1 avril 2021 | Local, Aérospatial

Canada on track to pick new fighter jet next year despite COVID-19

Canada on track to pick new fighter jet next year despite COVID-19

OTTAWA — Canada's top military procurement official says he is optimistic the federal government will finally end its decade-long search for a new fighter jet for the Royal Canadian Air Force next year despite challenges and delays from the pandemic.

Three fighter-jet makers submitted their bids last summer to provide the military with 88 new aircraft to replace the Air Force’s aging CF-18s, and government evaluators are now busily assessing those proposals to determine which best fits Canada’s needs.

The government had hoped to finish that evaluation process later this year and sign a contract with one of the bidders in 2022, with the first jet slated for delivery starting in 2025 and the last arriving in 2032.

Despite some recent hiccups in the process thanks to COVID-19, Troy Crosby, the assistant deputy minister of materiel at the Department of National Defence, says officials remain on track to meet that schedule and finally select a winner next year.

“That is a project where COVID has created some challenges,” Crosby said in an exclusive interview with The Canadian Press. 

https://www.nationalnewswatch.com/2021/04/01/canada-on-track-to-pick-new-fighter-jet-next-year-despite-covid-19-2/#.YGXwPq9Kg2z

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  • Canada, NATO allies discuss COVID-19 response in face of world security issues

    3 avril 2020 | Local, Aérospatial, Naval, Terrestre, C4ISR, Sécurité

    Canada, NATO allies discuss COVID-19 response in face of world security issues

    OTTAWA — Canada and its NATO allies wrestled Thursday with responding to the COVID-19 crisis while reining in potential new Russian mayhem-making and helping war-torn Iraq and Afghanistan. The discussion unfolded via secure video links — a first in the alliance’s seven decades — among the alliance’s foreign ministers, including Canada’s Francois-Philippe Champagne, as well as NATO’s political and military chiefs. They discussed the need to combat “disinformation” as well as providing support to various partners, including the World Health Organization, the United Nations and the European Union, the alliance said in a post-meeting statement. Canada is leading NATO’s military training mission in Iraq and has troops in Latvia as part of the deterrence efforts against Russia, which breached Europe’s border by annexing part of Ukraine in 2014. Thursday’s meeting was also looking at ways to further support the non-NATO countries of Ukraine and Georgia, the alliance said. A senior Canadian official, speaking on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the discussions, said despite the COVID-19 pandemic, Canada’s priority is for the alliance to keep its eyes on the challenges already on its plate before the outbreak. “The COVID-19 pandemic is a test for all of us and highlights the crucial role NATO continues to play,” Champagne said in a statement. The competing challenges were reflected in the declaration NATO released following the morning talks, which were to include Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg and NATO’s Supreme Allied Commander Europe, Gen. Tod D. Wolters. “Even as we do the absolute maximum to contain and then overcome this challenge, NATO remains active, focused and ready to perform its core tasks: collective defence, crisis management, and co-operative security,” the communique said. David Perry, a defence analyst, said NATO faces some of its own health challenges, among them the fact that the USS Theodore Roosevelt aircraft carrier is out of commission because of a virus outbreak, while Poland’s army chief tested positive last month. “How much of the alliance is actually fighting fit is changing pretty fast, negatively,” said Perry, a Canadian Global Affairs Institute vice-president. “It’s improbable other ships or assets aren’t already impacted.” The NATO communique said the alliance is airlifting medical supplies around the world, providing people and goods and “vital equipment from military and civilian sources, and harnessing our medical, scientific, and technological knowledge” to deal with the pandemic. “Allies are also working together to ensure public access to transparent, timely, and accurate information, which is critical to overcoming this pandemic and to combating disinformation,” it said. The statement made no direct mention of Russia, but it affirmed that the alliance’s “ability to conduct our operations and assure deterrence and defence against all the threats we face is unimpaired.” A day earlier, Stoltenberg said in Brussels that the alliance had made the necessary adjustments to address Russian military manoeuvres close to NATO’s borders. Russian planes have flown close to Canadian and American airspace in the Arctic recently, for instance. Karlis Eihenbaums, Latvia’s ambassador to Canada, said the pandemic has done nothing to stop the “wars and tensions” NATO was already dealing with. “We can even see that there are some who are using this challenging time to play their cynicism in full and to use this pandemic for their spreading of propaganda and disinformation. In essence, they are playing with people’s lives because disinformation can kill,” said Eihenbaums. “We are still receiving report after report of a war going on in Europe, as attacks against Ukraine never stopped.” Andriy Shevchenko, Ukraine’s ambassador to Canada, said offers by Russia to send medics and supplies to Italy mask a malevolent intent. He said that amounts to “humanitarian wars, or humanitarian special operations” on Russia’s part. The Kremlin has denounced criticism that it is using the crisis for political gain. “Russia has the experience of lying on an industrial scale, and also interfering into other nations’ lives with their information tools,” said Shevchenko. “It’s something we know so well from our Ukrainian experience, and it’s something that Canadians should be concerned about as well.” Thursday’s meeting also looked at stepping up the NATO training mission in Iraq and strengthening the alliance’s partnerships in the Middle East, North Africa and Afghanistan, the alliance said in a statement today. The meeting was the first for the alliance’s newest member, North Macedonia, which joined last Friday, expanding NATO’s ranks to 30 countries. This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 2, 2020. https://nationalpost.com/pmn/news-pmn/canada-news-pmn/canada-nato-allies-discuss-covid-19-response-in-face-of-world-security-issues

  • Emphasizing Innovation

    23 novembre 2017 | Local, Aérospatial

    Emphasizing Innovation

    On the opening day of CANSEC 2017, Canada’s largest defence and security tradeshow, standing before a collage of innovative technologies that had shaped the sector over the past century, Navdeep Bains, minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development, applauded Lockheed Martin for completing its $1.4 billion industrial and technological benefit (ITB) commitments for the CC-130J Hercules. “To remain competitive, Canada must be committed to innovation,” said Bains as he described Lockheed’s final investments in four small companies developing novel applications in artificial intelligence (AI), sensing equipment, multi-functional materials for solar panels and wireless power transfer. “That means continuously finding new ways of doing things better.” Unexpected as the public acknowledgement was, the words rang true for Charles Bouchard. Looking for better ways of doing business is almost a mantra for the chief executive of Lockheed Martin Canada. But perhaps not in places you might expect. “Innovation–that is the future of this company,” he told Skies in a recent interview. Lockheed Martin is best known as a defence company, the largest weapons contractor in the United States, with military-related revenues of around US$50 billion. And Bouchard makes no bones about that. But when he describes Lockheed’s future areas of innovation, it’s in space and deep-sea exploration; in energy management and conservation, perhaps in Canada’s northern communities; in quantum computing, cybersecurity, AI, robotics and other ground-breaking technologies like automation, directed energy and synthetic biology. “This is what excites me about this company. This is what the future looks like and we in Lockheed Martin get to see it,” said the retired Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) lieutenant-general, who, over the course of a 37-year career, held senior positions in NORAD and NATO. “For us it’s always, what’s the next bound?” That corporate thinking has shaped Lockheed’s approach to the companies in which it chooses to invest. ITBs, making investments in Canadian companies and academic research equal to the value of a major defence contract, might be an obligation, a crucial box to be checked in any proposal–and the more regional representation, the better. But, they also present an opportunity to explore the cutting edge of technology, capture new ideas and capabilities, and secure long-term partnerships. All of which can be game-changing. “A successful ITB is when we have met our commitment, and, even better, when we can do that on time or ahead of time like we did with CC-130J,” explained Bouchard. “But it’s also when we leave [a company] bigger and better than when we came in. If you look at our investments in quantum computing–D-Wave Systems and QRA–we not only met our commitments, we left them stronger. This is not a transactional deal, it’s a transformational deal.” Gabe Batstone understands the value of that deal well. A former CEO of NGrain, an early supplier to Lockheed Martin’s F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program, he said establishing a relationship with the defence and security giant was one of his first priorities after co-founding Ottawa-based Contextere. “It is a significant benefit to a small company,” he said of Lockheed’s $1.1 million investment in his AI software. “The money is certainly part of it. But as much as anything, it’s being able to say that Lockheed Martin has invested and will be a user of your technology. That’s significant when you go to talk to other large manufacturers, whether in aerospace or other sectors. “And the association with a company that is transformational, that’s also big,” he added. “It gives you credibility that would be very hard to attain in other ways.” As part of an ITB investment for the CC-130J, Contextere is developing an AI-powered solution to deliver real-time notification to Lockheed maintenance workers on their phones. The technology is premised on the fact that, “close to 25 per cent of the time when people go to put warm hands on cold steel, they are unable to finish the procedure,” said Batstone. “Sometimes there’s an error, sometimes they don’t have the right tool. Other times the problem they originally identified isn’t the one they have now come to encounter. There’s some natural inefficiency as it relates to the maintenance of complex assets.” In addition to increasing worker productivity, reducing errors and improving safety, the software offers a way to capture the knowledge and skills of an aging workforce and utilize wearable technology like Microsoft HoloLens or Samsung GearHub to share those insights with a new generation. “We’ve got this huge blue collar workforce, not just in aerospace but in everything from elevator mechanics to power and utility workers, and they are retiring with all this tribal and enterprise knowledge,” said Batstone. “How do we capture that and disseminate it to Millennials, who learn and operate in a completely different way? Lockheed obviously has a huge skilled workforce and they are not immune from the realities of demographics.” The initial investment is intended for Lockheed’s workforce, but the capability could be extended to third-party service providers like Cascade Aerospace of Abbotsford, B.C., one of only two approved C-130 Hercules service and heavy maintenance centres, or frontline military maintainers. “It will go down in the history of Contextere as one of the early highlights and seminal moments in our growth,” said Batstone about Lockheed’s ITB investment. SEEING STABILITY The value of the Lockheed brand can’t be understated, said Jim Andrews, general manager of Lockheed Martin Commercial Engine Solutions (LMCES). Andrews was part of Air Canada Technical Services in Montreal, the forerunner to Aveos Fleet Performance, whose assets and tools were acquired by Lockheed Martin Canada in 2013. From a start of just seven employees when the engine maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) facility re-opened in September 2013, LMCES Montreal has grown to over 250 people and doubled revenue year over year. It has a mandate to reach around 500 employees. “The previous facility had a very good name around the world for quality and service,” said Andrews, “and we’ve hired back many of the same people, but the name Lockheed Martin does bring comfort to the airlines that we deal with. Everyone thinks military, but even the commercial airlines see stability; they see financial strength.” LMCES provides MRO services to international air forces and recently closed a deal with the U.S. Air Force for work on the KC-10 aerial refuelling tanker. But in the past 18 months, the company has signed exclusive agreements with Frontier Airlines and Air Wisconsin for work on CFM56-5 and CFM34-3 engines, respectively, adding to a customer base that includes major North American and European airlines. Andrews said LMCES deliberately rebranded itself as a commercial entity to attract a global market and assure prospective customers the facility had a commercial focus. The brand has helped attract talent in Montreal’s large aerospace cluster, where engine manufacturers like Pratt & Whitney Canada and GE Aviation are also seeking young technicians and engineers from the region’s numerous colleges, universities and business schools. “We’re still in our infancy…[but] the world is open to us,” said Andrews. “We have the Lockheed name, the Montreal location, an extremely skilled workforce and a very good reputation for doing what is right, committing to our customers and executing on what we say.” CDL’s John Molberg would agree about the value of the Lockheed name. In 2012, Lockheed acquired CDL Systems, a Calgary-based firm of 60 employees founded in 1992 from technology developed by Defence Research and Development Canada-Suffield. Its software for unmanned aerial systems ground control stations was already well established–it had amassed over 1.5 million flight hours on more than 30 different platforms, and had as its primary customer the U.S. Army with the MQ-1C Gray Eagle, RQ-7 Shadow, and RQ-5 Hunter, among others. Now, as part of Lockheed’s Rotary and Mission Systems business, CDL Systems is seeing opportunities beyond the military, said Molberg, its business development manager. The company recently released Hydra Fusion Tools, a suite of tools that allows users to fuse and create a 3D world from captured terrain data. More impressive, the software can generate real-time, precise 3D models from multiple 2D images through what is known as simultaneous localization and mapping. “Right now, as far as I’m aware, no one else has the capability to do a live 3D model,” said Molberg. While military and police are logical customers for a tactical terrain picture that can be manipulated and measured and provide change analysis in real time, “You’d be surprised how many businesses are interested in this–pipelines, building roads, pouring concrete. It’s a new way of looking at the terrain [and] making the most of big data.” OFFERING SOLUTIONS The acquisition of Sikorsky Aircraft in November 2015 also provides Lockheed with another entry into the civil side of Canadian aviation. Sikorsky, of course, has had a firm footprint in Canada for years with corporate clients and offshore providers like Cougar Helicopters and HNZ. Chief executive Bouchard said the immediate priority remains on the military side with the introduction of the CH-148 Cyclone into service with the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) and Royal Canadian Navy (RCN). It may then shift to an eventual replacement for the CH-146 Griffon–Lockheed believes the Sikorsky UH-60 Black Hawk might fit the likely requirements. But there is no question “Canada is helicopter country,” said Bouchard, and Lockheed will be looking beyond the oil and gas sector that tends to drive helicopter sales to other areas in natural resources management, support to Arctic operations, medevac, and augmenting search and rescue capability. “We are looking not only at the more conventional helicopters, but also at the use of unmanned helicopters, whether it’s pipeline monitoring, fighting forest fires or resupply,” he said, noting the partnership with Kaman Aerospace that has transformed the K-Max helicopter into an unmanned platform capable of autonomous or remote-controlled operations. “Anything that is boring, dangerous or repetitive can be done without a pilot on board.” He added, “Take it one step bigger and we are talking about airships.” Lockheed is expecting to launch its first commercial airship next year with Quest Rare Minerals, which plans to eventually operate a fleet of seven helium-filled aircraft from its Strange Lake rare earth mining facility along the Quebec-Labrador border. “I’m not limited by what we have today,” said Bouchard. “I can envision what we’ll have tomorrow. I don’t approach [problems] with the idea that, this is what we make, therefore this is where I want to go. It’s more, what are the challenges of the customer and how can we be the solution? That’s why we are always looking for new ideas.” SERVICE AND SUPPORT Among those new ideas is a change in approach to in-service support (ISS). One of the ongoing challenges for military aircraft is keeping pace with technology. In 2016, Cascade Aerospace, an operating unit of IMP Aerospace & Defence, completed a block upgrade on the RCAF’s 17 CC-130J Hercules aircraft, a fleet acquired in 2007 and introduced into service beginning in 2010. Though the transport aircraft were barely five years old, changes across the global fleet and new Canadian requirements necessitated a sizeable upgrade package. Previously, with legacy CC-130 fleets, the RCAF would have likely managed an incremental program. With the J-model, however, Lockheed Martin has retained all intellectual property and data. Together with its global customers and suppliers, it develops and tests each upgrade package before providing maintenance centres like Cascade with a single kit for each aircraft. In this case, the upgrade from Block 6.0 to 7.0 involved three large modifications: a multinational block involving changes developed and available to all C-130J operators; a U.S. Air Force developed block; and a series of design requirements unique to Canada. To confirm new systems could be installed and integrated, the first RCAF aircraft was modified and tested by Lockheed Martin in Marietta, Ga., before complete kits for the remaining 16 were sent to Cascade. “That is how most of our fleets will continue to be postured,” LGen Mike Hood, RCAF commander, said of the new ISS approach. “We will continue to upgrade them in blocks along with our allies that are flying those aircraft. It is certainly a change in our operating concept since I started flying in the late ’80s.” For Cascade, the block approach was a significant change from how it had long maintained legacy CC-130 fleets. But it represents “an easier way of conducting several modifications together,” Pierre Carignan, Cascade’s director of C-130 programs, said at the time. “It is more efficient because you only open up things in the airplane once. …[H]istorically, Canada would perhaps ask the contractor to do a few modifications together, but not necessarily this many all at once.” That early success has encouraged Lockheed to consider a similar approach to the long-term maintenance for the CH-148 Cyclone. The company maintains a dedicated CC-130J team in Ottawa to respond to Canadian ISS needs, but the office remains connected to the global program. “I think it is a good balance between keeping our own proprietary information protected while at the same time providing the customer with service and teaming up with Canadian companies to make sure we share information,” said Bouchard, acknowledging that access to intellectual property can be a sticky and even contentious issue for ISS. “I’ve never worried about Canada receiving the information it requires to protect its sovereignty.” Whether that approach is extended to the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) is, of course, contingent on the next-generation jet being selected to replace Canada’s CF-188 Hornets. But already the F-35 is prompting a new model for engaging with Canadian industry. Rather than ITBs, the JSF program is constructed around “best value,” a process by which companies from participating nations compete and are selected to provide components not just for their country’s aircraft, but for the entire F-35 fleet, which could exceed 3,500 airplanes. But the ITB principle of helping small- and medium-sized companies reach global markets remains the same. Because of the exacting manufacturing techniques and requirements for the F-35, Lockheed and its partners, BAE Systems and Northrop Grumman, put a premium on finding innovative companies “that could learn.” One example often cited is Ottawa-based Gastops, a recipient of CC-130J ITB-related investments that also supports the F-35, based in part on its earlier relationship with the F-22 Raptor. Building components for the F-35 says a lot about your capabilities elsewhere, suggested Bouchard. “If you get the Lockheed seal of approval, that tells future customers that you have advanced manufacturing capability,” he said, pointing to companies like Mississauga-based Magellan Aerospace that provides the horizontal tail assemblies. “If you can meet F-35 standards, you can meet automotive or even satellite requirements.” With or without the F-35, the Lockheed Martin footprint in Canada is large and growing. Whether in military, or, increasingly, in commercial aerospace, the company has found innovative ways to do business differently. And it is drawing on a lot of Canadian ingenuity to achieve it. https://www.skiesmag.com/features/emphasizing-innovation/

  • Le gouvernement lance un processus concurrentiel ouvert et transparent afin de remplacer les chasseurs du Canada

    12 décembre 2017 | Local, Aérospatial

    Le gouvernement lance un processus concurrentiel ouvert et transparent afin de remplacer les chasseurs du Canada

    Communiqué de presse De Services publics et Approvisionnement Canada Le 12 décembre 2017 - Ottawa (Ontario) - Gouvernement du Canada L’une des principales priorités du gouvernement du Canada est de faire l'acquisition d'aéronefs dont les Forces canadiennes ont besoin afin d’assurer la sécurité des Canadiens, tout en assurant des retombées économiques pour le Canada. Le gouvernement honore sa promesse de mener un processus concurrentiel ouvert et transparent en vue de remplacer en permanence la flotte de chasseurs du Canada. Comme l’indique la politique de défense Protection, Sécurité, Engagement, le Canada fera l’acquisition de 88 chasseurs sophistiqués. Il s’agit du plus important investissement dans l’Aviation royale canadienne en plus de 30 ans. Cet investissement est essentiel, car il permettra d’assurer la sécurité des Canadiens et de remplir les obligations internationales du Canada en matière de défense. Grâce à ce processus concurrentiel, le gouvernement du Canada pourra obtenir le bon chasseur à un juste prix et générer des retombées économiques optimales pour les Canadiens. Le gouvernement veillera à ce que les fabricants et les industries canadiennes de l’aérospatiale et de la défense soient consultés au cours du processus. Les propositions feront l’objet d’une évaluation rigoureuse qui portera sur le coût, les exigences techniques ainsi que les retombées économiques. Comme il importe de faire affaire avec des partenaires de confiance, l’évaluation des propositions comprendra aussi un volet sur l’incidence des soumissionnaires sur les intérêts économiques du Canada. S’il est établi à l’évaluation des propositions qu’un soumissionnaire nuit aux intérêts économiques du Canada, ce soumissionnaire sera nettement désavantagé. Ce nouveau volet de l’évaluation ainsi que les lignes directrices sur son application comme outil d’approvisionnement courant seront définis par la tenue des consultations appropriées. De plus, la Politique des retombées industrielles et technologiques s’appliquera à ce marché, c’est-à-dire que le fournisseur retenu sera tenu d’investir au Canada une somme égale à la valeur du contrat. D’ici à ce que les chasseurs qui remplaceront en permanence la flotte actuelle soient en place et opérationnels, le Canada doit s’assurer que les Forces armées canadiennes disposent de l’équipement dont elles ont besoin pour continuer de mener à bien leurs missions, ainsi que respecter ses obligations internationales. Par conséquent, le gouvernement du Canada entend procéder à l’achat de 18 chasseurs supplémentaires auprès du gouvernement de l’Australie.   Citations « Comme nous l’avons promis, notre gouvernement lance un processus concurrentiel ouvert et transparent en vue de remplacer notre flotte de chasseurs par 88 appareils sophistiqués. Nous renforçons par ailleurs notre flotte de CF-18 en faisant l’acquisition de chasseurs auprès de l’Australie, pendant que nous menons à bien ce processus d’approvisionnement complexe et important. Nous annonçons donc aujourd’hui que nous nous assurons que nos militaires continuent de disposer de l’équipement dont ils ont besoin pour protéger les Canadiens. Nous comptons aussi tirer parti de ce processus d’approvisionnement pour renforcer les industries canadiennes de l’aérospatiale et de la défense, créer de bons emplois pour la classe moyenne et servir nos intérêts économiques. » L’honorable Carla Qualtrough Ministre des Services publics et de l’Approvisionnement « Nos militaires assument l’énorme responsabilité de veiller à la sécurité des Canadiens tous les jours. L’annonce d’aujourd’hui constitue un jalon important d’un processus qui permettra de doter nos militaires de l’équipement dont ils ont besoin pour s’acquitter de cette responsabilité, ainsi que de remplir les engagements que nous avons pris envers nos partenaires et nos alliés partout dans le monde. » L’honorable Harjit S. Sajjan Ministre de la Défense nationale « Ce projet offre l’occasion de soutenir la compétitivité à long terme des industries canadiennes de l’aérospatiale et de la défense, qui représentent, ensemble, plus de 240 000 emplois au Canada. Nous sommes déterminés à tirer parti de l’acquisition de la future flotte de chasseurs pour soutenir l’innovation, favoriser la croissance des fournisseurs canadiens, y compris les petites et moyennes entreprises, et créer des emplois pour les Canadiens de la classe moyenne. » L’honorable Navdeep Bains Ministre de l’Innovation, des Sciences et du Développement économique Faits en bref L’annonce d’aujourd’hui marque le début officiel du lancement du processus concurrentiel ouvert visant à remplacer la flotte de chasseurs du Canada. Dans un premier temps, le gouvernement dressera une liste de fournisseurs, qui comprendront des gouvernements étrangers et des fabricants de chasseurs ayant démontré qu’ils étaient capables de répondre aux besoins du Canada, comme il est défini dans l’invitation aux fournisseurs inscrits sur la liste. Toutes les entreprises sont invitées à participer au processus. Une planification approfondie et la mobilisation des intervenants se dérouleront tout au long de 2018 et de 2019. L’attribution du contrat est prévue en 2022, et la livraison du premier chasseur en 2025. Le gouvernement mobilisera les gouvernements étrangers, les fabricants de chasseurs et les industries canadiennes de l’aérospatiale et de la défense pour s’assurer que tous sont bien placés pour participer au processus. L'achat de 88 aéronefs représente une augmentation de la taille de la flotte de plus d'un tiers par rapport à ce qui était prévu avant la politique de défense Protection, Sécurité, Engagement (65 appareils). Ensemble, les industries canadiennes de l’aérospatiale et de la défense représentent plus de 240 000 emplois de qualité. L’aérospatiale est l’une des industries les plus innovatrices et les plus tournées vers l’exportation au Canada. Elle assure plus de 28 milliards de dollars par année au produit intérieur brut du Canada. L’industrie canadienne de la défense compte plus de 650 entreprises qui offrent des emplois de grande qualité à des travailleurs hautement qualifiés. Liens connexes Remplacer et compléter la flotte de CF-18 du Canada Remplacement des CF-18 L’état de l’industrie aérospatiale canadienne : rapport de 2017 https://www.canada.ca/fr/services-publics-approvisionnement/nouvelles/2017/12/le_gouvernement_lanceunprocessusconcurrentielouvertettransparent.html

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