11 novembre 2017 | Local, Aérospatial

Canadian air chief looks to speed up up fighter buy

DUBAI — Canada will kick start its competition for a future fighter jet in 2019 with the hopes of awarding a contract by 2021, but the head of the Royal Canadian Air Force wants the process to move as quickly as possible.

“The plan right now is to have a request for proposal out to industry by 2019. we’re in discussions and have been in discussions with a number of the people who are considering competing for that, and what I’d like to see is that accelerated as much as possible,” said RCAF commander Lt. Gen. Michael Hood, in an exclusive interview with Defense News.

“A 2019 RFP would get us into contract probably by 2021, and certainly my advice to government is the sooner the better.”

The RCAF wants to procure 88 fighter jets to replace its current inventory of aging 76 F/A-18 Hornets, which are nearing the end of their lifespans.

Canada is an international participant in the F-35 joint strike fighter program and has helped pay for the development of the aircraft. But Prime Minister Justin Trudeau vowed not to procure the F-35 during his campaign, and his government has opened up the competition to industry instead of moving forward with a sole-source acquisition. The Eurofighter Typhoon, Dassault Rafale, Boeing Super Hornet and Saab’s Gripen E are all projected to compete for the opportunity.

To bridge the gap between its Hornet fleet and a future fighter, the RCAF initially intended to procure 18 F/A-18 Super Hornets from Boeing — a move some analysts speculated could trigger a larger procurement later on. However, the Canadian government suspended the deal due to Boeing’s legal complaint against Canadian aerospace company Bombardier over its commercial business.

With a Super Hornet buy unlikely as long as Boeing and Bombardier feud, and Trudeau’s promise not to buy the F-35, U.S. defense experts worry that Canada could be driven into the arms of a European fighter manufacturer, thus eroding Canada’s long tradition of flying U.S. jets — a move that increases the militaries’ interoperability.

However, Hood stated that interoperability with the United States continues to be “the most important thing to me as command of the Royal Canadian Air Force.”

“Every step less of interoperability is one step less of effectiveness, so interoperability is right at the top of the list beside operational advantage,” he said. “I want the young men and women that are going to be flying fighters into harm’s way to have an operational advantage, and that will be key to me in the competition that’s coming.”

That need for interoperability with the U.S. Air Force does not diminish the chances of European fighters, he added.

Canada continues to investigate alternative ways to acquire an interim fleet of F/A-18s, including potentially buying used Hornets from Australia. However, a potential deal for Super Hornets with Boeing is still on the table, Hood said.

“I think the government has been presented with the FMS case for Boeing. And as they’re looking at options, that’s one option,” he said. “The Australian aircraft are another, and the government has not made a decision yet.”

If the RCAF moves forward with a used Hornet buy from Australia, it will have to extend the lives of the airframes, which are meeting their structural ends, Hood noted. That business would likely go to L3 Technologies, which has done life extension work on the Canadian F/A-18s in the past. But Canada would still be able to acquire the aircraft “within the next couple of years” once a decision is made.

Lockheed officials have said that if Canada ultimately decided not to procure the F-35, it could end its industrial partnership with Canadian firms — which totals 110 Canadian companies with $750 million in contracts, according to Lockheed — that already help manufacture the F-35.

However, asked whether Canada was concerned about losing that business, Hood demurred.

“I’m not privy to the industrial aspects of our partnership with Lockheed Martin,” he said. “What I can say is Lockheed Martin is a fantastic partner for Canada and for the Royal Canadian Air Force, has been for years. We remain very, very strongly engaged both in the joint project office and helping to continue with the development of the F-35, and Canadian companies continue to bid and win on contracts with that.”


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  • The Canadian Space Agency Awards $15 Million for Technology R&D to 25 Companies

    31 mai 2019 | Local, Aérospatial

    The Canadian Space Agency Awards $15 Million for Technology R&D to 25 Companies

    Marc Boucher The Canadian Space Agency (CSA) has awarded just over $15 million in funding to 25 companies for its Space Technology Development Program (STDP). The announcement today is part of the CSA’s ongoing efforts to fund a variety of technologies at different development stages. Some of the notable awards include UrtheCast receiving $2 million in two contracts. These contracts are important for the struggling company as it continues its transformation into a leaner company. Exonetik Inc.of Sherbrooke, Quebec received a $250K contract for its Magnethorheological Robotic Arms for Space proposal. Startup C6, with ambitions to build a small launch vehicle, received a $72K contract for its STARS (Space Transmission and Reception System) Feasibility Study while ARTsensing received $489K contract for its Nanotechnology-Based Radiation Shields proposal. The STDP contracts were awarded in four segments. Space Research and Development: High Technology Readiness Level The CSA describes this segment as: “The companies were awarded non-repayable contributions of up to $1 million for space R&D projects that have a high initial technology readiness level (TRL), between TRL 4 and TRL 6. These projects are expected to last up to three years and produce economic benefits in the next two to five years.” The companies getting contracts are; Honeywell Aerospace – Cambridge, Ontario (COM DEV Ltd.) $1,000,000 Optical Pointing and Tracking Relay Assembly for Communication (OPTRAC) Advanced Development Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellite constellations currently under development will require the use of high-speed optical inter-satellite links to move vast amounts of data from satellite to satellite. To achieve this, satellite optical terminals will need precision acquisition and tracking capabilities to establish and maintain tightly focused optical communications links. This project will develop a system that performs better, can be manufactured faster, and costs less than existing designs. This project will secure a critical new role in space communications and maintain Canada’s dominant position in space-based communications hardware. It will enhance communication abilities and support better monitoring of water systems, greenhouse gas emissions, and fires, improved forestry and farm management, and enhanced sovereignty and security. Kepler Communications Inc. – Toronto, Ontario $1,000,000 Next generation telecommunications nano satellite Telecommunications companies are looking to buy fleets of very small satellites, commonly referred to as nanosatellites, but industry’s ability to handle this scale of manufacturing is limited. To meet the growing demand, new manufacturing processes to build low-cost, high performance, nanosatellites are needed. This project will create a new Canadian satellite platform that can rapidly fill large orders of nanosatellites and meet specific cost and performance requirements. The project also includes designing and testing cost-effective, space-ready parts like integrated electronic flight systems, solar panels that track the sun, antennas, sensors, and batteries that will be scaled to fit on nanosatellites. This work will position Canada as a leader in the nanosatellite industry and provide new forms of export revenue, in addition to providing public access to new communication services that will serve the entire country. MPB Communications Inc. – Pointe-Claire, Quebec $999,999 A Cost-Effective Ultra-High Throughput Space-Based Optical Link Large amounts of data move around the world through fiber-optic cables. However, in places where running cables is impractical, satellites are used instead. Optical links provide the critical connections that allow data to move between stations on Earth and satellite constellations in space. This project will test different approaches to develop a system that can transfer data at rates that are 10 times faster than what is possible with current technologies. The project will answer important questions about how the optical links will function in space, such as under extreme weather conditions and limited electrical power. As a result, the system will be cost-effective, scalable for different data sizes, and space ready. It will position Canada as an important leader in satellite optical communication systems, increase the industry’s competitive advantage, and develop highly qualified personnel. UrtheCast Corporation – Vancouver, British Columbia $1,000,000 A Novel Self-Cueing TCPED Cycle for High Resolution Wide Swath SAR Imaging Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) satellites are used to scan vast areas of ocean to reliably detect any ships that are there. These wide area scans produce low-resolution images, but high-resolution images are needed to identify illegal activities like unregulated fishing. A new satellite called SAR-XL has two independent radars—one that takes wide angle, low-resolution images, and another than produces high-resolution ones. This project will develop software and systems to allow both of the satellite’s radars to work together to first detect the presence of objects like ships and sea ice, and then zoom in to identify them. These updates to SAR satellite technology will improve maritime surveillance activities by providing accurate, timely information about everything happening in Canada’s maritime zones. This work supports important activities, such as monitoring the Artic, identifying ships in distress, maintaining Canadian sovereignty in the North, and protecting the border against illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing and trafficking. UrtheCast Corporation – Vancouver, British Columbia $997,342 Automated Calibration and Validation of Optical Satellite Constellations A new set of six Earth-observation satellites will provide a very precise snapshot of most of Earth’s surface on a daily basis so that changes can be tracked over time. The data must be accurately calibrated, which is normally a time-consuming, manual task. This project will provide three system components to cost-effectively automate this process. One system will automatically calibrate the many images produced by the six satellites. A validation system will assess the images as they are transmitted to Earth. An integration system will improve the quality of the images. This project will provide the ability to detect changes on Earth over time that can be used to identify crop damage, improve environmental monitoring, manage irrigation, and increase crop yields. It will also establish a world-class team of Canadian experts in optical systems, space-based imaging, and high-throughput software development. GHGSat Inc. – Montreal, Quebec $1,000,000 Order-of-Magnitude Performance Improvement for WAF-P Spectrometer The Wide-Angle Fabry-Perot (WAF-P) imaging spectrometer is the main instrument on satellites that are used to measure greenhouse gas emissions from industrial facilities around the world. This project will use lessons learned from the current version of the spectrometer to provide major performance improvements that will make it perform ten times better. These improvements will miniaturize the platform, provide the spectrometer with the ability to detect very small concentrations of gases like methane, and allow it to be adapted to measure other trace gases like ammonia. This project will open up a $2 billion greenhouse gas measurement market to Canadian industry. It will also increase the number of Canadian experts in the field over the next three years. MacDonald, Dettwiler and Associates Corporation – Ste-Anne-de-Bellevue, Quebec $750,000 Mk2 Reflector Enhancement: Engineered Composite Panel and Triaxial Woven Shell Satellite systems and equipment are designed to work in harsh space environments and extreme launch conditions. This project will build and test advanced composite materials for lightweight, low-cost space antenna parts. Using an existing type of antenna reflector, this project will improve performance, ensure space-readiness, and solve two key design issues. First, it will use a new type of carbon fiber material to make the reflector less sensitive to the stresses of launch. Second, it will improve the design of the panels used for support so that the reflector can be stiffer, while at the same time being lighter. The ability to make light, high-performance, low-cost reflectors will give Canadian industry a competitive advantage and open up new markets. It also positions Canada to offer state-of-art reliable satellite subsystem parts and products, creating employment opportunities for scientists, engineers, and technologists. ABB Inc. – Quebec City, Quebec $757,294 Compact Fore-Optics for Space 2.0 Applications Earth observation using constellations of satellites is an emerging market that calls for new products and tools to capture precise images of Earth’s surface. New fore-optics will improve the way satellites handle elements like stray light sources that cause data errors and calibration problems. They include features such as high-quality zoom and wider fields of view. This project will improve three key system features. New telescope technology will better manage light that strays into the camera. An electronic system will improve the field of view across two imaging systems through precise calibration of radiometric and spectral images. And an active secondary mirror will correct any fore-optic alignment or distortion problems caused by conditions in space. The results of this project will position Canada to offer low cost, mass production of compact, telescope fore-optics for Earth observation satellite constellations. They will help to develop new services that can provide better understanding of natural disasters, improve farming, and lead to stronger pollution control. Burloak Technologies Inc. – Oakville, Ontario MacDonald, Dettwiler and Associates Corporation – Ste-Anne-de-Bellevue, Quebec $744,227 Large Scale Additive Manufactured RF Satellite Communication Sub-Systems The use of 3D printers in additive manufacturing is significantly changing the way satellites are made. It allows more design options and lowers the cost and lead-time needed to make components. It can also result in fewer parts, easier assembly, and lighter, more efficient systems. This project will show how 3D printers can produce low-cost, space ready parts for use in the commercial satellite industry. It will use large-scale 3D printers to create a working radio frequency space antenna model. The model will be tested to ensure it meets defined mechanical and performance goals and inform future 3D printing projects. This work showcases Canada’s continued leadership in new space technologies and provides many opportunities for highly qualified personnel to enhance their knowledge and skills. It also combines expertise from the additive manufacturing and space development sectors to create an all-Canadian supply chain of advanced satellite communication parts and sub-systems. SED Systems, a division of Calian Ltd. – Saskatoon, Saskatchewan $798,884 Bonded Satellite Modem Satellite operators lease out bandwidth for uses like cellular networks and internet services. The bandwidth provided by a satellite becomes fragmented over time, as leases expire and are replaced by new leases that do not always use exactly the same bandwidth. This results in portions of the bandwidth being unattractive to new users, because it is not sufficient for their needs. This project will explore how to use channel bonding to combine this under-used bandwidth and improve satellite operations. It will design and produce a prototype of a channel bonded modem that gathers under-used bandwidth on satellite modems to produce high output signals to increase communication performance. This project will benefit satellite operators and end users by allowing under-used bandwidth to be sold at preferred rates, which in turn would provide a cost-effective option for remote communities that are reliant on satellite communications. In addition, extra communication security will result from spreading signals across multiple channels and satellites, which makes it harder to intercept sensitive government or defence communications. Square Peg Communications Inc. – Ottawa, Ontario $719,935 RF Test Technology for LEO Satellite Networks Canadensys Aerospace Corporation $499,586 Canadian Multi-Purpose Nano-Class Space Imager Performance Characterization Space Research and Development: Small Businesses The CSA describes this segment as: “The small businesses (up to a maximum of 50 employees) were awarded non-repayable contributions of up to $250,000. These space R&D projects are expected to last up to three years and produce economic benefits in the next five to 10 years.” The companies getting contracts are; GHGSat Inc. – Montreal, Quebec $250,000 Spectrometer Concepts for Monitoring of Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Individual Sites Spectrometers can be used on satellites to measure greenhouse gas emissions from industrial facilities around the world. Smaller, more accurate spectrometers will lower the cost of these missions. This project will explore new design concepts for a miniaturized spectrometer that can detect smaller concentrations of greenhouse gases while collecting high-resolution images that make the system less vulnerable to alignment issues or camera flaws. The miniature platform will be designed to meet the size, weight, and power requirements for commercial use on micro- and nanosatellites. The system will be evaluated to identify performance improvements like better communication with other systems, lower production costs, and streamlined product designs that will have no moving parts. This project will give Canadian industry a competitive edge in the $2 billion greenhouse gas measurement market and provide better alternatives to meet customer needs. It will also increase Canadian expertise in the field of optics, atmospheric sciences, artificial intelligence, and Earth observation. Xiphos Systems Corporation – Montreal, Quebec $250,000 Qualification of a COTS-Based Payload Computer for Demanding, Long-Duration Constellation Missions LEO satellites are used for many types of missions that involve science, Earth observation, communication, and more. An important part of a satellite’s data management system is the Payload Control Unit (PCU). Used by commercial, government, and space agency customers, the market for low-cost, high-performance satellite technology is growing. This project will test the ability of a new type of low-cost PCU based on a commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) product to stand up to the harsh environment of space on long missions in high-LEO (in the exosphere). The result will be a component that can be produced quickly and scaled to meet large customer demands. Producing low-cost, high-performance, space-ready PCUs will allow Canadian industry to meet the needs of new markets and retain experts in small satellite technology. It will also lead to a better understanding of environmental issues and improved security and monitoring of our coastlines and waters. Nüvü Caméras Inc. – Montreal, Quebec $249,000 Wide Field EMCCD Camera Towards TRL-5 Space debris affects satellite communication systems used for internet and security monitoring and satellites used for tracking the weather. To avoid damage, future satellite constellations will need special imaging technology to detect and track debris against the dark setting of space. The cameras currently used on satellites are limited by the small size of available detectors and an inability to provide low-noise levels. This project will develop and test a large-format camera system designed to meet the needs of future space missions while also considering production costs and lead time. The low-flux, wide-field imaging solution will detect space debris using high-speed measurements of low-light signals and produce high-quality images with low noise levels. This project will lead to the only space-ready camera system capable of detecting damaging debris, regardless of size or speed – making Canada a leader in new commercial space instruments. Exonetik Inc. – Sherbrooke, Quebec $249,262 Magnethorheological Robotic Arms for Space Robots are used on space missions to assist astronauts with difficult tasks and give them more time for valuable work. To protect astronauts from accidentally being hit with heavy, fast moving machines, space robots are made of lightweight materials and are designed to move slowly. These safety designs make it difficult for robots to do work around humans that requires fast, precise movements. This project will use robotic arms like the ones used in automotive and medical settings to test how new technology can be used to build higher-performance, lightweight robots that can perform technical tasks safely around people. These improved robots will decrease the time that astronauts spend on maintenance tasks, giving them more time for science. This project will showcase Canadian innovation in space robotics and spin-off technologies for use on Earth and help to establish a robotics cluster in Canada. Blue Sky Spectroscopy Inc. – Lethbridge, Alberta $249,560 Development of a Data Processing Framework for Space-Based Post-Dispersed Fourier Transform Spectrometers The SPIRE spectrometer used on the Herschel Space Observatory changed the way we see space, giving us clear views of the far-infrared universe and the first large-scale view of distant galaxies. By using a similar imaging technique and cooling the telescope, the Space Infrared telescope for Cosmology and Astrophysics (SPICA) will be 100 times more sensitive than Herschel, able to detect objects 10 times further away, and capable of exploring a greater volume of the universe. This project will develop a data processing framework and software to calibrate the 2,400 sensors that will be used to capture the large amounts of data and high-resolution images. It will also include testing the instruments and calibration systems in new environments. Building on the legacy of Canada’s contributions to Herschel, this work paves the way for an even greater contribution to new far-infrared missions. The project provides training opportunities at all levels and will increase engagement of students in the sciences, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields across Canada. NGC Aerospace Ltd. – Sherbrooke, Quebec $250,000 Relative Navigation and Hazard Detection & Avoidance Integration for Commercial Landers Moon exploration missions are a high priority for governments and commercial organizations. For these missions to be successful, lunar landing systems must provide space vehicles with the ability to land in specific locations and on any kind of terrain. Currently, landing systems that can reach a target site accurately, detect hazards on the Moon’s surface, and avoid them are not commercially available. This project will design and test a cost-effective, lightweight landing system that combines two technologies into a single unit to solve this problem. A highly-accurate navigation system will use two cameras to locate and estimate the condition of a landing site. A hazard detection and avoidance system will use active Lidar sensors to determine the best landing site to use. Addressing this gap in technology will open up an emerging commercial Moon transportation market to Canadian industry. It will also raise awareness of Canada’s expertise in landing technology for space missions. Bubble Technology Industries Inc. – Chalk River, Ontario $249,443 Investigation of Innovative Scintillators for Miniaturized Space Radiation Spectrometers Radiation prediction, monitoring, and protection technologies are an important part of reducing the risk to space crews. Building radiation detectors for human space missions, like the exploration of Mars, is challenging because of strict size, weight, and power limits. To solve these problems, this project will explore the use of radiation detectors that are much smaller than current technology. Detectors and materials that can more accurately separate different types of radiation found in space will also be tested. These tiny radiation detectors will be useful on all space missions, as well as for defence, security, aerospace, and health applications. This project showcases Canada’s role as a global leader in radiation research, in both space and Earth, and benefits the country through the creation of high-quality jobs. Good Vibrations Engineering Ltd. – King City, Ontario $43,069 Force Moment Sensor (FMS) Linear Dynamic Testing of 3rd Prototype Robotic equipment used on the Lunar Gateway will need to work with heavy payloads and operate in harsh conditions like extreme temperatures. To ensure that this equipment can function reliably, accurate force sensors will be used. However, during long duration space missions, these sensors become less reliable as they are exposed to different levels of force and work. This project will develop and test a new type of force sensor that measures changes that happen during active movement to overcome the challenges of working in space. These force sensors will be able to actively adjust robotic tools during long missions in space to support activities like space mining or on-orbit servicing operations. This project gives Canadian industry a competitive advantage and opens up new markets, creating employment opportunities for engineers and technologists. Mission Control Space Services Inc. – Ottawa, Ontario $249,991 Mission Control Software: End-to-end Operations and Autonomy Framework for Commercial Lunar Exploration Missions Space Research and Development: Feasibility Studies The CSA describes this segment as: “The companies were awarded non-repayable contributions of up to $100,000 for feasibility studies related to space projects and technologies with strong commercial potential. These R&D projects are expected to last up to two years and produce economic benefits in the next five to 10 years.” The companies getting contracts are; C6 Launch Systems Corporation – Calgary, Alberta $71,990 C6 STARS (Space Transmission and Reception System) Feasibility Study As the commercial space market grows, new systems and technology are needed to launch small satellites and maintain communication links between launch vehicles and ground stations. Current dish-like antennas need to point directly at their target, and are too large and heavy for use on small satellite launch vehicles, This project will study the potential for a new, low-cost antenna and transceiver that electronically steers radio signals without having to move the antenna. The lightweight, simplified design concept will improve communications from launch pad to LEO, provide higher data rates, and require less power to operate. This innovative project will position Canadian industry as leaders in space launch systems, offering low cost, mass production of small satellite launch vehicles and communication systems for the emerging commercial market. Maya HTT Ltd. – Montreal, Quebec $98,920 Correlation of Spacecraft In-Flight and Simulated Temperatures through Machine Learning One challenge of the growing space industry is to make high-quality, low production, complex parts quickly that meet customer needs at a low cost. Automated manufacturing processes can help to meet this demand, but humans are still required to design the best method to get the work done. This project will study ways to train Artificial Intelligence (AI) to do some of the tasks normally done by engineers, like programming computer-controlled machines involved in the process, and finding out the best workflow to produce parts. The results of this project will improve manufacturing efficiency and reduce the high cost associated with one-off parts. This work will showcase Canada’s AI expertise and improve Canada’s standing globally in the area of automated manufacturing. Space Research and Development: Low Technology Readiness Level The CSA describes this segment as: “The companies were awarded non-repayable contributions of up to $500,000 for space R&D projects that have a low initial TRL, between TRL 1 and TRL 3. These R&D projects are expected to last up to three years and produce economic benefits in the next five to 10 years.” The companies getting contracts are; ARTsensing Inc. – Mississauga, Ontario $489,000 Nanotechnology-Based Radiation Shields Radiation protection is one of the most important considerations in space missions because of its harmful effects on astronauts and electronics. Both shielding and structural materials provide protection from radiation’s effects on equipment and human DNA. However, when radiation interacts with some types of materials, secondary radiation that can cause even more damage may be produced. This project will develop a lightweight, multilayered nanocomposite material that blocks primary radiation and limits the amount of secondary radiation created. The material will also be tested for other important features like its ability to recover from severe radiation and maintain its shielding ability, manage extreme space temperatures, and function during long missions. This material will lead to better protection for astronauts and equipment during space exploration missions, as well as for medical, nuclear, and aerospace workers on Earth. Honeywell Aerospace – Cambridge, Ontario (COM DEV Ltd.) $500,000 Photonics for Space-Based Communications Networks LEO satellites use optical links to communicate data. Current optical pointing and tracking systems have large, slow steering mechanisms to direct lasers at their intended targets. This project will develop and test a low-cost, electronic pointing system to replace existing steering mechanisms. The new, lightweight system will use a high-efficiency optical phased array to transmit signals more reliably and be small enough to fit on a single chip. This project will also test the system’s ability to work with other optical components, which will lower costs and position Canada as a leader in satellite optical communication systems. The technology may also be useful in expanding high-speed internet access in Canada’s remote communities. Teledyne Optect Inc. – Vaughan, Ontario $498,659 3D Imaging Lidar LIDAR systems use lasers to measure range and are useful for everything from guiding cars on city streets to surveying asteroids in space. This project will study how to combine smaller, lighter components in a new way to develop a more powerful, compact 3D imaging system for use in future space exploration missions. The smaller, more efficient design will help spacecraft dock with each other, guide autonomous rovers on other planets, help drones create 3D maps, and prevent collisions in marine locks. This project will allow Canadian industry to pursue market opportunities in mobile mapping, security, and automotive markets. This innovation will also provide more accurate environmental data and benefit the mining and forestry industries. ABB Inc. – Quebec City, Ontario $499,480 Multiplexed Imaging Fourier Transform Spectrometer (FTS) Monitoring global greenhouse gas emissions from space is an important part of efforts to control them. Improving the instruments that satellites use to detect these emissions will provide decision makers with better data. One such improvement is increasing the ability to gather data from one point on the ground to thousands of points at the same time. This project will adapt existing commercial technology with the ability to provide this higher-resolution picture so that it can handle the short imaging times available from space. It will also test the system’s ability to handle common problems like magnetic fields and fast orbital speeds to ensure it is reliable and accurate. This work will improve international efforts to curb greenhouse gas emissions and will eventually lead to the ability to detect other gases, like ammonia. Reaction Dynamics Lab Inc. – St-Laurent, Quebec $473,936 Development of Guidance, Navigation, and Control Technologies for a Hybrid Engine Small Satellite Launch Vehicle The growing small satellite market calls for reliable, affordable launch services to get spacecraft to orbit quickly and safely, but the current availability of these services is limited. This project will develop and test a new approach to launching small satellites using a new type of rocket engine designed to make it easier and less expensive to get a small vehicle into orbit. The new system will include state-of-the-art guidance, navigation, and control that can stabilize the vehicle, direct the thrust of the engine, and guide its own course to a specific orbit. The project will develop a reliable, low-cost flight computer and software to autonomously control a vehicle during flight, and test the system on the ground. It will also lead to spin off technology applications for the automotive and aerospace industries, creating new business opportunities and jobs. MDA Systems Ltd. – Richmond, British Columbia $101,911 On-Board Processing with Graphics Processing Units (GPUs) and Artificial Intelligence (AI) Accelerators Artificial intelligence (AI) running on high-performance computers can be trained to help scientists get the most out of space exploration missions. The technology is used to make decisions about where to go, what information to collect, and what data to share with scientists. This project will design a low-cost hardware platform that provides the processing power needed for AI, is less susceptible to the effects of radiation, and is ready for the harsh environment of space. The small size and low weight components will allow future space missions to conduct independent scientific investigations, adapt to changing situations in space, or determine the best data to send back to Earth. This project will showcase Canadian innovation and open the market for on-board AI in space, allowing a wide range of AI applications to run directly on a spacecraft. https://spaceq.ca/the-canadian-space-agency-awards-15-million-for-technology-rd-to-25-companies/

  • Sole-sourced contracts can be 'raw deal', top officials said in navy ship case

    7 décembre 2018 | Local, Naval

    Sole-sourced contracts can be 'raw deal', top officials said in navy ship case

    Lee Berthiaume / The Canadian Press OTTAWA — New court documents show public servants discussing the risk to taxpayers as successive federal governments have turned to sole-source contracts to buy desperately needed equipment for the Canadian Forces and others. The documents were filed on behalf of suspended Vice-Admiral Mark Norman, who is charged with breach of trust in connection with one such contract. They land amid frustrations with Canada's military procurement system — including because of political mismanagement — that have led to the need for quick fixes. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's government has chosen to sign several sole-source contracts to bolster the coast guard's aging icebreaking fleet and the country's fighter-jet force, buying time to find permanent replacements. Sole-sourcing does make sense in many cases, said defence analyst David Perry of the Canadian Global Affairs Institute, particularly where there is an emergency or it's clear that only one company can meet the government's needs. "But if you're sole-sourcing to fill a capability gap, that's the result of mismanaging a procurement to the point where you are out of options and have no alternative," Perry said. "That's not really a good reason to be sole-sourcing." The Tories under Stephen Harper once intended to buy a fleet of F-35 fighter jets on an untendered contract, but aborted that plan in 2012 once the full price became known. Then the Trudeau government planned to spend about $6 billion on 18 sole-sourced "interim" Super Hornets from Boeing because it said Canada needed more fighter jets to support its aging CF-18s until replacements could be purchased through a competition. The Super Hornets deal eventually fell apart because of a trade dispute with Boeing. So the government is buying 25 second-hand Australian fighter jets, also without a competition. Canada isn't expected to get new fighter jets until at least 2025. The Liberals also recently bought three second-hand icebreakers from Quebec-based Davie Shipbuilding for the coast guard, whose existing fleet is on average 35 years old — with no immediate plan to replace it on the horizon. Suspended as the military's second-in-command in January 2017, Norman was charged in March 2018 with one count of breach of trust for allegedly leaking cabinet secrets to Davie over a different contract. He has denied any wrongdoing and vowed to fight the charge. The case against Norman centres on a sole-sourced deal negotiated between Davie and the previous Conservative government in 2015, in which the Quebec shipyard proposed converting a civilian cargo ship into a temporary support vessel for the navy. The $700-million contract with Davie was not finalized before that year's federal election. Although the newly elected Liberals at first wanted to delay it for a closer review, they signed off on the deal a short time later. Before Liberal ministers agreed to buy the converted ship, bureaucrats from the Privy Council Office, the government's top department, wrote a secret briefing note in November 2015 that discussed the problems with not holding a competition. "The risk inherent with a sole-source contract is that much of the leverage in the contract negotiation resides with the company," the bureaucrats wrote, even as they noted that the Conservatives had exempted the deal from the usual oversight for such projects. Despite these concerns, the officials recommended the government approve the deal. Partly because they had assessed that "risk mitigation measures" were in place, but mostly because the navy urgently needed a support ship for faraway operations. The court documents, none of which have been filed as exhibits or tested in court, include RCMP interviews with civil servants that suggest politicians' desire for votes in Quebec also played a role in the decisions about the ship. But the navy's need for the vessel was real. The navy at the time had just retired its 50-year-old support ships and while replacements are being built in Vancouver through the government's national shipbuilding plan, numerous delays and problems mean they won't be ready until the 2020s. The navy had originally expected to get new support ships in 2012. The briefing note said a competition could have been held to find another, perhaps cheaper, solution, but "a competitive process would take longer to deliver a solution — likely 10-14 months for a contract award, and then more time for the service to be ready." RCMP interviews with several senior civil servants raise similar concerns about awarding a contract to Davie without a competition while also alluding to the sense of urgency in getting new support ships. The Defence Department's head of procurement, Patrick Finn, told the Mounties that other companies were clamouring to compete to supply a temporary support ship in late 2014, and that "the information existed to say that this could be done competitively." But Finn noted that Davie had already found a ship that it could convert for the navy, which "at that point had no replenishment ships." Melissa Burke, an analyst with the Privy Council Office who attended various cabinet meetings about Davie's proposal in 2015, told the RCMP that federal procurement officials were unhappy because "they felt the taxpayers were getting a raw deal." https://www.timescolonist.com/sole-sourced-contracts-can-be-raw-deal-top-officials-said-in-navy-ship-case-1.23516431

  • CAE wins contract to provide German Navy with comprehensive NH90 Sea Lion training solution

    26 décembre 2019 | Local, Naval

    CAE wins contract to provide German Navy with comprehensive NH90 Sea Lion training solution

    Stolberg, Germany, December 19, 2019 – CAE today announced that CAE Elektronik GmbH has signed a contract with the NATO Support and Procurement Agency (NSPA) to provide the German Navy with a comprehensive training solution for the NH90 Sea Lion helicopter. The German Navy is procuring a fleet of 18 NH90 Sea Lion helicopters to support search and rescue (SAR) operations and replace the venerable Sea King MK41 helicopter, which has been in operation for over 40 years for the German Navy.  The German Navy NH90 Sea Lion training solution will be based near German Naval Airbase Nordholz, which is the home of the German Naval Air Command. “CAE has a long history supporting German naval aviation training at Nordholz on platforms such as the Sea King and Lynx helicopters as well as P-3C Orion maritime patrol aircraft,” said Niels Kröning, General Manager, CAE Elektronik GmbH. “We are honoured to be selected to continue this longstanding cooperation with the development of a world-class training solution for the NH90 Sea Lion helicopter.” Under terms of the contract, CAE will design and manufacture a suite of NH90 Sea Lion training devices for the German Navy, including: NH90 full-mission simulator capable of compliance to the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) Level D qualification, the highest for flight simulators; NH90 cockpit procedures trainer; NH90 operational tactics trainer for training rear-crew tactical coordinators (TACCO) and sensor operators, and capable of networking with the full-mission simulator to provide full-crew mission training; NH90 winch and hoist operator trainer, which will also be capable of networking to other NH90 training devices for full-crew training. In addition, CAE will construct an interim training facility just outside the main entrance to German Naval Airbase Nordholz and will provide on-site training support and maintenance services upon delivery.  The new NH90 Sea Lion training system is expected to be operational by the second half of 2022. “This contract award for the German Navy NH90 Sea Lion further extends CAE’s industry-leading position providing comprehensive training solutions for the enduring NH90 helicopter platform,” said Marc-Olivier Sabourin, Vice President and General Manager, Defence & Security International, CAE.  “The German Navy will now join the German Army and other countries including Australia, the Netherlands, Qatar, New Zealand and others in partnering with CAE to provide the training systems and support required to prepare their NH90 aircrews.” The NH90 full-mission simulator for the German Navy will feature a range of CAE’s core simulation technologies. These technologies include: six degree-of-freedom (DOF) electric motion system; high-performance vibration platform to replicate vibration cues critical to helicopter pilots; and a high-fidelity CAE Medallion-6000 image generator. The NH90 training devices will also feature the Open Geospatial Consortium Common Database (OGC CDB) architecture, an international standard for the creation of synthetic environment databases that has been adopted on a range of German Armed Forces training systems. About NSPA The NATO Support and Procurement Agency brings together in a single organization NATO’s logistics and procurement support activities, providing integrated multinational solutions for its customers. NSPA acts as NATO’s premier life cycle management (including acquisition) and services provider, effectively and efficiently delivering a broad spectrum of integrated capabilities for NATO, its nations and partners, including support to operations. About CAE CAE’s Defence & Security business unit focuses on helping prepare our customers to develop and maintain the highest levels of mission readiness.  We are a world-class training systems integrator offering a comprehensive portfolio of training centres, training services and simulation products across the air, land, sea and public safety market segments.  We serve our global defence and security customers through regional operations in Canada; the United States/Latin America; Europe/Africa; and Asia-Pacific/Middle East, all of which leverage the full breadth of CAE’s capabilities, technologies and solutions. CAE is a global leader in training for the civil aviation, defence and security, and healthcare markets. Backed by a record of more than 70 years of industry firsts, we continue to help define global training standards with our innovative virtual-to-live training solutions to make flying safer, maintain defence force readiness and enhance patient safety. We have the broadest global presence in the industry, with over 10,000 employees, 160 sites and training locations in over 35 countries. Each year, we train more than 220,000 civil and defence crewmembers, including more than 135,000 pilots, and thousands of healthcare professionals worldwide. www.cae.com   Follow us on Twitter @CAE_Inc and @CAE_Defence View source version on CAE: https://www.cae.com/news-events/press-releases/cae-wins-contract-to-provide-german-navy-with-comprehensive-nh90-sea-lion-training-solution

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