30 août 2018 | Local, Aérospatial

L3 MAS to continue services on CT-114 Tutor aircraft fleet

L3 MAS announced it has been awarded a contract extension from the Canadian government to provide engineering, repair and overhaul, and publication management services on the CT-114 Tutor aircraft fleet.

The company was originally awarded a contract spanning from 2016 to 2018, with three one-year options.

The first one-year option has been exercised, and two additional one-year options are still available.

“L3 MAS is honoured to be selected once again by the Royal Canadian Air Force to offer a cost-effective and technically superior solution to keep the CT-114 fleet airborne over the coming years,” said Jacques Comtois, vice-president and general manager of L3 MAS.

“L3 MAS is proud to continue to support the CT-114 fleet, which it has done for more than 40 years. As the OEM of the aircraft, this contract provides us with the opportunity to demonstrate our exceptional in-service support (ISS) capabilities.”

L3 MAS is a global leader in providing ISS, system upgrade and life-extension solutions on a broad range of aircraft and helicopter types, and has provided ISS support to Canada, Australia, Finland, Spain, Switzerland and the U.S. Navy.

https://www.skiesmag.com/press-releases/l3-mas-to-continue-services-on-ct-114-tutor-aircraft-fleet/

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  • DND looking at acquiring drones to replace those damaged in crashes earlier this year

    6 août 2019 | Local, Aérospatial

    DND looking at acquiring drones to replace those damaged in crashes earlier this year

    DAVID PUGLIESE, OTTAWA CITIZEN The Department of National Defence is looking at buying two more drones to replace those damaged in crashes earlier this year. Two of the Blackjack uninhabited aerial vehicles were damaged beyond economical repair on Jan. 31 and March 21. The damage occurred during training flights, one of which involved a collision with the recovery system. In late June there were articles in the U.S. defence press about Boeing subsidiary Insitu receiving new contracts for RQ-21A Blackjack small unhabituated aerial vehicles from the U.S. government and other countries including Canada. But the DND says the claims about Canada proceeding with a purchase are premature. Canada announced in 2016 that it was acquiring small uninhabited aerial system or SUAS (RQ-21A Blackjack) from the U.S. through a Foreign Military Sale. The federal government bought one complete system so far. That package includes four aircraft with one spare, which was delivered to the 4th Artillery Regiment (General Support) in CFB Gagetown. With the crashes earlier this work is underway at the DND on whether to proceed with replacing those aircraft. “We are assessing the possibility of making use of the provisions in this contract to purchase replacement aircraft, as two units were damaged beyond economical repair earlier this year,” explained DND spokeswoman Jessica Lamirande. Flight safety investigations are ongoing in order to determine cause and assess preventative measures, she added. Discussions are ongoing with the U.S. so costs and a timeline for replacements is not yet known. “We are also exploring the possibility of purchasing a second system, though internal discussions are still ongoing and no final decision has yet been made,” Lamirande said. https://ottawacitizen.com/news/national/defence-watch/dnd-looking-at-acquiring-drones-to-replace-those-damaged-in-crashes-earlier-this-year

  • Ottawa pushes navy's planned supply ships to the front of the construction queue

    6 février 2019 | Local, Naval

    Ottawa pushes navy's planned supply ships to the front of the construction queue

    Murray Brewster · CBC News The Liberal government has decided to pull out all the stops on the construction of the navy's planned permanent supply ships — a move that's raised questions about how quickly the Canadian Coast Guard will get a critical oceanographic science vessel. Public Services and Procurement Canada (PSPC) issued a statement Tuesday that announced the re-sequencing of the construction schedules for vessels being built at the Vancouver Shipyard, which is owned by Seaspan. The company has already started preliminary construction work on the first of the navy's long-awaited Joint Support Ships and the federal government says the work will continue until the vessel is completed. Under the National Shipbuilding Strategy, Seaspan was suppose to first construct three small fisheries research ships and a larger oceanographic vessel before working on the navy's long-awaited supply ships. Adhering to that plan in the face of repeated organizational delays meant delivery of those supply ships — which are considered critical to allowing the navy to operate beyond Canadian shores — would not happen until 2023 at the earliest. The PSPC statement said that once the first supply ship is finished, Seaspan will turn its attention to the coast guard oceanographic ship and then build the last planned naval supply ship. "Given the complexity of this build, this change in sequencing will ensure focused engineering resources on each of the projects, while allowing for time between construction of the first and second [Joint Support Ship] to incorporate lessons learned," said PSPC spokesman Pierre-Alain Bujold in a statement. "Moreover, this allows for uninterrupted work at the shipyard, mitigating the risk of potential layoffs and production gaps between builds." Bujold said additional details on the construction schedule will be released at a later date. The change to the schedule was, according to sources in the defence industry, agreed upon at the recent Trudeau government cabinet retreat in Sherbrooke, Que. Rob Huebert, a defence expert at the University of Calgary, said the decision "leaves most people scratching their heads" because of the difficulty involved in getting a shipyard to switch up construction between different types of vessels. "Why you would interrupt the building of ships by putting another style and class of vessel in the middle completely boggles my mind," said Huebert, a noted expert on the Arctic. "I don't know why you would do it." If anything, he said, the federal government should simply build both naval ships and then move on the coast guard ship. The re-sequencing means the navy could be waiting until the late 2020s for its second supply vessel, which would make the program a multi-decade odyssey. The Liberal government of former prime minister Paul Martin originally ordered the replacement of the auxiliary ships in 2004, but the program was cancelled in 2008 by the Conservatives when cost estimates exceeded the budget envelope. Huebert said Tuesday's announcement also raises questions about when Canadians will see the heavy icebreaker that Seaspan is also slated to build. The PSPC website says the program is under review and "no activities are planned until work on other projects has advanced." The federal government apparently has not yet formally notified Seaspan of the schedule change, although the shipyard has awarded a series of sub-contracts to companies such as INDAL in Mississauga, Ont., and L3 MAPPS in Montreal, for supply ship components. Seaspan is expected to announce another contract on Wednesday with Lockheed Martin Canada related to the supply ships. Ever since the Conservatives cancelled the first iteration of the supply ship project, the federal government has struggled to get it back on track, setting and missing several deadlines. The supply ships were supposed to arrive in 2017. The date was pushed back to 2019, and then to 2022. The absence of a supply ship prompted the Davie shipyard, in Levis, Que., to pitch a converted civilian cargo ship for navy use. That $668 million lease deal is at the centre of the breach-of-trust case against Vice-Admiral Mark Norman. Davie is pitching the federal government on leasing another cargo ship. A spokesman for Davie, Frederik Boisvert, called Tuesday's decision "an insult to taxpayers" and claimed that Seaspan has failed to deliver on the supply ship project and "should be blacklisted by the government and not rewarded for failure." The effect of switching up the schedule means the navy might not need a second supply ship leasing deal. Sources within the coast guard and the defence industry have said that the design and project coordination for the fisheries science vessel is not as far advanced as the navy supply ship program and that is an important factor in the federal government's timing decision. https://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/ottawa-pushes-navy-s-planned-supply-ships-to-the-front-of-the-construction-queue-1.5006785

  • Feds closing in on winning bidder for $60-billion warship project

    25 septembre 2018 | Local, Naval

    Feds closing in on winning bidder for $60-billion warship project

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Three companies are competing to help deliver 15 warships over the next 25 years. Those ships will eventually replace Canada’s aging fleet, namely, the 12 Halifax-class frigates and the four Iroquois-class destroyers, which have been decommissioned. In its entirety, the CSC project is estimated to cost between $56-billion and $60-billion. The cure process—a chance for the contenders to adjust their bids to fit the government’s criteria—wrapped up in July. “I don’t expect there to be another cure process. I think they’ve got a decision ready to go,” said Brian Botting, principal at Earnscliffe Strategy Group. He added there are rumours suggesting the “evaluation has been completed, and it’s a matter of getting the right announcement put together,” while noting that the chance of there being an announcement is 50-50. Mr. Botting is a defence-industry consultant, whose client, Naval Group, submitted a bid outside the competitive process. The bid was rejected. DefSec is a major attraction in defence circles, and unveiling the winner in that venue would be a good play, from a communications perspective, Mr. Botting said. Still, one observer said that Mr. Sajjan’s noncommittal response on the precise timing of the announcement leaves the department some wiggle room. Dave Perry, vice-president and senior analyst at the Canadian Global Affairs Institute, said he’d be surprised if the government had chosen a winner by then. The preferred bidder will work with Irving Shipbuilding, which won a separate competition to build the 15 ships in the company’s Halifax shipyard. Three vessels in the running Three bidders are competing to supply the ships’ design: a coalition that includes shipbuilder BAE Systems, Lockheed Martin, and L3 Technologies; Alion Science and Technology; and Navantia, a state-owned corporation in Spain. Mr. Botting said that BAE Systems’ Type 26 frigate appears to have an edge over the other two companies, thanks to the support it enjoys in the navy ranks, “There’s a lot of supporters of Type 26 in the navy. It’s not that much different than what the royal navy operates on. … We tend to have a strong focus on submarine warfare, which this ship operates as.” Type 26 is under construction in the U.K. for its navy and would be the first of its class. Construction under the CSC program is expected to start in the mid-2020s. That the navies of Canada and the U.K. face similar environments and needs makes for a compelling case in Type 26’s favour, even in the face of criticism that BAE and Lockheed Martin’s offer is still a design on paper, according to Mr. Botting. In addition to landing a contract with the U.K., BAE was also selected by Australia to build a new generation of warships. Multiple requests for an interview with Lockheed Martin’s executive were declined. A company spokesperson touched base with The Hill Times briefly on background.  In contrast, one of Alion’s biggest selling points, as characterized by the company’s chief operating officer, Bruce Samuelson, is that the company’s offer is a “proven, off-the-shelf design” and does not carry the risks of going with a new design. Unlike its competitors, Alion is not in the business of making products, but rather it takes a “vendor-agnostic” approach as an integrator. That means that, as the designer and engineering firm, Alion works to select the different components, from the sensors to the combat-management system, which make up the ship through what’s available in the marketplace. “The reason you’d buy straight off the shelf is like going to a car lot and buying a car. You know exactly what you’re getting,” said Mr. Samuelsen. “Why do you change it a little bit? Because you have slightly different needs, but you really want to take advantage of what everyone else has done for that car.” The anchor to its overall design is the De Zeven Provinciën-class frigate, which has been in service in the Dutch navy for more than a decade. Damen Schelde Naval Shipbuilding, the Netherlands-based company, has had experience tucking under another shipyard to produce its design, said Mr. Samuelsen. The winning subcontractor will have to work with Irving. When the warship is eventually built it will resemble a mini-city. The ship has to have the trappings of a town: there has to be a functional sewage system, provide food, shelter, medical care, and at the same time, it has to be built to respond to the hostile environment that is the ocean, said Mr. Samuelsen. Navantia’s proposal, which is a partnership with Saab Australia and CEA Technologies, is also based on an existing model, the F-105 frigate. Seven are in service with the Spanish and Australian navy, and there are five “smaller variants” in the Norwegian navy, according to the company. In an email response to The Hill Times, Emiliano Matesanz Sanz, the company’s business development manager, said Navantia is in the “best position to face the challenging task of working with the local industry,” given that it has operated in a similar scenario as the one set up under the CSC project. Its ship was built in a new shipyard in Australia, by ASC. Two frigates have, so far, been delivered, Mr. Matesanz Sanz said. (Navantia initially agreed to a phone interview, but said due to the sensitivity of the file, an email Q&A was the only possible option.) The government had initially stated a preference for a mature design—one that was already in operation in a NATO country, for example—to mitigate the risks of cost overruns that could, for example, tie up production. But the government appeared to have been convinced by the team behind Type 26 to consider its bid because it changed the parameters for considering bids, said Mr. Botting. Due to inflation, for every year of delay, the program is projected to cost $3-billion or more, according to the Parliamentary Budget Officer. If going with an untested design carries more risks, why would Canada potentially sweep those concerns aside? Part of the answer lies in the argument that while there isn’t a “physical ship in the water” yet, Type 26 stands to have “some of the most modern technology,” said Mr. Perry. The chance to hold the intellectual property rights to the design is also cited as a possible point in its favour. “People would make the argument that if you have a ship that hasn’t sailed and been tested yet, you can offer up the IP, because you don’t have an understanding of what its full value is. Whereas if you have something that’s more of a known quantity, you can put whatever premium you want on it,” he added. Conflict-of-interest concerns flared up in late 2016 when it was announced that Irving Shipbuilding planned to work with BAE Systems to bid on a $5-billion contract to provide maintenance and support for Arctic patrol vessels and resupply ships, according to a CBC report, while BAE was pursuing the CSC project that Irving is involved in overseeing. Both Irving and Ottawa said at the time that they have taken steps to ensure the process is fair. Mr. Perry dismissed conjectures that suggest changes to the bidding process have been made with the “explicit goal” of giving Type 26 the upper hand. “I don’t think that’s accurate. Because that’s not the way the procurement system is set up. What the government has done is to try and make this environment as competitive as possible,” he said. “But you can never totally level the playing field. … Some bids are always gonna be better than others in different respects.” Billed as the most-complex, most-expensive procurement on record in Canadian history, CSC, and more broadly, Canada’s shipbuilding strategy, has raised questions about whether the country has chosen the right approach in preserving its shipbuilding culture over working to develop the high-tech side of the business. “We protected the lower-tech end of the business and not the higher-tech [end]. All the missile systems, sensors, all that stuff is being imported and assembled at the Irving yard,” Mr Botting said. “It’s a different way of approaching it. The U.K. is slowly getting out of that business, but it’s painful when you close down a yard.” https://www.hilltimes.com/2018/09/24/feds-closing-winning-bidder-60-billion-warship-project/169844

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