24 décembre 2018 | Local, Aérospatial

Canada to deploy cargo plane part time for UN missions in new year

Murray Brewster · CBC News

A Canadian military Hercules transport will soon begin once-a-week support missions for United Nations peacekeeping operations in Africa, the country's top military commander said.

Those flights, by a C-130J, will eventually morph to a full-fledged deployment and deliver on the second in a long list of capabilities promised over a year ago by the Liberal government at a star-studded international conference in Vancouver.

Gen. Jonathan Vance, chief of the defence staff, refused to be pinned down to a specific date when asked in a year-end interview with CBC News.

His remarks were made prior to last weekend's quick, clandestine trip by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to visit Canadian aircrew and personnel taking part in the UN mission in Mali.

'This hasn't been done before'

The aircraft being used will split its time between supporting operations in Iraq and flying out Entebbe, Uganda, for the UN.

A letter to assist, which sets out the terms of the arrangement with the UN, has yet to be finalized and Vance defended the amount of time it has taken to fulfil what was expected to be an easy promise.

"This hasn't been done before," he said. "It's pretty new. This is Canada offering up a capability where there wasn't necessarily a capability before."

Usually as peace support operations unfold the UN makes requests for specific military equipment and personnel. But with the medium-lift cargo plane, Vance said, Canadian planners pointed out to the UN the need for an aircraft to support operations in Africa.

"There's always need for air power," he said.

There has been frustration with Canada at UN headquarters in New York. After many lofty, high-profile words of political support, the Liberal government has over the last three years turned down a number of specific peacekeeping requests, including mission command posts.

A copy of the 2017 list of requests for multilateral peace operations — known internally within government as the evergreen list — was obtained by CBC News under access-to-information legislation.

It shows that after being spurned throughout 2016 the UN appeared to scale back what it asked of Canada to only a handful of assignments involving single soldiers or pairs of soldiers, for leadership training or advising missions.

Trudeau touts Mali mission as success

Over the weekend in Mali, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau refused to extend the anticipated mid-summer end of Canada's helicopter support mission in the war-torn country. The UN requested the time to cover an anticipated gap between the current detachment and the arrival of the Romanian relief force.

He declared the Mali mission to be a success and even suggested it was contributing to the peace process in that country by giving UN operations more certainty.

Canada's approach of sharing its expertise and refined equipment is, Trudeau insisted, the best approach.

"Part of the way Canada can best help involves coming, taking on an operation, demonstrating how it can be done in the absolute best possible way and helping others gain in those capacities," he said while answering questions from reporters on Saturday.

Even still, there remains a long list of unfulfilled promises to the UN, said Walter Dorn, a professor of defence studies at the Canadian Forces College.

At the Vancouver conference, the Liberal government promised to deliver a quick reaction force of 200 soldiers for a future peacekeeping mission as well as military training for other less experienced countries that contribute to operations.

It also pledged to help get more women involved in peacekeeping through a measure known as the Elsie Initiative.

That, Dorn said, is "inching along," with two partner countries, Ghana and Zambia, selected earlier this year, "but I haven't heard of actual progress."

Vance said he is working with a three-to-five year timeline, and the initiatives promised in Vancouver were not intended to be delivered all at once.


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  • Trade tribunal calls for review of west coast vessel contract

    9 janvier 2019 | Local, Naval, Sécurité

    Trade tribunal calls for review of west coast vessel contract

    DAVID PUGLIESE, OTTAWA CITIZEN The Canadian International Trade Tribunal is recommending a review of key performance requirements used in the procurement of two emergency towing vessels for the west coast. Heiltsuk Horizon, a partnership of majority partner Heiltsuk Nation of Bella Bella, British Columbia and Horizon Maritime Services Limited, a Canadian marine services company, complained to the CITT in August that the winning supplier did not meet important safety requirements of the tender process. The CITT has recommended Public Services and Procurement Canada re-evaluate some of its mandatory requirements and that no further expenditure under the contact be undertaken. However, the tribunal also recommended that the contract remain with the winning bidder, Atlantic Services Limited/Atlantic Towing, until the evaluation can be completed. In August, the federal government announced the firm had been awarded a three-year contract worth $67 million for the lease of two emergency offshore towing vessels that would operate in the waters off the coast of British Columbia. The vessels were to be capable of towing large commercial ships in distress, such as tankers and container ships, before they get too close to shore, according to the federal government. As part of the contract, the firm, which is an Irving company, would also provide training in offshore emergency towing to Canadian Coast Guard personnel and partners, including Indigenous communities, involved in marine safety. But Heiltsuk Horizon challenged that award, pointing out that the contract was awarded without the required proof the vessels met the mandated towing power. The firm welcomed the CITT ruling. “From day one, we stated the procurement process was flawed,” Chief Councillor Marilyn Slett, Heiltsuk Nation, Bella Bella, BC, said in a statement Tuesday. In a letter to Heiltsuk Horizon, the CITT recommends Public Services and Procurement Canada reevaluate the “bollard pull” (towing power) of the vessels in all bids received. The CITT also awarded Heiltsuk Horizon costs incurred in submitting the complaint. In a statement late Tuesday, Public Services and Procurement Canada noted it is currently reviewing the CITT’s reasons and recommendations in order to determine its next steps. “The contract with Atlantic Towing remains in place,” it added. “Given the importance of the services provided by the Emergency Offshore Towing Vessels in the context of Canada’s Oceans Protection Plan, these services will continue. It is important to note that one of the two vessels has already been used in an emergency situation.” Mary Keith, vice president of communications for Irving, issued a statement from Atlantic Towing, pointing out that the tribunal did not declare the firm’s bid non-compliant. “This is good news and reaffirms the integrity of the rigorous and transparent award process by PWGSC that also involved a third party fairness monitor,” the statement added. “The Tribunal has requested verification of one item and we are confident in our full compliance.  The Bollard Pull on our vessels are verified and certified by one of the world’s leading marine certification companies.” https://ottawacitizen.com/news/national/defence-watch/trade-tribunal-calls-for-review-of-west-coast-vessel-contract

  • PropWorks: Sustained growth over 2 decades

    18 décembre 2019 | Local, Aérospatial

    PropWorks: Sustained growth over 2 decades

    by Ken Pole Ever since French engineer Henri Giffard flew a hydrogen-filled dirigible 27 kilometres from Paris to Elancourt in September 1852, the propeller was for nearly a century the only way to sustain powered flight. It would be another 51 years before Orville and Wilbur Wright used this “airscrew” technology in the first flight of a powered fixed-wing aircraft at Kitty Hawk, N.C. The Wright brothers also came up with the idea of adding a twist to each blade, giving a more consistent angle of attack. Despite the advent and evolution of jets since the early 1940s, propellers have remained the preferred option for smaller aircraft. But, as with all things mechanical, they require maintenance and repair. That has enabled Winnipeg-based PropWorks Propeller Systems Inc. to become the largest company of its kind in Western Canada. “Winnipeg is where we started, on the fringe of James Richardson International Airport,” company president Jim Ross, one of the founding investors, told Skies. “The company was incorporated in October 1999 and we moved into our building in December 1999.” Winnipeg is home to about two-thirds of the total staff of 30 with the rest at its shop in Edmonton. PropWorks is now privately held by Ross along with a pair of Calgary-based investors, Lorne Gray, who owns the Aircraft Canada sales and appraisal firm, and AvMax Group Inc. “I’m the only constant,” he laughed, quickly adding that some of his employees also are long-term. Before the company was founded, Ross spent 15 years with Cessna Aircraft Co., doing finance and some marketing until it shut down its Winnipeg facility in 1992. So he began marketing for several aviation-related companies, one of which was Western Propeller. When Western decided to close the Winnipeg facility seven years later, to focus on their Edmonton and Vancouver centres, Ross and an original group of investors bought the equipment, moved it into a leased 6,500-square-foot building and began operations with just five employees. It relocated to a new 12,000-square-foot building in April 2015. The Edmonton shop, which opened in December 2006, was moved in December 2017 to a 14,000-square-foot building at Villeneuve Airport, the area’s main general aviation and flight training hub. PropWorks’ employees, whose experience tallies up to more than 150 years, provide services which “meet or exceed” original equipment manufacturers’ specifications. “Sometimes we’ll go an extra step with such things with non-destructive testing that we feel gives our customers a bit of added comfort,” Ross explained. “We have a dedicated non-destructive testing room” where blades, hubs and related components are tested before propellers are reassembled and balanced. NDT procedures include magnetic particle inspection, liquid penetrants, eddy current and ultrasonic inspection. In addition to being an Avia Propeller Service Centre, PropWorks overhauls and repairs most models of Hamilton Standard, Hamilton Sundstrand, McCauley, Dowty, MT, Sensenich and Hartzell propellers. (On a historical note, Ohio-based Hartzell dates to 1917 when Robert Hartzell, a pilot whose family owned a hardwood lumber factory and who had noticed a high failure rate in wood propellers, began producing hand-carved walnut units at the suggestion of longtime friend Orville Wright.) To this day, Hartzell prizes and cultivates customer loyalty in having built its global reputation, and so does PropWorks, which has customers in Canada, the U.S. and around the world. Ross said that as with most businesses, “it’s about the people as much as the product.” One of his people is director of maintenance Mike Hudec, who had been with Western Propeller and now is his longest-term employee. Cliff Arntson, manager in Edmonton and Mike Wagner, assistant manager in Edmonton have a combined 84 years experience with propellers. Much of the U.S. business is with customers in the border markets of Minnesota and the Dakotas. PropWorks has three trucks which pick up the propellers for work in Winnipeg and Edmonton. “Our customers like that service,” said Ross. His most distant customer is AvMax, which has a base in Nairobi, Kenya, and he has other large customers primarily Canada and U.S. based. PropWorks draws on a variety of sources for its employees, including the Stevenson Campus of Red River College in Winnipeg. They come out of the aviation maintenance engineer (AME) stream but are not certified AMEs because they haven’t gone through the requisite apprentice program when they join PropWorks. “They can’t do that in a propeller shop because that wouldn’t give them a broad enough base to qualify as AMEs,” said Ross. “There’s no AME licence for propellers; there was at one time but not for many years now.” The general preference is “somebody with a good mechanical aptitude who we can put in our own training program,” he added. “It takes one to two years for them to become proficient.” Asked to explain the difference between overhaul and repair, Ross said the former involves disassembly, discarding parts mandated for replacement, installing new ones and then putting the entire assembly through NDT before it’s painted, reassembled and balanced. That means it’s a “zero time” propeller when it leaves the shop. Repairs, on the other hand, can involve a range of things such as dealing with blade nicks or leaking hub seals. If that’s all that is done, the propeller leaves the shop as “time continued.” Like everything in aviation, propellers have long since evolved since those early fixed wood two-bladed configurations. “The simple ones nowadays are the fixed-pitch propellers that you’d see on your most basic flight training airplane,” said Ross, who is part-owner of a Cessna 172 and has about 1,000 hours logged. “Then it goes all the way up, through two-bladed constant-speed propellers to three-, four- and even five-bladed propellers.” The most complex ones are Hamilton Sundstrand propellers on the Dash 8 twin turboprop introduced by de Havilland Canada in 1984 and last built by Bombardier Aerospace in 2005. “They simply take more time,” said Ross. 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It’s adding to our capabilities – that way more customers are likely to send their work to us.” While he could only guess at the number of corporate or private propeller-driven aircraft in Canada, he did venture that “it’s not a dying market” which bodes well for the future. https://www.skiesmag.com/news/propworks-sustained-growth-over-2-decads

  • L3Harris Technologies awarded $380 Million IDIQ contract for Westcam MX-Series products and support

    22 juillet 2020 | Local, Aérospatial

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