16 février 2022 | Local, Aérospatial

Ottawa launches long awaited competition for armed military drones - Wings Magazine

OTTAWA — The federal government has officially launched a competition for the purchase of armed drones after nearly two decades of delays and discussion


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  • ‘First-class’ fighter pilot becomes eVTOL entrepreneur

    28 janvier 2021 | Local, Aérospatial

    ‘First-class’ fighter pilot becomes eVTOL entrepreneur

    BY NATASHA MCKENTY | JANUARY 28, 2021 Estimated reading time  14 minutes, 58 seconds. Brandon Robinson’s Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) and Top Aces fighter pilot exploits compare to those of a protagonist in a blockbuster movie. After graduating from the Royal Military College of Canada with First Class Honours, his career quickly skyrocketed from frontline fighter squadron to being selected for the prestigious Fighter Weapons Instructor Course (FWIC) – the Canadian version of Top Gun. He obtained an MBA at Royal Roads University, and then did a tour in Ottawa where he “managed over $4 billion in procurement projects for the Fighter Force.”  He spent the next few years instructing for FWIC. “Think ‘Viper’ from the movie Top Gun,” he laughed.   I then completed our Joint Command and Staff College program for those flagged for senior leadership.”   While instructing for FWIC, Robinson earned the CF-18 fighter pilot instructor role at 410 Squadron in Cold Lake, Alberta, leading into oversight of CF-18 Fleet Tactical Standards, and then onto senior project management with a deputy director role in multiple Air Force projects.  Robinson is modest. He credits his competitive nature “and a lot of luck” for his success.  “I fully acknowledge that without exceptionally talented and competitive friends, I would not have passed, let alone have been fortunate enough to fly jets,” he told Skies.  He found Military College to be physically and emotionally demanding, having a way of teaching you your limits and how to “be at peace with them.” Despite the challenges, he was one of the top five engineers in the program all four years.  For Robinson, aviation was innate. His grandfather, RCAF Capt Eric Robinson was a Second World War bomber pilot. His father, Brian Robinson, began flying at the age of 14, but his hopes of joining the Air Force were grounded when he learned his vision wasn’t good enough.  “My father was very young when he and [my grandfather] built from scrap metal what is now a family airplane — an old RC-3 Republic Seabee aircraft.” Brian retired from his day job to turn the family hobby into a successful custom aviation engineering business.  There was always “an army of airplanes” in and around Robinson’s home.  The first time Robinson piloted a plane, he was three years old. His grandfather let him sit in the seat in front of him. “I couldn’t sit. I had to stand,” he laughed. “He said, ‘OK, you have control, so take us over there.'”  That experience “made an imprint” for Robinson. After high school, much to his “mother’s chagrin,” he joined the RCAF to “fly fast jets.”  After military training, “there’s a big [graduation] ceremony where they hand out the slots, and I remember looking at the card and seeing the CF-18 symbol on the bottom,” he said. Internally, he was bursting.  Not surprisingly, when asked about the memorable moments of his career, he said it’s difficult to choose.  Robinson recalled, after being on the Squadron for just three months in Bagotville, Quebec, he was deployed to Hawaii for a joint exercise with the U.S. Navy.  “The U.S. Navy has this big exercise, and the Canadians were asked to go,” he said. “So, we ferried CF-18s across the country, from Quebec to Comox, British Columbia. We overnighted, met up with an aerial refueler and then the next thing I know I’m in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, tanking off a refueler. There’s a portion where, if you can’t get gas, you’re going to have to eject because you can’t get back to land. I’m a 27-year-old kid who only has 200 hours of experience in this CF-18, and I’m over the middle of the ocean thinking, ‘OK, you better make this happen.’ It’s not the easiest maneuver either,” he laughed.  Robinson shared the story of how he earned his call-sign: Repo. “I was flying, and my left engine essentially blew up; one of the main turbine hubs fractured. It severely crippled the aircraft, placing it into a reversionary control architecture. The engine was destroyed, and the aircraft was on fire,” he said.  After 10 “very long seconds” of being “out of control,” he “dealt with the fire” and regained control.  “I was able to land it safely back at the base. However, it was too badly damaged to fix. So, the joke was that the government had to repossess or repo it,” he laughed. “The damaged engine almost fell out when I landed.”  He remembered flying low-level over the ocean while “shooting missiles at drones and dropping bombs on remote-controlled moving ships; being in front of 100 angry fighter pilots leading a NATO coalition strike mission; [and] early morning departures over Torrey Pines in California to dogfight over the ocean.”  In 2018, with 20 years of service and a list of neck and spine injuries in his rear-view, he knew it was time to find adrenaline elsewhere. “You can’t pull seven-and-a-half Gs for 20 years without hurting a few things,” he laughed.  Leaving, he admitted, was a difficult decision, but entrepreneurship was also on his radar.  The kid that grew up in rural Ontario, Canada, with an “army of airplanes” at his disposal and a military career most would envy, headed out to his next call of duty. He joined forces with his father to start Horizon Aircraft, an aerospace startup that is currently developing the Cavorite X5 — a new eVTOL (electric vertical take-off and landing) design for the urban air mobility market.  Horizon has been developing the Cavorite X5 for the past two years. The concept for the X5 came from the company’s initial prototype, the X3 — an amphibious design with a hybrid electric power system. “When we were asked to push the performance even further, we naturally began investigating distributed electric propulsion and the potential for eVTOL modification of the core X3 concept,” explained Robinson. “That’s how the X5 The five-seat Cavorite X5 is powered by an electric motor coupled with a high-efficiency gas engine, but is ultimately built for fully electric flight. Horizon is building the aircraft to fly at speeds up to 350 kilometers per hour, with a 450-km range. The focus is to produce an aircraft “able to do real work in harsh environments,” including disaster relief, medevac, air cargo and personnel transport. Today, Robinson has his hands full with multiple patents pending, including a “fan-in-wing design” that would allow the Cavorite X5 to fly either like a conventional aircraft or an eVTOL when required. The X5 “flies like a normal aircraft for 99 percent of its mission,” said Robinson. The wing design “allows the aircraft to return to normal wing-borne lift after its vertical portion is complete; when moving forward, the wings close up and hide the vertical lift fans.” Horizon is working towards a large-scale prototype it hopes to have flying by the end of 2021. Robinson has become comfortable fielding questions based on skepticism. He’s built an army of support from his highly-skilled network, including Virgin Galactic test pilot and close friend, Jameel Janjua. “Our team is extremely experienced, formed out of my father’s previous custom aviation engineering business. We also have an individual leading the technical development who has designed, built and tested two novel aircraft designs from scratch.  https://skiesmag.com/news/first-class-fighter-pilot-evtol-entrepreneur

  • Laflamme Aéro reçoit 2 millions de dollars en capital de risque

    29 janvier 2020 | Local, Aérospatial

    Laflamme Aéro reçoit 2 millions de dollars en capital de risque

    Un produit novateur développé au Québec Saint-Joseph-de-Coleraine, 29 janvier 2019 — L’entreprise Laflamme Aéro, située dans la région de Thetford Mines, annonce la conclusion d’une ronde de financement de 2 millions de dollars à laquelle participent Investissement Québec, Anges Québec et Anges Québec Capital. Des investissements qui tombent à point pour l’entreprise qui s’apprête à commercialiser son drone LX300 dès 2020, le premier appareil au monde de type hélicoptère sans pilote capable de transporter des charges de 90 kilos. « Le LX300 est l'un des plus gros drones civils au monde. Avec ses 300 kilos, il se distingue principalement par sa polyvalence, sa capacité à transporter de lourdes charges et son autonomie de vol de huit heures. Cet investissement de 2 millions de dollars nous permet à présent de propulser et de faire connaître notre produit vers les grands marchés nationaux et internationaux », explique Enrick Laflamme, ingénieur, cofondateur et président de Laflamme Aéro, entreprise qu’il a fondée avec son frère David également ingénieur et vice-président ingénierie de l’entreprise en pleine croissance.   Outre le déploiement commercial du LX300, les nouveaux investissements annoncés aujourd’hui permettront de soutenir l’amélioration des infrastructures de l’entreprise et l’implantation d’une chaîne de montage, l’ajout de nouvelles ressources pour soutenir la croissance de Laflamme Aéro, ainsi que la continuité en recherche et développement de nouveaux produits.   Développé par l’entreprise familiale depuis 2013, le LX300 est un produit novateur destiné tant aux secteurs privé que commercial, militaire ou gouvernemental. Très versatile, l’appareil peut être muni de caméras de surveillance ou encore transporter du matériel sur de longues distances, pour approvisionner un secteur difficilement accessible par exemple. Le LX300 a relevé avec succès les nombreux essais en vol et autres manœuvres délicates de décollages et d’atterrissages au cours des deux dernières années.   « Il a tous les avantages d’un hélicoptère, mais sans avoir besoin d’un pilote. Il est muni d’un système de rotor en tandem (deux hélices), permettant le décollage et l’atterrissage à la verticale et une grande stabilité. Tous ces éléments et la qualité de conception en font un produit extrêmement fiable et dont les coûts opérationnels sont compétitifs », ajoute M. Laflamme.   Soutenir l'innovation en région   « Laflamme Aéro a développé une technologie efficace et unique, qui démontre l’excellence du Québec en matière d’innovation. Nous sommes fiers de soutenir une jeune entreprise aéronautique de pointe établie dans la région de Chaudière-Appalaches, afin de lui permettre d’être compétitive dans les différents secteurs ciblés afin de tirer son épingle du jeu dans un marché mondial de plusieurs milliards de dollars », soutient M. Pierre Fitzgibbon, ministre de l’Économie et de l’Innovation.   « Un secteur fort compétitif comme l’aéronautique exige des investissements majeurs en recherche et développement de la part des entreprises, et ce, sur plusieurs années, avant d’en arriver au stade de précommercialisation. Dans le cadre du mandat élargi que lui confie le gouvernement, Investissement Québec entend déployer des efforts particuliers pour financer et accompagner les entreprises des régions non urbaines comme Laflamme Aéro. Nous souhaitons faire la différence afin d’atténuer les lacunes décelées lors des stades critiques où les niveaux de risque-rendement sont souvent jugés trop élevés pour intéresser certains acteurs privés », précise M. Guy LeBlanc, président-directeur général, Investissement Québec.   Précisons que Laflamme Aéro bénéficie du soutien de Transport Canada dans le développement d’une certification adaptée selon les plus hauts standards, ainsi que de l’entreprise General Dynamics Mission Systems, une des plus grandes entreprises de défense et de sécurité au Canada, avec qui l’entreprise de Chaudière-Appalaches a récemment signé un accord de coopération afin de promouvoir le LX300 auprès des grands joueurs en défense et en sécurité au Canada et à l’international.   À propos de Laflamme Aéro   Fondée en 2006, Laflamme Aéro est une entreprise familiale située à St-Joseph-de-Coleraine dans la région de Thetford Mines au Québec dirigée par les frères David et Enrick Laflamme, tous deux ingénieurs et passionnés d’aviation. L'entreprise se spécialise dans le développement d'hélicoptères à rotors en tandem, dont le LX300 qui sera commercialisé dès 2020. Laflamme Aéro possède également une division de génie-conseil, Laflamme Ingénierie, qui réalise des projets d'ingénierie mécanique en sous-traitance pour des entreprises du secteur aérospatial, énergétique et manufacturier.   À propos d'Investissement Québec   Investissement Québec a pour mission de favoriser la croissance de l'investissement au Québec, contribuant ainsi au développement économique et à la création d'emplois, et ce, dans toutes les régions. La Société met au service des entreprises une gamme complète de solutions financières, notamment des prêts, des garanties de prêt et de l'investissement en capital-actions, afin de les soutenir à tous les stades de leur développement. De plus, elle est responsable de l'administration de mesures fiscales et de la prospection d'investissements à l'étranger.   À propos d'Anges Québec   Fondé en 2008, Anges Québec est un réseau de plus de 250 anges investisseurs qui ont pour mission d'investir et de s'investir dans des entreprises québécoises innovantes. Les membres du réseau d'Anges Québec ont, à ce jour, investi plus de 100 M$ dans l’économie québécoise, totalisant plus de 265 investissements dans plus de 137 entreprises innovantes. Grâce à son centre de développement professionnel, Anges Québec soutient ses membres dans l'acquisition constante de nouvelles connaissances et compétences inhérentes à l’investissement.   À propos d'Anges Québec Capital   Fondé en 2012, Anges Québec Capital est un fonds d'investissement de 86M$, commandité par Investissement Québec, via ses fonds propres et à titre de mandataire du Gouvernement du Québec, la Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec (CDPQ), le Fonds de Solidarité FTQ et des membres d'Anges Québec. Il a pour mission d'accompagner les 250 membres d’Anges Québec dans leurs investissements. À ce jour, Anges Québec Capital a investi plus de 47M$ dans 53 entreprises innovantes, totalisant 112 transactions.   Pour recevoir les communiqués d'Investissement Québec en temps réel, inscrivez-vous au fil RSS suivant : http://feeds.feedburner.com/IQcommuniques     Information Investissement Québec 1 844 474-6367 https://www-investquebec-com.cdn.ampproject.org/c/s/www.investquebec.com/amp/quebec/fr/salle-de-presse/communiques/Laflamme-Aero-recoit-2-millions-de-dollars-en-capital-de-risque.html

  • Updated: Eurofighter drops out of Canadian fighter jet program

    5 septembre 2019 | Local, Aérospatial

    Updated: Eurofighter drops out of Canadian fighter jet program

    By DAVID PUGLIESE, OTTAWA CITIZEN  Another company has pulled out of Canada’s competition to buy new fighter jets. The United Kingdom’s Ministry of Defence and Airbus Defence and Space informed the Canadian government Friday of their decision to withdraw from Canada’s future fighter competition. Airbus had been offering Canada the Eurofighter. Last year the European firm Dassault informed the Canadian government it would not be competing in the competition. It had been planning to offer Canada the Rafale fighter jet. The $19 billion competition has been dogged by allegations it is designed to favour Lockheed Martin’s F-35 stealth fighter. Postmedia reported earlier this year that the requirements for the new jets put emphasis on strategic attack and striking at ground targets during foreign missions. That criteria is seen to benefit the F-35. In addition, the federal government changed criteria on how it would assess industrial benefits after the U.S. government threatened to pull the F-35 from the competition. Industry representatives have said they will carefully review the Canadian requirements before making their decision to bid. The work needed to prepare a bid will cost the firms around $15 million each. The decision to pull the Eurofighter from the competition leaves the F-35, the Boeing Super Hornet, and Saab’s Gripen. It is unclear whether Boeing or Saab will continue in the competition. Airbus and the UK Defence Ministry noted that its decision to withdraw was the result of a detailed review of Canada’s request for proposals which was released to industry on July 23. It pointed to the changes Canada made to the industrial benefits package to appease Lockheed Martin as well as the excessive security costs that U.S.-Canadian security requirements placed on a company based outside North America. “A detailed review has led the parties to conclude that NORAD security requirements continue to place too significant of a cost on platforms whose manufacture and repair chains sit outside the United States-Canada 2-EYES community,” the statement from Airbus and the UK Defence Ministry noted. “Second, both parties concluded that the significant recent revision of industrial technological benefits obligations does not sufficiently value the binding commitments the Typhoon Canada package was willing to make, and which were one of its major points of focus.” Bids must be submitted by the spring of 2020. Public Services and Procurement Canada, which is running the competition, did not provide comment. A winning bid is expected to be determined by early 2022. The first aircraft would be delivered by 2025. Technical merit will make up the bulk of the assessment at 60 per cent. Cost and economic benefits companies can provide to Canada will each be worth 20 per cent. The Conservative government had previously selected the F-35 as the air force’s new jet but backed away from that plan after concerns about the technology and growing cost. During the 2015 election campaign, Justin Trudeau vowed that his government would not purchase the F-35. But at the same time, Trudeau stated his government would hold an open competition for the fighter purchase. The Liberal government backed away from its promise to freeze out the F-35 and the aircraft is now seen as a front-runner in the competition as it has many supporters in the Royal Canadian Air Force. Many of Canada’s allies plan to operate the plane. Canada is a partner in the F-35 program and has contributed funding for the aircraft’s development. Canada already changed some of the industrial benefits criteria of its fighter jet competition in May to satisfy concerns from the U.S. government that the F-35 would be penalized or couldn’t be considered because of how that program was set up. U.S. officials had warned that the F-35 development agreement Canada signed years ago prohibits partners from imposing requirements for industrial benefits. Under the F-35 agreement, partner nations such as Canada are prohibited from demanding domestic companies receive specific work on the fighter jet. Instead, Canadian firms compete and if they are good enough they receive contracts. Over the last 12 years, Canadian firms have earned more than $1.3 billion in contracts to build F-35 parts. The changes made in May would now allow some of those F-35 contracts to be considered when looking at industrial benefits for the new planes. https://ottawacitizen.com/news/national/defence-watch/eurofighter-drops-out-of-canadian-fighter-jet-program

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