22 décembre 2020 | Local, Aérospatial

Ottawa achète un avion sans pilote à 36 millions$ [VIDÉO]

OTTAWA - Le gouvernement fédéral a annoncé lundi avoir fait l'acquisition d'un système d'aéronef télépiloté au coût de 36,2 millions $ afin de protéger les eaux canadiennes et de surveiller la pollution.

Le nouvel appareil est un Hermes 900 StarLiner, est fabriqué par le constructeur aéronautique israélien Elbit Systems. Selon le site web de l'entreprise, l'engin a une envergure de 17 mètres et une masse maximale au décollage de 1'600 kg.

Il contribuera à la mise en oeuvre du Programme national de surveillance aérienne de Transports Canada, a indiqué Services publics et Approvisionnement Canada, dans un communiqué.

L'engin servira notamment à détecter les déversements de pétrole, à étudier les habitats de glace et d'eau et à surveiller ce qui se passe sur les eaux de l'Arctique canadien.

Le programme vise aussi à contribuer aux opérations de recherche et de sauvetage, aux activités humanitaires et à la lutte contre la pêche illégale.

«Cet achat jouera un rôle essentiel dans les efforts du gouvernement visant à vérifier le potentiel pratique de la technologie des drones et à l'intégrer en toute sécurité dans l'espace aérien», est-il également noté dans le communiqué.

L'aéronef pourra être commandé depuis un endroit éloigné. Il est doté de capacités d'autopilotage, dont le décollage et l'atterrissage automatiques. Son rayon d'action est de plus de 1400 milles marins.

Elbit Systems est une entreprise spécialisée dans les technologies de défense. Elle a obtenu le contrat à la suite d'un «processus d'approvisionnement concurrentiel, ouvert et transparent», insiste Ottawa. Il devrait être livré d'ici deux ans.


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  • French firm Dassault pulls out of fighter-jet competition: Sources

    7 novembre 2018 | Local, Aérospatial

    French firm Dassault pulls out of fighter-jet competition: Sources

    By Lee Berthiaume The long effort to replace Canada's aging fighter jets took another surprise twist on Tuesday, as multiple sources revealed that French fighter-jet maker Dassault is pulling out of the multibillion-dollar competition. The decision comes just over a week after the federal government published the military's requirements for a replacement for Canada's CF-18s as well as a draft process by which a winning supplier will be chosen. Dassault had repeatedly pitched its Rafale aircraft to Canada over the years as successive governments in Ottawa have wrestled with selecting a new fighter jet. Dassault's pitch included significant promises, including that it would assemble the planes in Canada. But sources tell The Canadian Press that Dassault's decision to withdraw was related to the fact France is not a member of the Five Eyes intelligence-sharing network, which counts the U.S., Britain, Australia, New Zealand and Canada as members. The five members have very specific requirements for how their equipment works together. The French government, which had been closely working with Dassault as the most recent iteration of Canada's fighter-replacement program has inched along over the past year, was preparing to notify Ottawa of the company's withdrawal. The move leaves four companies — U.S. aerospace giants Lockheed Martin and Boeing, European competitor Airbus and Swedish firm Saab — competing for the $19-billion contract to replace Canada's 76 CF-18s with 88 new fighters. A contract isn't expected to be awarded until 2021 or 2022, with delivery of the first new aircraft slated for 2025. In the meantime, the government is planning to upgrade its CF-18s and buy 25 used fighters from Australia as a stopgap. Dassault faced several significant challenges in meeting Canada's requirements for a new fighter, said defence analyst David Perry of the Canadian Global Affairs Institute, and while they weren't insurmountable, they would have cost time and money. Those challenges included meeting those Five-Eyes intelligence-sharing requirements, which Perry said put Dassault at a distinct disadvantage in the competition when compared to Lockheed Martin, Boeing and, to a certain degree, Airbus. "For any of the non-American companies, solving the Five-Eyes interoperability issues is going to be challenging," he said, noting that the U.S. in particular is very sensitive about data-sharing. "And it costs companies a lot of money to mount and pursue bids. So if they think at this point in time that it's not a realistic prospect, then pulling out is pretty understandable." That could explain why Dassault never established a strong presence in Canada during the many years when it was trying to sell the Rafale as a replacement for the CF-18, he added. The CF-18s are about 35 years old. Canada's attempts to buy a new fighter jet have dragged on for nearly a decade after the previous Conservative government announced in 2010 that Canada would buy 65 F-35s without a competition, with the first to be delivered in 2015. But the Tories pushed the reset button in 2012 after the auditor general raised questions about the program and National Defence revealed the jets would cost $46 billion over their lifetimes. After campaigning on a promise not to buy the F-35s, the Trudeau Liberals announced in November 2016 they would take their time with a competition to replace the CF-18s, and buy 18 "interim" Boeing Super Hornets without a competition because Canada needed more fighter jets badly. But then Boeing's trade dispute with Canadian rival Bombardier saw the Liberals scrap their plan to buy Super Hornets and instead begin talks to buy 18 used fighter jets from Australia. A contract for those used planes is expected in the coming weeks. The formal competition to replace the CF-18s is scheduled to begin next spring. https://www.nationalobserver.com/2018/11/07/news/french-firm-dassault-pulls-out-fighter-jet-competition-sources

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    25 mars 2020 | Local, Aérospatial, Naval, Terrestre, C4ISR, Sécurité

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  • AETE to join testing “centre of excellence” in Ottawa

    11 janvier 2019 | Local, Aérospatial

    AETE to join testing “centre of excellence” in Ottawa

    by Chris Thatcher The Aerospace Engineering Test Establishment (AETE) is unlikely to move from 4 Wing Cold Lake, Alta., until at least 2021, but already its location is attracting interest from potential future tenants. “The AETE building is the second-largest we have on the base, [so] there are a lot of eyes on my hangar,” Col Eric Grandmont, AETE's commanding officer, told Skies in a recent interview. While no one has shown up with paint swatches and asked to measure for new drapes, “a few people at different levels did walkthroughs,” he said. “There is a lot of interest, and rightly so. It could help a lot in the transition as new fighter capabilities come in and allow the base to grow.” The AETE hangar had been considered a likely destination for a new squadron of Boeing F/A-18E and F/A-18F Super Hornets, had the government proceeded with a plan to acquire 18 aircraft as an interim measure to augment the Royal Canadian Air Force's current fleet of 76 CF-188 Hornets. Though the Liberals have since opted to acquire 25 Royal Australian Air Force F/A-18 Hornets–18 operational and seven for spare parts–following a commercial dispute with Boeing, the AETE building is still part of the RCAF's future expansion plans for the fighter fleet. AETE's pending move made headlines in early December when Patrick Finn, the assistant deputy minister for materiel (ADM Mat) at the Department of National Defence (DND), told the Standing Committee on Public Accounts that the $470 million allotted for acquisition of interim fighter jets and an upgrade program to the entire Hornet fleet also included funding to cover AETE's relocation. The comment touched off an exchange with the committee chair, Conservative MP Kevin Sorenson of Battle River-Crowfoot, Alta., over when the decision was made and whether it might impact jobs in Cold Lake. In fact, the possible relocation of AETE dates back to the Defence Renewal Plan, an effort begun in 2012 to streamline business processes, find efficiencies, and maximize operational results across the Canadian Armed Forces and DND. As part of a change introduced in 2016 to how the RCAF and ADM Mat contract maintenance and support service, known as the Sustainment Initiative, DND conducted a review called the Engineering Flight Test Rationalization to assess ways to make AETE more sustainable, effective and efficient. The Flight Test Establishment had originally moved to Cold Lake from Ottawa in 1971 to take advantage of the large test range and more favourable flying climate. At the time, AETE owned a substantial fleet of instrumented test aircraft. Today, of the RCAF's 19 fleets of aircraft, AETE operates just two: two CF-188 Hornets and two CH-146 Griffons. It also has five CT-114 Tutors that are used mostly for proficiency flying. “For the remaining 17 fleets, we go on the road and deploy to do testing,” explained Grandmont, a flight test engineer. “Which means we are on the road a lot.” As fleets have become more digital, AETE has changed how it conducts tests. Where in the past an aircraft might have been instrumented from nose to tail–a process that could take months–AETE now has instrumentation packages that leverage the digital architecture of aircraft and can be quickly installed on location. “The technology is there to be able to get pretty much all the data we need,” he said of the newer and upgraded fleets. “Every project will have specific requirements, so it doesn't mean we don't have to put string gauges and stuff like that on an aircraft, but we are trying to maximize the existing systems onboard the aircraft.” However, that expanded travel, which can range from three to seven months a year, has made it difficult to attract test pilots and flight test engineers to Cold Lake. Aside from fighter pilots, who are already based at 4 Wing, few from the transport, tactical aviation, maritime patrol, maritime helicopter and search and rescue fleets are willing to volunteer. “We are asking people to move their family to Cold Lake and then deploy all the time to do testing,” said Grandmont. “And it's not that easy to travel to and from Cold Lake. It can become a 14- to 15-hour day or a two-day (trip) each way.” In addition to attracting and retaining talent–“I am starting to have a line up just based on the news from a couple of weeks ago; there are already people calling and asking, when are you guys moving?” said Grandmont–the return to Ottawa would also allow AETE to capitalize on testing resources already at the Ottawa International Airport operated by Transport Canada, which also employs test pilots and flight test engineers, and the National Research Council Canada's flight research laboratory. Transport Canada and the NRC focus primarily on commercial flight, but all three organizations use similar support systems to develop aircraft instrumentation packages, to test basic systems, and to analyze data. Transport Canada also has a new flight simulator building to accommodate the CAE 3000 Series helicopter cockpit simulators for the Canadian Coast Guard Bell 412EPI and Bell 429 helicopters, as well as fixed-wing simulators for a Cessna Citation C550 and a Beechcraft King Air. “We gain a lot of efficiency because those simulators are way cheaper to operate than what we do right now,” said Grandmont. The aim would be to create a Canadian centre of excellence for flight test science, engineering instrumentation and evaluation, he added. Among AETE's 50 to 60 recent and current projects were systems testing on the CH-147F Chinooks prior to their first operational deployment to Mali under hot and dusty conditions; preparation of the CH-148 Cyclone maritime helicopter for its first deployment aboard HMCS Ville de Quebec in summer 2018; test and evaluation of CF-188 Hornet systems and gear as the RCAF finalizes an upgrade package; and testing of systems and the airframe as the CP-140 Aurora completes a four-phased incremental modernization project and structural life extension. “Any question that cannot be answered using computer models or wind tunnels, then flight test is the last test to be able to answer those questions before a system on an aircraft can get an airworthiness certification,” explained Grandmont. https://www.skiesmag.com/news/aete-to-join-testing-centre-of-excellence-in-ottawa

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