5 juillet 2021 | International, Aérospatial, Naval, Terrestre, C4ISR, Sécurité

Kubasik starts new role as chief executive at L3Harris

Chris Kubasik replaces Bill Brown and becomes the second CEO in the history of the U.S. company, which formed in mid-2019 when Harris Corporation and L3 Technologies merged into a single business.


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  • Post-pandemic world presents real opportunity to change U.S.-Canada relationship, experts say

    28 mai 2020 | International, Aérospatial, Naval, Terrestre, C4ISR, Sécurité

    Post-pandemic world presents real opportunity to change U.S.-Canada relationship, experts say

    By AIDAN CHAMANDY      MAY 27, 2020   As the COVID-19 pandemic rages and the American election gets closer, Canadian foreign policy experts weigh in on how the pandemic has affected bilateral relations, and where we go from here. As the November U.S. presidential election approaches, with the prospect of a second-Trump term a real possibility, and the COVID-19 pandemic upending life on both sides of the border, some Canadian foreign policy experts say they expect the fallout from the pandemic will have a lasting effect on the bilateral relationship and the post-pandemic period presents a good opportunity for Canadian foreign policy practitioners to take novel approaches to the age-old problem of over reliance on trade with the United States, regardless of who sits behind the Resolute desk on Jan. 20, 2021. One of the most high-profile issues currently facing the relationship is managing the nearly 6,500-kilometre border, especially as both countries begin to gradually reopen and COVID-19 cases continue to spike in certain locales. Both countries have agreed to keep the border closed to non-essential travellers until at least June 21. Certain cross-border health-care workers are permitted entry to either country, and trade and commerce continue to flow. Refugee claimants who cross into Canada at official points of entry and meet certain eligibility criteria under the Safe Third Country Agreement are also allowed to enter. The decision on when and how to open the border will likely become a much more difficult issue to manage as time passes, given the divergent political incentives of U.S. President Donald Trump and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau (Papineau, Que.), said Christopher Sands, director of the D.C.-based Wilson Center’s Canada Institute. The two leaders’ differing political incentives are based “on the election cycle and the economy,” Mr. Sands said. “Trudeau was hit in the last election, but his election is behind him and he has a huge advantage because of the official opposition leader’s weakness.” On the economic front, however, Mr. Sands said, is where Mr. Trudeau’s job gets trickier. “Canada’s economy was almost in recession in the fourth quarter of 2019. Canada is going into a recession and has been performing bad, economically, for some time. Mr. Trudeau is not in a strong position,” Mr. Sands said. Canadian gross domestic product (GDP) growth was largely flat from the third quarter to the fourth quarter of 2019, and that trend continued into early 2020 with factors such as rail disruptions contributing to the slow growth, according to data from Statistics Canada. In March, GDP dropped nine per cent and the most recent Labour Force Survey data showed more than three million Canadians have lost their jobs due to the pandemic. Because Canada’s economy was already a poor performer prior to the pandemic, Mr. Sands said it behooves Mr. Trudeau to take an extremely cautious approach to reopening the border and to continue to emphasize the centrality of public health in the decision. “It’s in his interest to say ‘safety first,'” Mr. Sands said. “As long as COVID is on everyone’s mind, he has a perfect thing to blame for hard economic times.” The incentives for President Trump are almost exactly the opposite. “The U.S. has an election in November and Trump was going into it with a much stronger economy. He was planning to run on good times, but then COVID throws everything into question. He’s got a political and economic interest in moving forward, but Trudeau doesn’t,” Mr. Sands said. With the border closed until at least June 21, many would-be travellers on both sides have found their vacation plans interrupted. As the world adjusts to the new and yet-unforeseen norms of international travel post-pandemic, the U.S. will become an even more attractive target for Canadians looking to get away, said Sarah Goldfeder, principal at Earnscliffe Strategy Group and a fellow with the Canadian Global Affairs Institute. “The reason a lot of people go from Canada to the U.S. isn’t because they want to see things, it’s because they want to see people,” Ms. Goldfeder said.  As the pandemic has and continues to prevent families with members on either side of the border from travelling to see each other, Ms. Goldfeder said she expects vacations to be “centred around seeing family, and the reality for many Canadians is their family is on the other side of the border.” However, Ms. Goldfeder also said security will be tightened. “It’s going to be a long time before we take for granted crossing the border like we used to,” she said. “There will be more pressure to account for where and why you’re going. There will be longer conversations about who you’re going to see and how long you’re staying.” Time to diversify trade options, say experts   While the border and all the downstream implications are a more pressing problem, for some experts the pandemic and four years of the Trump administration—with four more potentially on the horizon—have highlighted the need for a renewed push for rethinking trade diversification and the broader relationship with the Americans. Fear of over-reliance on the United States for economic prosperity and external security has long pervaded Canadian foreign policy thinking. In 1972, foreign minister Mitchell Sharp articulated the “Third Option” doctrine in an article published in International Perspectives. Mr. Sharp tried to answer the question of how to live “distinct from, but in harmony with” the United States, as rising nationalist tides hit the shores of both countries. He argued against increased integration with the U.S. in favour of a trade diversification and a national industrial strategy emphasizing Canadian ownership. The proceeding years saw the creation of institutions such as the Foreign Investment Review Agency and Petro-Canada that addressed Canadian ownership issues. Trade diversification, however, did not bear the same fruit. The 1982 Macdonald Commission recommended taking a “leap of faith” and signing a free trade agreement with the U.S. In the late-1980s, the U.S.-Canada Free Trade Agreement, which later became NAFTA, made Canada and the U.S. two most of the most integrated economies, and countries, in the world. Then came Mr. Trump’s claim that NAFTA was “perhaps the worst trade deal ever made” and his administration’s subsequent efforts to renegotiate the deal, ending with the Canada-United States-Mexico Agreement (CUSMA), which comes into effect on July 1. “One of the fundamental damaging things Trump has done to the relationship is shaken Canadians’ trust in the U.S. in ways that have been profound and radical. Threatening the destruction of the Canadian economy resonated deeply in Canada,” said Eric Miller, president of Rideau-Potomac Strategy Group and fellow at the Canadian Global Affairs Institute.  Canadians have mistrusted U.S. presidents before, Mr. Miller said, but where unpopular leaders like George W. Bush were perceived as “cowboys that would do bad things that harm the world,” Mr. Trump is entirely different. “There was no sense under [Ronald] Reagan or George W. Bush that the U.S. was deliberately going to use its power to injure Canada. Canada might be excluded from certain things, but there was no sense that we [the U.S] are going to destroy your economy,” Mr. Miller said. “Canada now has to make choices about co-operation on bigger picture issues, on economic issues that it hasn’t had to contemplate much in the past.”  The Liberals’ 2018 fall economic statement announced the federal government’s intention to increase non-U.S. exports by 50 per cent by 2025. Attached to the announcement was a $1.1-billion investment over six years to beef up trade resources and infrastructure for exporters. Mr. Miller said that is a welcome investment, but new ideas in addition to new money will be required for diversification to be successful. “When Canada looks for models it tends to look at the Anglosphere. Neither the U.S. or U.K. are good models because Canada needs a mid-sized country that trades a lot,” he said. Mr. Miller said countries like Japan have successfully grown their respective trade volumes by reducing the risk of exporting, something Canada has not done well. Japan deploys a model dubbed “Consortium for a New Export Nation,” wherein the Japanese government essentially approaches a partner country and fronts it money for an infrastructure project to be built by Japanese companies, ensuring future servicing of the infrastructure will also be done by Japanese companies. The model incorporates small, medium, and large companies, which Mr. Miller said would be essential to replicate in Canada’s SME-driven economy. Just as Mr. Miller said Canadian trade policy needs to take advantage of the geopolitical environment, James L. Anderson, an external fellow at the Centre for International and Defence Policy at Queen’s University, said he believes Canadian foreign policy is in a similar position. Mr. Anderson said the Trump administration’s focus on the domestic challenges of the pandemic creates space for global leadership on infectious disease co-operation, especially as the World Health Organization comes under heavy criticism from multiple countries, which he said Canada is well-positioned to fill. Whereas the WHO is made up of all 193 United Nations countries save for Liechtenstein, Mr. Anderson sees value in a smaller body tasked with handling infectious diseases, what he calls “an infectious disease analogue to the G7.” Pursuing such a policy could be a boon to Canada’s campaign for a UN Security Council seat, too, Mr. Anderson said. https://www.hilltimes.com/2020/05/27/post-pandemic-world-presents-real-opportunity-to-change-u-s-canada-relationship-experts-say/249721

  • Italy plans new destroyers for 2028 delivery

    9 novembre 2020 | International, Naval

    Italy plans new destroyers for 2028 delivery

    By: Tom Kington  The Italian Navy is laying the groundwork for a new DDX-type destroyer program, adding naval firepower for the country amid an increasingly volatile Mediterranean region. (Italian Navy) ROME — Fresh from a burst of shipbuilding spurred by the retirement of old vessels, the Italian Navy is now back at the drawing board to design what it considers the cornerstone of its fleet — new destroyers. After building 10 FREMM-class frigates — the same type acquired by the United States — as well as designing new 4,500-ton multimission ships, a 33,000-ton landing helicopter dock and new logistics vessels, a risk-reduction study is due to start on two 10,000-ton destroyers dubbed DDX. “Destroyers are fundamental for a blue water fleet like Italy’s, which must be capable of projecting capability at sea and from the sea while operating across the whole spectrum of maritime and joint operations,” Vice Adm. Aurelio De Carolis, deputy chief of staff of the Italian Navy, told Defense News. “Apart from carriers, amphibious vessels and submarines, you need destroyers with land strike and task group-protection capabilities,” he added. The Navy wants the 175-meter-long vessels to replace two aging destroyers, the ITS Durand de la Penne and ITS Mimbelli. Those two vessels entered service in the early 1990s and were joined in service by Italy’s two more recent Horizon-class ships, which the Navy classifies as destroyers. “We have always had two pairs of destroyers in service, dating back to the 1960s,” De Carolis said. With €4.5 million (U.S. $5.3 million) budgeted so far for two-year feasibility and risk-reduction studies starting early next year, the Navy aims to have a final operational requirement by 2022, sign a construction contract in 2023 — funding permitting — complete the design in 2025, and receive the first ship by 2028. Current plans envisage vessels that are 24 meters wide with a 9-meter draft and more than 300 crew, while offering a top speed of over 30 knots using the CODOGAL (COmbined Diesel Or Gas And eLectric) propulsion system, De Carolis said. The system allows the use of either gas or diesel turbines, plus electric propulsion for lower speeds. Italy is renewing its Navy amid the Mediterranean Sea’s shift from a backwater to a tinderbox as Turkey throws its weight around, Libya remains tense after years of conflict and Russia tries to increase its regional influence. When fully budgeted, the ships likely will be built by Italian state firm Fincantieri, keeping the yard busy after a run of recent naval construction thanks to Italy’s $6.3 billion so-called Naval Law in 2014 that led to the landing helicopter dock (LHD), multimission vessels (PPA) and logistic ship programs. Equipping the warship Long-range firepower for the destroyers will be guaranteed by six eight-cell missile launchers for a total of 48 cells, with two launchers toward the bow (ahead of the bridge) and the remainder amidships. Aster anti-air missiles, already in use on other Italian vessels, will be adopted, as well as a land-strike missile. “The Navy needs a credible land-strike capability and we are considering options now,” De Carolis said. That could lead the Navy to consider MBDA’s naval variant of the Scalp missile. What is confirmed is the acquisition of the European consortium’s Teseo Mk2 Evolved anti-ship missile, which the admiral said offers “land-strike capability in the littoral.” The weapon will be fired from launchers located immediately behind the bridge, he confirmed. A rear helicopter deck and hangar will be able to host two Navy EH101 or two SH90 helicopters. The ship’s cannons will be the same Italian-built types that have become standard issue for Italy’s naval vessels in recent years. A Leonardo 127mm gun at the front of the vessel will fire the firm’s Vulcano guided munitions, while two Leonardo 76mm guns at the center of the vessel will fire the guided Dart munition, again developed by the Italian firm. A third 76mm gun sits astride the helicopter hangar at the rear of the ship. Dubbed “Sovraponte” and built to be positioned on top of ship structures, the cannon was first developed for the PPA vessels. “We are satisfied with Sovraponte,” the admiral said. The cannon is one example of how the destroyer will leverage new technologies funded by the Naval Law, with radar another example. The destroyers will mount Leonardo’s Kronos, an active electronically scanned array radar with a fixed face as well as C- and X-band antennas, which are mounted behind panels above the bridge. This technology was used in the two “Full” versions of the seven PPA vessels. Leonardo will also supply the same rotating L-band long-range radar, to be positioned at the rear of the vessel, which has also been adopted for the LHD Trieste. The combat management system as well as the communications and electronic warfare suites will be derived from those developed for the newest ships of the fleet, while anti-submarine capabilities will include sonars (both hull-mounted and towed array), torpedo launchers, and decoys. What’s next?   The Trieste is set to join Italy’s three San Giorgio-class amphibious assault ships to provide a four-strong amphibious fleet, which will require protection, De Caroils said. “We will need at least two destroyers ready at all times, which means four destroyers in total,” he explained. “The procurement is also part of our commitment to NATO since we are part of a project to stand up new amphibious task forces, each containing three battalion-level landing elements with related combat and combat-service support, which means four amphibious ships and destroyers for protection. “These destroyers will defend — together with [anti-submarine warfare] frigates, submarines and embarked naval aviation — amphibious naval task groups during their movement towards assault areas, and then provide effective naval fire support for the sustainment of projection and ashore operations carried out by elements of the landing force. All this is required, including the capability to play the crucial role of coordination and control of the airspace over the amphibious objective area. “The U.S. and Russia still operate cruisers, but most other navies today rely on destroyers for fighting power. They must cover anti-air, anti-ship and anti-submarine operations with a focus on integrated air and missile defense, including ballistic missile defense.” The most “critical task” for destroyers, he added, is protecting carrier battle groups and playing the typical “shotgun role” for carriers. Examples he gave included the 1990-1991 Persian Gulf War when the Italian vessel ITS Audace was part of the escort to the U.S. Navy aircraft carrier Theodore Roosevelt, and during Operation Enduring Freedom in 2002, when the ITS Durand de la Penne escorted the U.S. Navy carriers John C. Stennis and John F. Kennedy. “Italy cannot do without a balanced Navy covering all operations from blue to green to brown waters and well into the littorals, from minesweeping to submarines and fixed-wing carriers, with overall air protection provided by destroyers and anti-submarine warfare mostly played by frigates,” he added. https://www.defensenews.com/global/europe/2020/11/09/italy-plans-new-destroyers-for-2028-delivery

  • Top US Air Force general hopes for major KC-46 fix by March

    21 février 2020 | International, Aérospatial

    Top US Air Force general hopes for major KC-46 fix by March

    By: Valerie Insinna  WASHINGTON — After more than a year of deliberations, the U.S. Air Force is hoping to have a fix in hand for the KC-46 tanker’s most critical technical problem by the end of March, the service’s top general told Defense News in an exclusive interview. The hope is for the Air Force and Boeing to sign off next month on a finalized design for the KC-46’s Remote Vision System, or RVS — a series of cameras and sensors that allow its users to steer the aircraft’s boom into a plane for aerial refueling. “The fact [is] that we’re in negotiations right now; I can’t say anything that would affect those negotiations,” Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Dave Goldfein said in a Feb. 18 interview. “Here’s what I will tell you: They’re not stagnant in any way, shape or form. It’s a very active dialogue. We’re working on getting a serious fix,” he said. “We’re looking for a serious fix on the table by the end of March, and we’re going to be flying that fix and starting to test it by the end of this summer.” For several years, the KC-46 program has grappled with a critical deficiency involving the RVS, which is manufactured by Rockwell Collins. Under certain lighting conditions, the imagery is difficult to see and sometimes distorted, making it difficult for operators to safely move the boom without scraping the aircraft receiving fuel. Despite ongoing RVS problems, the service and Boeing came to a compromise in late 2018 that would allow the aerospace firm to begin delivering the KC-46 if the company would swallow the cost of fixing the system to the Air Force’s specifications. At the time, Boeing and the service agreed on nine performance areas where the Air Force wanted to see improvements, but the parties have been embroiled in debate for months over how to turn those into technical requirements that would allow Boeing engineers to make specific hardware and software changes to the RVS design. The first tanker was delivered in January 2019, but months later in September, Air Mobility Command head Gen. Maryanne Miller said Boeing had made no progress on the RVS and that it would take three to four years before the KC-46 was technically mature enough to deploy. Tensions culminated in January 2020 when Goldfein sent a letter to incoming Boeing CEO Dave Calhoun criticizing the company for “unsatisfactory” progress on the RVS despite having a year to make design changes. “We require your attention and improved focus on the KC-46,” Goldfein wrote in the Jan. 9 letter, which was first obtained by Bloomberg News. “The Air Force continues to accept deliveries of a tanker incapable of performing its primary operational mission.” Calhoun came to the Pentagon for a face-to-face meeting with Goldfein on Jan. 15. According to Goldfein, the meeting went well. “[Calhoun] committed to me in the meeting that the KC-46 was his top priority and he was going to put the talent, the resources and whatever the company needed to do to get it on track, so now I’m holding him to his word,” Goldfein said. “I don’t want to go into too many details because we’re in a pretty intense negotiation, but I’ve seen a behavior change,” he added. Goldfein declined to provide examples of specific improvements but said he had seen “a different level of intensity from the leadership at Boeing on getting a serious fix for the KC-46.” In a statement to Defense News, Boeing said it valued its partnership with the Air Force and is committed to delivering a KC-46 that matches the service’s expectations. “We’re engaged in productive discussions with the Air Force about enhancements for the KC-46 Remote Vision System. We expect those discussions will establish a collaborative plan through which we can improve the aircraft’s already robust capabilities,” the company said. Having a finalized RVS fix on the books could be crucial for defending the Air Force’s fiscal 2021 budget. The service plans to retire 13 KC-135 and 16 KC-10 tankers in FY21, but Congress has been skeptical of making reductions to the Air Force tanker fleet when demand continues to outpace supply. An agreed-upon fix could also bring some financial relief for Boeing. The Air Force is currently withholding $28 million per aircraft upon delivery of each tanker with the hopes of inducing Boeing to arrive at an RVS fix sooner rather than later. However, officials have said the service would be open to rolling back the amount of money the service withholds if it sees progress. According to the terms of Boeing’s fixed-price contract for the KC-46 program, the company is responsible for all costs past the award’s $4.9 billion ceiling. Boeing has already eaten more than $3 billion in cost overruns, and the final price of the RVS redesign is still unknown and will likely trigger further penalties. So far, 31 KC-46s out of the 179 planned for purchase have been delivered to the service. The Air Force indicated in 2019 that it would take three to four years to develop a fully functioning RVS. https://www.defensenews.com/digital-show-dailies/air-warfare-symposium/2020/02/20/top-us-air-force-general-hopes-for-major-kc-46-fix-by-march/

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