14 mai 2020 | Local, Aérospatial, Naval, Terrestre, C4ISR, Sécurité

RIP SSE: What the COVID-19 Pandemic Means for Defence Funding

RIP SSE: What the COVID-19 Pandemic Means for Defence Funding

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  • Thales Canada invests in Virtual Marine’s ship simulation system

    9 octobre 2018 | Local, Naval

    Thales Canada invests in Virtual Marine’s ship simulation system

    Thales has invested in Canada-based Virtual Marine’s embedded ship simulation system as part of a new multi-phase research and development project. With an investment of more than $315,000, the project will involve development of a ship simulator for use across a range of platforms and projects in both naval, coastguard and commercial applications. Primarily it will support advanced platform testing and integration requirements for the Royal Canadian Navy programmes such as Arctic and Offshore Patrol Ships and Joint Support Ships In-Service Support (AJISS). Virtual Marine chief technical officer and executive vice-president Randy Billiard said: “The Ship Simulator Research project will result in a more innovative and technologically advanced ship simulator software product that will build on existing simulation technologies to enhance integration support and training options for prime defence integrators. “It will be tested by users who understand the need to properly de-risk systems for safe and full operational integration. This project will further position Virtual Marine as a leading and innovative provider of marine simulation solutions.” The research project will leverage Thales’s extensive software engineering expertise and capabilities in big data, connectivity, artificial intelligence and cybersecurity to upgrade baseline technology. The 12-month project will help provide the company with improved embedded navigation simulation capabilities support. In August last year, Thales received a C$800m AJISS contract from the Government of Canada to provide in-service support, refit, repair, maintenance and training to the Canadian Navy’s Arctic and Offshore Patrol Ships (AOPS) and Joint Support Ships (JSS). https://www.naval-technology.com/news/thales-invests-ship-simulation-system/

  • The Liberals want to 'refresh' the shipbuilding strategy. What does that mean?

    15 août 2018 | Local, Naval

    The Liberals want to 'refresh' the shipbuilding strategy. What does that mean?

    Murray Brewster Recent comments by a parliamentary secretary had Irving asking for a public commitment to the strategy The federal government has been quietly debating a "refresh" of its marquee — but troubled — national shipbuilding strategy, federal documents reveal. A memorandum to the deputy minister of Finance, obtained by CBC News under access to information legislation, notes there was "tangible progress" in ship construction last year, but also references impending production gaps at the two designated shipyards: Irving-owned Halifax Shipyard and Seaspan in Vancouver. The size and scope of the "policy refresh" was not made clear in the heavily redacted memo, dated Jan. 23, 2018. Officials at Public Services and Procurement Canada were asked to explain, but did not produce a response by Tuesday evening. As recently as last week, government officials were insisting they were still committed to the strategy. Still 'broken'? During the last election campaign, the Liberals pledged to fix the "broken" procurement system and invest heavily in the navy. Conceived under the Conservatives but embraced by the Liberals, the national shipbuilding strategy has been plagued by delays and ballooning cost estimates in the building of both warships and civilian vessels. Critics have long complained it would be cheaper and faster for Canada to buy offshore from foreign competitors. It also remains unclear whether the build-in-Canada provision that is at the heart of the strategy is up for consideration in the reset. Much of the icebreaking fleet belonging to the coast guard is in need of replacement — a critical gap that led the government recently to set aside $610 million for the refurbishment of three commercial ships. Similarly, the navy has been forced to lease a replenishment ship because of delays associated with the Joint Support Ship program. Confidential sources in the defence community said the review is being driven partly by a yet-to-be completed assessment of the coast guard, which has — according to a 2015 statutory assessment — among the oldest coast guard fleets in the world. The retooled policy is expected to be ready this fall, the sources said, and will also encompass updated budget estimates and timelines for delivery. Last spring, CBC News reported the federal government had received a revised delivery schedule for vessels being constructed at Seaspan. But it refused to release it. The new timetable, which apparently forecasts delays outside of the company's control, is politically sensitive. It speaks to issues at the heart of the breach-of-trust case against Vice Admiral Mark Norman, the military's second-highest commander — in particular, the program's inability to deliver ships in a timely manner. Full Article: https://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/liberals-shipbuilding-navy-refresh-1.4785465

  • COMMENTARY: Canada should follow Australia’s example in defence, foreign policy

    14 juillet 2020 | Local, Aérospatial, Naval, Terrestre, C4ISR, Sécurité

    COMMENTARY: Canada should follow Australia’s example in defence, foreign policy

    By Matthew Fisher Special to Global News Posted July 13, 2020 7:00 am  Updated July 13, 2020 11:32 am Those who follow developments in the Indo-Pacific often claim that Australia has a far more robust security posture there than Canada because of geographic necessity. The argument is that Australia must be especially vigilant because China is closer to it than Canada is to China. That perception may partially explain why Australia spends nearly twice as much per capita on defence as Canada does with little public discussion Down Under, let alone complaint. But here’s the thing. It depends where you start measuring from, of course, but the idea that Australia is physically closer to China is hokum. By the most obvious measure, Vancouver is 435 kilometres closer to Beijing (actual distance 8,508 km) than Beijing is to Sydney (8,943 km). By another measure, Sydney is only 1,000 km closer to Shanghai than Vancouver is. Mind you, it must also be said that Australia is far more reliant than Canada on trade moving through the South China Sea and the Strait of Malacca. Canada has many more shipping lanes to choose from. Despite their similarly resource-oriented export economies, extreme climates and thin populations, there are startling differences in how Canada and Australia have tackled the security challenges of this century. The standard line from Ottawa these days is that the Canadian government cannot possibly consider any other issue at the moment because the government’s entire focus is on coronavirus. Yet faced with the same lethal disease and the horrendous economic fallout and deficits that it’s triggered, Australia has found time to address alarming security concerns in the western Pacific. Pushing the COVID-19 calamity aside for a moment, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison declared last week that because it was “a more dangerous world,” his country intended to increase defence spending by as much as 40 per cent, or a whopping $255 billion over the next decade. The money will pay for submarines, greatly improved cyber capabilities, and the establishment of military partnerships with smaller nations in the western Pacific, which are constantly bullied by China. The Canadian government has often seemed paralyzed by the COVID-19 crisis and China’s kidnappings of the Two Michaels and has been slow to react to the rapidly changing security environment. This includes not yet banning Huawei’s G5 cellular network, as Australia has done. Nor has Ottawa indicated anything about the future of defence spending in an era when Canada’s national debt has now ballooned to more than $1 trillion. Faced with similar public health and economic challenges as Canada, Australian diplomats, generals and admirals have recently increased military and trade ties with India and are completing a Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) with Japan that affords troops from the two countries legal protections and presupposes that they will collaborate more closely with each other in the future. Canberra also inked a deal with Tokyo last week to collaborate on war-fighting in the space domain and closer military ties. Despite complaints of “gross interference” in China’s internal affairs by Beijing’s foreign ministry, Australia has also agreed to let about 14,000 visitors from Hong Kong extend their visas by five years and will offer an accelerated path for Chinese students to obtain Australian citizenship. Perhaps most alarming from Beijing’s point-of-view, the Quad intelligence group, which includes Australia, Japan, India and the U.S., could be about to add a military dimension. Navies from all four countries are expected to take part in joint naval exercises soon in the Indian Ocean. Even before announcing a huge increase, defence spending was already at 1.9 per cent of Australia’s GDP. The defence budget in Canada has remained static near 1 per cent for years, despite a pledge to NATO six years ago by former Canadian prime minister Stephen Harper, and repeated several times since by current Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, that defence spending would soar to 2 per cent. As it is, the Australian Defence Force spends about $15 billion a year more on defence than Canada does. That money buys a lot of kit and capability. The ADF has two new fleets of frontline fighter jets, the Super Hornet and the F-35, has attack helicopters and new maritime surveillance aircraft, is building a dozen French-designed attack submarines, and already has two huge, new assault ships and other new warships. The Canadian Armed Forces are a very poor second to Australia with 40-year old CF-18 fighter jets and surveillance aircraft, 30-year old submarines that seldom put to sea and no assault ships or attack helicopters. Aside from the red herring of geographic proximity, there are other factors that account for the stark differences in how Australia and Canada regard defence spending and the threat posed by an ascendant China. Many Canadians believe that the U.S. will protect them so do not see why should they pay more for their own defence. Australia also has a longstanding all-party consensus that national security is a top priority. The two main political parties in Canada regard procurement as football to be kicked around. Neither of them has a declared foreign policy. A cultural contrast is that Canadians have bought into a peacekeeping myth that has never really been true and is certainly not true today, while largely ignoring the wars its troops fought with great distinction in. Australians remain far more focused on recalling what their troops did in the Boer War, the two World Wars and Korea. As well as finally working on some joint defence procurement projects, Canada and Australia should collaborate with each other and other western nations to prevent China from playing them off against each other in trade. For example, Canadian farmers recently grabbed Australia’s share of the barley market after China banned Australian barley in response to Canberra’s demand for an independent investigation into what Beijing knew and when about COVID-19. The Australians did the same in reverse when Canadian canola was banned by China. Australia has moved to protect what it regards as its national interests by calling out China on human rights and spending much more on defence with little apparent fear as to how China might retaliate. Ottawa has not yet articulated what its interests are and acts as if it is scared at how China might respond if it takes a tougher stance. What must be acknowledged in Ottawa is that the coronavirus has not caused China to abandon or even pause for a moment in pursuit of its goal of shaping a new world order not only in the western Pacific but wherever it can. Australia is seriously upping its game in response. Canada remains silent. Matthew Fisher is an international affairs columnist and foreign correspondent who has worked abroad for 35 years. You can follow him on Twitter at @mfisheroverseas https://globalnews.ca/news/7161890/commentary-canada-should-follow-australias-example-in-defence-foreign-policy/

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