8 juin 2020 | Local, Aérospatial

CAF inks deal with Bombardier to replace two 30-year-old Challenger aircraft

The Government of Canada recently announced it is replacing two Bombarder Challenger 601 utility aircraft with two Challenger 650s for the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) to allow for continuation of mission critical roles. The retiring aircraft that entered service in the 1980s fall short of operational requirements and are nearly obsolete due to new rules in the United States and Europe that will restrict their ability to fly internationally before the end of this year.

The replacement ensures CAF can continue to operate a modern and flexible utility flight service fleet that serves a variety of roles — including reconnaissance and liaison missions with international partners, and the speedy deployment of specialized capabilities and expertise, including the Disaster Assistance Response Team.

Without this needed replacement, the Royal Canadian Air Force’s operational effectiveness for missions would be limited. The aircraft are used for the medical evacuation of military personnel serving overseas and the safe transport of CAF medical personnel and specialized equipment in the critical first few hours and days of someone being wounded. They are also used for the safe extraction and repatriation of personnel and citizens. The fleet further provides the ability to transport specialized teams from Canada to operational theatres around the world. Earlier this month, a Challenger quickly brought Royal Canadian Navy search experts to Naples, Italy, to support the search for the Cyclone helicopter lost in the Ionian Sea.

This fleet provides critical abilities here at home. It has been used in the whole-of-government effort to support Northern, Indigenous and remote communities during COVID-19. In May 2020, it supported the delivery of COVID-19 testing supplies to Nunavut. The aircraft have been at the ready to help provincial and territorial partners with medical evacuations, if required.

This fleet is also critical in facilitating the travel of senior government officials, as well as Parliamentarians from all parties due to security and safety considerations.

The CAF’s existing Challenger fleet consists of four aircraft, two purchased in the early 1980s and two purchased in the early 2000s. With the implementation of new international regulatory and interoperability requirements in 2020, only half of the fleet is fully compliant with international standards.

That is why the Department of National Defence has been working on this consolidation initiative since 2018, and why the government entered into a contract with Bombardier this week, after negotiating the most cost-effective option for these capabilities, which were accounted and paid with existing funds in SSE’s fiscal framework.

The Challenger 650 aircraft is the current production version of the model that the CAF currently operates. This commonality will result in significant benefits in efficiency, cost, and interoperability, both in terms of training and support to operations.

“This purchase is another example of our government’s commitment to provide the Canadian Armed Forces with the modern equipment they need to carry out the critical work we ask of them. This fleet is a crucial operational capability and ensuring its continuity is another important investment in our women and men in uniform,” said Harjit S. Sajjan, minister of National Defence.

“While helping to fulfill the Royal Canadian Air Force’s (RCAF) operational requirements, this purchase also demonstrates our commitment to Canada’s world-class aerospace industry. Having this ready, off-the-shelf option also offers long-term value to the RCAF and to Canada,” said Anita Anand, minister of Public Services and Procurement Canada.


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  • Opinion: How To Assess Defense Prospects For The Future

    10 octobre 2019 | Local, Aérospatial, Naval, Terrestre, C4ISR, Sécurité

    Opinion: How To Assess Defense Prospects For The Future

    Byron Callan  During upcoming earnings conference calls, expect some defense contractors to again state that they are well-positioned in high-priority programs and markets that fully align with customer priorities. In addition, planners and analysts are going to be asking a lot more questions about contractor positioning and the outcome of the 2020 U.S. election. Who will be best positioned if President Donald Trump is reelected or if there is a Democrat in the White House in 2021? On the first assertion of “well-positioned,” to a degree it is axiomatic. Defense requirements are validated, so by that very process, they take priority over emerging and yet-to-be-funded requirements. However, if one accepts the premises that Defense Department budgets may be flat for a multi-year period and that demand signals for security are going to rise, the sector will be entering a far more dynamic period in the 2020s than the past 4-5 years. Instead of being “well-positioned,” a broader set of filters may need to be applied. Posture may be a better way to assess contractor outlooks. There are five attributes on which this may be assessed. 1. The priority and relative safety of programs matters both in U.S. and international markets. But that needs to be assessed and reassessed against changed defense needs. Today’s major programs of record are likely to change. If there is doubt on that issue, a reading of the U.S. Marine Corps Commandant’s Planning Guidance released last July may dispel notions that the next 10 years are going to be stable and predictable. 2. One contractor can disrupt others through new product and service offerings or even a new business model. Examples of the former include Boeing’s T-X/T-7 aircraft, which, if evolved into a fighter/attack aircraft, may be good enough for some missions. Kratos’ Valkyrie is another example, which could affect demand for manned combat aircraft. On the latter, the Pentagon now intends to purchase launch services instead of expendable launch vehicles. Where else might these sorts of “as a service” models be applied? 3. The pipeline of bid opportunities: There are some large programs that are in competition and for which decisions are pending. The Ground-Based Strategic Deterrent, Long-Range Standoff, Army aviation and ground-vehicle modernization and Navy FFG(X) programs are some of the larger ones that could be decided, but there also are classified ones and swaths of opportunity in unmanned systems, hypersonics, software for data and artificial intelligence, and cybersecurity. International opportunity also clearly matters in assessing how a contractor is postured.  4. The ability to execute within cost and schedule is essential. Human capital, technology application and risk, contracting and supply chain management are critical attributes. This also will tie into the bid pipeline and the degree to which a contractor is postured to pursue new opportunities or if the contractor will have challenges managing its current portfolio of products and services. From the outside looking in at contractors, this attribute may be difficult to measure. Open job position data can be sketchy, but it is one metric to consider. Performance on current programs is another.  5. Contractor culture will be critical in the 2020s. One aspect of culture is how well a contractor anticipates potential changes in defense and security needs. Another is how receptive company leaders are to positioning or repositioning to capitalize on those changes. There will not be solid metrics here, although there are plenty of good questions to ask. In order to anticipate change, contractors are going to have to be wired to understand when and where change is occurring. This has to allow perspectives that may differ from the consensus view to reach leaders so they can assess whether ideas are worth pursuing or if there is a threat to be addressed. Part of this posture entails a willingness to create top cover and breathing space for conflicting views.  There will be a natural tendency of company leaders to continue to exploit current business models and protect major products and services. There will likely be very strong pressure from shareholders to sustain or increase operational margins and cash flow and stay within current business lanes. Posture, however, may also include a willingness to take some short-term or even intermediate-term pain and risk in order to better position for the future.  Innovation is an overused term these days, and it may be like former Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart’s assertion on obscenity: “I know it when I see it.” Be that as it may, contractors must dedicate time to innovation every week in order to achieve it. https://aviationweek.com/defense/opinion-how-assess-defense-prospects-future

  • Boeing, Partners Commit to Boost Canadian Economy by $61 Billion

    29 octobre 2020 | Local, Aérospatial, Terrestre, C4ISR, Sécurité

    Boeing, Partners Commit to Boost Canadian Economy by $61 Billion

    Through five new agreements, Boeing [NYSE: BA] and its Canadian aerospace partners are preparing to deliver C$61 billion and nearly 250,000 jobs to the Canadian economy. “Canada is one of Boeing’s most enduring partners and has continuously demonstrated that they have a robust and capable industry supporting both our commercial and defence businesses,” said Charles “Duff” Sullivan, Boeing Canada managing director. “The large scale and scope of these Canadian projects reinforces Boeing’s commitment to Canada and gives us an opportunity to build on our motto of promises made, promises kept.” According to new data and projections from economists at Ottawa-based Doyletech Corp., the total economic benefits to Canada and its workforce for the acquisition of the F/A-18 Block III Super Hornet will last for at least 40 years and benefit all regions thanks to billions of dollars in economic growth. A Super Hornet selection for the Future Fighter Capability Project (FFCP) is also expected to deliver hundreds of thousands of high paying jobs critical to the country’s economic recovery. “At a time when Canada is working toward recovery efforts coming out of the pandemic, a Super Hornet selection would provide exactly the boost that we need,” said Rick Clayton, economist at Doyletech Corp. “Boeing and its Super Hornet industry partners have a long track record of delivering economic growth to Canada, which gave us the confidence that our data and detailed projections are extremely accurate.” Today’s announcement includes partnerships with five of Canada’s largest aerospace companies outlining how they would benefit from a Block III Super Hornet selection in the FFCP: CAE (Montreal, Quebec): Boeing and CAE’s Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) outlines the implementation of a comprehensive training solution for the Block III Super Hornet based in Canada and under full control of the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF). This includes full mission simulators and part task training devices for pilot training and maintenance technician training, courseware, as well as Contractor Logistics Support, Training Support Services, and Facilities Services to support RCAF training. L3Harris Technologies (Mirabel, Quebec): The extensive MOU includes a wide range of sustainment services, including depot and base maintenance, engineering and publications support for the Canadian Super Hornet fleet; potential for other Super Hornet depot work; and maintenance scope for Canada’s CH-147 Chinook fleet. Peraton Canada (Calgary, Alberta): Boeing and Peraton currently work closely together on CF-18 upgrades. This work will expand to include a full range of Super Hornet avionic repair and overhaul work in Canada. Raytheon Canada Limited (Calgary, Alberta): Boeing and Raytheon Canada’s MOU outlines the implementation of large-scale supply chain and warehousing services at Cold Lake and Bagotville to support the new Super Hornet fleet, as well as potential depot avionics radar support. GE Canada Aviation (Mississauga, Ontario): In cooperation with its parent organization, GE Canada will continue to provide both onsite maintenance, repair and overhaul support services for the F414 engines used on the Super Hornet, as well as technical services and engineering within Canada in support of RCAF operations and aircraft engine sustainment. Boeing and its partners have delivered on billions of dollars in industrial and technological benefits obligations dating back more than 25 years. The work started with the sale of the F/A-18s in the mid-1980s and progressed through more recent obligations including acquisition of and sustainment work on the C-17 Globemaster and the CH-47F Chinooks to meet Canada’s domestic and international missions. In 2019 Boeing’s direct spending rose to C$2.3 billion, a 15% increase in four years. When the indirect and induced effects are calculated, this amount more than doubles to C$5.3 billion, with 20,700 jobs, according to Doyletech. Boeing’s long-standing partnership with Canada dates back to 1919, when Bill Boeing made the first international airmail delivery from Vancouver to Seattle. Today, Canada is among Boeing’s largest international supply bases, with more than 500 major suppliers spanning every region of the country. With nearly 1,500 employees, Boeing Canada supplies composite parts for all current Boeing commercial airplane models and supports Canadian airlines and the Canadian Armed Forces with products and services. Boeing is the world’s largest aerospace company and leading provider of commercial airplanes, defense, space and security systems, and global services. As a top U.S. exporter, the company supports commercial and government customers in more than 150 countries. Building on a legacy of aerospace leadership, Boeing continues to lead in technology and innovation, deliver for its customers and invest in its people and future growth. https://www.miragenews.com/boeing-partners-commit-to-boost-canadian-economy-by-61-billion/

  • Royal Canadian Air Force wants more than a few good pilots as it’s losing many of them to commercial jobs

    13 février 2019 | Local, Aérospatial

    Royal Canadian Air Force wants more than a few good pilots as it’s losing many of them to commercial jobs

    by Lee Berthiaume The Canadian Press OTTAWA — A shortage of experienced pilots is forcing the Royal Canadian Air Force to walk a delicate line between keeping enough seasoned aviators available to train new recruits and lead missions in the air. Air Force commander Lt.-Gen. Al Meinzinger described the balancing act during a recent interview in which he also revealed many pilots today are likely to have less experience than counterparts in similar positions 10 years ago. Much of the problem can be traced back to veteran aviators leaving for commercial jobs, or other opportunities outside the military, forcing senior commanders into a juggling act over where to put those still in uniform. "In order to (support) your training system ... you've got to pull experienced pilots into those positions, but you have to have experienced pilots on the squadrons to season the youth that are joining the units," he said. "So it's a bit of a delicate balance. And when you're in a situation where you don't have as much experience, broadly speaking, you've got to balance that very carefully. Hence the idea of retaining as much talent as we can." Fixing the problems created by the shortage will become especially critical if the Air Force is to be ready for the arrival of replacements for the CF-18s. Meinzinger said such transitions from one aircraft to another are particularly difficult — the RCAF needs to keep the same number of planes in the air to fly missions and have senior aviators train new pilots, while still sending seasoned pilots for training on the incoming fleet. "Ideally you want to go into those transitions very, very healthy with 100 per cent manning and more experience than you could ever imagine," Meinzinger said. While he is confident the military can address its pilot shortage in the next few years, especially when it comes to those responsible for manning Canada's fighter jets, the stakes to get it right are extremely high. The federal auditor general reported in November that the military doesn't have enough pilots and mechanics to fly and maintain the country's CF-18 fighter jets. Air Force officials revealed in September they were short 275 pilots and need more mechanics, sensor operators and other trained personnel across different aircraft fleets. There are concerns the deficit will get worse as a result of explosive growth predicted in the global commercial airline sector, which could pull many experienced military pilots out of uniform. "That's the expectation, that Canada will need an additional 7,000 to 8,000 pilots just to nourish the demands within the Canadian aerospace sector," Meinzinger said. "And we don't have the capacity as a nation to produce even half of that." Within the military, there also haven't been enough new pilots produced to replace those who have left. The auditor general found that while 40 fighter pilots recently left the Forces, only 30 new ones were trained. The military is working on a contract for a new training program that will let the Air Force increase the number of new pilots trained in a given year when necessary, as the current program allows only a fixed number to be produced. Meanwhile, Meinzinger said the loss of more seasoned pilots means others are being asked to take on more responsibility earlier in their careers, though he denied any significant impact on training or missions. He said the military is managing the situation through the use of new technology, such as simulators, to ensure the Air Force can still do its job. "There's no doubt commanding officers today in RCAF squadrons, they have probably less flying hours than they did 10 years ago," he said. "What that (commanding officer) has today is probably an exposure to 21st-century technology and training. So I think that certainly offsets the reduction of flying hours." Meinzinger and other top military commanders are nonetheless seized with the importance of keeping veteran pilots in uniform to ensure those climbing into the cockpit for the first time have someone to look to for guidance — now and in the future. New retention strategies are being rolled out that include better support for military families, increased certainty for pilots in terms of career progression and a concerted effort to keep them in the cockpit and away from desks and administrative work. Other militaries, notably the U.S., that are struggling with a shortage of pilots have introduced financial bonuses and other measures to stay in uniform. Meinzinger couldn't commit to such an initiative, but did say that "nothing is off the table." The situation may not represent an existential crisis, at least not yet, but officials know it is one that needs to be addressed if Canada's Air Force is to continue operating at top levels for the foreseeable future. "Experience is what allows us to (transfer knowledge) and grow for the future," Meinzinger said. "And that's why I talk about it as being kind of the centre of gravity. In the extreme, if you lose all your experience, you can't regenerate yourself." https://www.thespec.com/news-story/9169169-royal-canadian-air-force-wants-more-than-a-few-good-pilots-as-it-s-losing-many-of-them-to-commercial-jobs/

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