ministères fédéraux

    Présentation diffusée en date du 08 Juillet pour une mise à jour sur l'opportunité : https://achatsetventes.gc.ca/donnees-sur-l-approvisionnement/appels-d-offres/PW-MC-038-27824 Information sur l'arrangement en matière d'approvisionnement (AMA) Contexte Comment les fournisseurs peuvent se qualifier SA information Prochaines étapes Questions fréquemment posées Information sur l'Initiative de nettoyage des bateaux dans l'eau Contexte Demande de renseignements (DDR)  Prochaines étapes

  • Trump may have given Trudeau the excuse he needs to ditch the F-35 once and for all

    8 mai 2019 | Local, Aérospatial

    Trump may have given Trudeau the excuse he needs to ditch the F-35 once and for all

    David Pugliese, Ottawa Citizen The defence and aerospace industry is abuzz about the letters the U.S. government sent to Canada over the upcoming competition to acquire a new fleet of fighter jets to replace the RCAF’s CF-18s. In short, the Trump administration has given an ultimatum to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his government. If Canada insists that industrial and technological benefits must come from the outlay of $19 billion for a new fighter jet fleet then Lockheed Martin’s F-35 stealth jet is out of the race. Full stop. The U.S. argument is that because Canada is a partner in the F-35 program it cannot ask Lockheed Martin to meet specific industrial benefits for a Canadian competition if the F-35 is selected. Under the F-35 agreement, partner nations are prohibited from imposing requirements for industrial benefits as the work is determined on the best value basis. In other words, Canadian firms compete and if they are good enough they get work on the F-35 program. Over the last 12 years, Canadian firms have earned $1.3 billion U.S. for their work on building F-35 parts. The U.S. had boldly stated it cannot offer the F-35 for the Canadian competition if there are requirements to meet for set industrial benefits. But that ultimatum could seriously backfire on the Trump administration. Trudeau and the Liberal government has never been keen on the F-35 (Trudeau campaigned against purchasing the jet). There have also been a number of negative headlines over the last year outlining the increasing maintenance costs for the F-35s, not a good selling point for the jet. The U.S. ultimatum may have just given Trudeau a way out of his F-35 dilemma, particularly if the prime minister can say that it was it was the Americans themselves who decided not to enter the F-35 in the Canadian competition. Trudeau will also be able to point to the other firms ready and keen to chase the $19 billion contract. Airbus, a major player in Canada’s aerospace industry, says it is open to producing its Eurofighter Typhoon in Canada with the corresponding jobs that will create. Boeing, which has a significant presence in Canada, will offer the Super Hornet. Saab has also hinted about building its Gripen fighter in Canada if it were to receive the jet contract. To be sure, if the U.S. withdraws the F-35 from the competition, retired Canadian military officers and the defence analysts working for think-tanks closely aligned with the Department of National Defence be featured in news reports about how the Royal Canadian Air Force will be severely hindered without the F-35. Some Canadian firms involved in the F-35 program may complain publicly about lost work on the F-35 program but companies tend not criticize governments for fear they won’t receive federal contracts or funding in the future. There will be talk about how U.S.-Canada defence relations will be hurt but then critics will counter that U.S. President Donald Trump used national security provisions to hammer Canada in ongoing trade disputes. And let’s face it. Defence issues are rarely a factor in federal elections or in domestic politics. The Trump administration, which is not the most popular among Canadians, may have just given Trudeau a political gift. https://nationalpost.com/news/national/defence-watch/trump-may-have-given-trudeau-the-excuse-he-needs-to-ditch-the-f-35/wcm/08b1313f-81eb-4adc-9ebf-b54ffc19c2c7

  • Criteria for “Boeing clause” in fighter jet competition to be outlined in the new year

    31 décembre 2018 | Local, Aérospatial

    Criteria for “Boeing clause” in fighter jet competition to be outlined in the new year

    DAVID PUGLIESE, OTTAWA CITIZEN In October, the Canadian government sent out its draft request for proposals to aerospace firms expected to bid on replacing the CF-18 fighter jets. The aircraft that are being considered in this competition are Lockheed Martin’s F-35, the Eurofighter Typhoon, Saab’s Gripen and the Boeing Super Hornet. The aerospace companies will provide feedback on the draft request for proposals and after that is received the final RFP will be issued and bids required by May 2019. Industry is expected to provide feedback on a number of issues, including the so-called “Boeing clause.” The Canadian government has introduced the change to the standard procurement process with a new provision that defence analysts say was aimed directly at Boeing. The move came after the U.S. firm complained to the Trump administration that its Quebec-based competitor Bombardier was receiving unfair Canadian government subsidies on the production of its C-Series civilian passenger aircraft. The U.S. ruled in favour of Boeing, resulting in Bombardier facing duties of almost 300 per cent on sales of its C-Series planes in America. The Liberal government retaliated against Boeing’s complaint by cancelling plans to buy 18 of the company’s Super Hornet fighter jets at a cost of around $6 billion.  In addition, as part of the competition for the new fighter jets, Canada announced it would assess a company’s “economic behavior” in the years leading up to the competition. Navdeep Bains, the Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development, said if a firm has caused economic harm to Canada that would be at a distinct disadvantage in the fighter jet competition. But the Canadian government hasn’t yet outlined its criteria for the controversial clause. Jeff Waring, director general for industrial benefits policy at Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada recently told Esprit de Corps military magazine that the federal government is “still finalizing the assessment tool” for that clause and will continue to discuss the issue with industry. The details for the clause will be outlined before the final request for proposals is issued, he added. https://ottawacitizen.com/news/national/defence-watch/criteria-for-boeing-clause-in-fighter-jet-competition-to-be-outlined-in-the-new-year

Toutes les nouvelles