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  • Canadian CF-18 upgrade package OK’d by US

    17 juin 2020 | International, Aérospatial

    Canadian CF-18 upgrade package OK’d by US

    By: Aaron Mehta WASHINGTON — The U.S. State Department has cleared Canada to purchase a package of upgrades for its fleet of CF-18 Hornets, including upgraded radars and weapons, intended to serve as a bridge between the legacy fleet and Canada's future fighter. The package, which comes with an estimated price tag of $862.3 million, would fulfill the requirements for Canada's “Hornet Extension Project Phase 2,” which was announced last year. The program seeks to upgrade the “sensors, weapons, survivability, security and mission support to maintain parity with evolving threats” for 36 of Canada's Hornets, with initial delivery in 2023, according to a statement on the Canadian military's website. Canada has 80 CF-18s in inventory and is in the midst of a long attempt to replace the aging fighters with 88 newer designs — one of which has been marred with restarts and political challenges. The Phase 2 extension is designed to help bridge the capability gap until new jets come online. Among the upgrades included in this potential package: 50 Sidewinder AIM-9X Block II tactical missiles; 38 APG-79(V)4 active electronically scanned array radars; 38 APG-79(V)4 AESA radar A1 kits; 46 F/A-18A wide-band RADOMEs; upgrades to the Advanced Distributed Combat Training System; and technical assistance to support the upgraded jets. “This sale will provide Canada a 2-squadron bridge of enhanced F/A-18A aircraft to continue meeting NORAD and NATO commitments while it gradually introduces new advanced aircraft via the Future Fighter Capability Program between 2025 and 2035,” said a statement from the Defense Security Cooperation Agency, using an acronym for the U.S.-Canadian North American Aerospace Defense Command. “The proposed sale of the capabilities, as listed, will improve Canada's capability to meet current and future warfare threats and provide greater security for its critical infrastructure,” it added. Work would be performed by Raytheon in its El Segundo, California, location; General Dynamics Mission Systems in Marion, Virginia; Boeing's St. Louis, Missouri, facility; and Collins Aerospace in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Any industrial offset agreements will be sorted out in the future. Announcements of potential Foreign Military Sales deals are not final, and dollar amounts or quantities of items may change during final negotiation.

  • Contract Awards by US Department of Defense - June 16, 2020

    17 juin 2020 | International, Aérospatial, Naval, Terrestre, C4ISR, Sécurité

    Contract Awards by US Department of Defense - June 16, 2020

    ARMY EA-Wood-2 MP JV,* Hunt Valley, Maryland (W912DY-20-D-0073); and Gsina-Gilbane JV LLC,* Flemington, New Jersey (W912DY-20-D-0075), will compete for each order of the $400,000,000 hybrid (cost-plus-fixed-fee and firm-fixed-price) contract to procure the services of small business firms to perform Military Munitions Response Program responses involving conventional munitions; environmental compliance and remediation services; and other munitions-related services. Bids were solicited via the internet with 18 received. Work locations and funding will be determined with each order, with an estimated completion date of Feb. 3, 2025. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Huntsville, Alabama, is the contracting activity. Northrup Grumman Systems Corp., Linthicum Heights, Maryland, was awarded an $89,551,256 hybrid (cost-no-fee, cost-plus-fixed-fee, firm-fixed-price) contract for Long Range Radar-Enhanced and Vehicle and Dismount Exploitation Radar program efforts. Bids were solicited via the internet with one received. Work locations and funding will be determined with each order, with an estimated completion date of June 15, 2025. U.S. Army Contracting Command, Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland, is the contracting activity (W56KGY-20-D-0012). Oshkosh Defense LLC, Oshkosh, Wisconsin, was awarded a $61,890,745 modification (P00282) to contract W56HZV-15-C-0095 to increase available options under the current Joint Light Tactical Vehicle trailer contract from 32 to 3,541. Work will be performed in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, with an estimated completion date of Oct. 31, 2021. Fiscal 2020 procurement; defense-wide; and other procurement, Army funds in the amount of $61,890,745 were obligated at the time of the award. U.S. Army Contracting Command, Detroit Arsenal, Michigan, is the contracting activity. NIC4 Inc.,* Tampa, Florida, was awarded a $16,778,695 modification (P00002) to contract W91CRB-19-D-5001 to increase various line items due to additional scope and add additional services connected with Very Small Aperture Terminals services and equipment. Bids were solicited via the internet with one received. Work locations and funding will be determined with each order, with an estimated completion date of July 31, 2024. U.S. Army Contracting Command, Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland, is the contracting activity. DEFENSE LOGISTICS AGENCY Seqirus Inc., Summit, New Jersey, has been awarded a maximum $66,563,972 firm-fixed-price, indefinite-quantity contract for injectable influenza vaccines. This was a competitive acquisition with two offers received. This is a one-year contract with no option periods. Location of performance is New Jersey, with a June 15, 2021, performance completion date. Using customers are Army, Air Force, Navy and Coast Guard. Type of appropriation is fiscal 2020 through 2021 defense working capital funds. The contracting activity is the Defense Logistics Agency Troop Support, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (SPE2DP-20-D-0004). Pentaq Manufacturing Corp.,** Sabana Grande, Puerto Rico, has been awarded a maximum $33,645,750 firm-fixed-price, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract for trousers. This is a one-year base contract with four one-year option periods. This was a competitive acquisition with eight responses received. Location of performance is Puerto Rico, with a June 15, 2021, ordering period end date. Using military service is Army. Type of appropriation is fiscal 2020 through 2021 defense working capital funds. The contracting activity is the Defense Logistics Agency Troop Support, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (SPE1C1-20-D-1258). Viasat Inc., Carlsbad, California, has been awarded a maximum $8,928,000 firm-fixed-price contract for AV-8B spare parts. This was a sole-source acquisition using justification 10 U.S. Code 2304 (c)(1), as stated in Federal Acquisition Regulation 6.302-1. This is a three-month contract with no option periods. Location of performance is California, with a Sept. 30, 2020, performance completion date. Using military service is Navy. Type of appropriation is fiscal 2020 Navy aircraft procurement funds. The contracting activity is the Defense Logistics Agency Aviation, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (SPRPA1-20-C-R016). Skupien Solutions, doing business as Superior Surgical,* Brentwood, Tennessee, has been awarded a maximum $8,000,000 fixed-price with economic-price-adjustment, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract for hospital equipment and accessories for the Defense Logistics Agency electronic catalog. This was a competitive acquisition with 122 responses received. This is a five-year contract with no option periods. Location of performance is Tennessee, with a June 15, 2025, ordering period end date. Using military services are Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps. Type of appropriation is fiscal 2020 through 2025 defense working capital funds. The contracting activity is the Defense Logistics Agency Troop Support, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (SPE2DH-20-D-0043). NAVY Civil Works Contracting LLC,* Wilmington, North Carolina (N40085-15-D-0847); Hager Construction Co.,* Jacksonville, Florida (N40085-15-D-0848); Onopa Services LLC,* Sanford, Florida (N40085-15-D-0850); and Quadrant Construction Inc.,* Jacksonville, North Carolina (N40085-15-D-0851), are awarded a $60,000,000 firm-fixed-price modification to increase the maximum dollar value of indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity multiple award construction contracts for general construction services within the Marine Corps Installations East area of responsibility. Work will be performed at various Navy and Marine Corps installation locations including, but not limited to, North Carolina (90%); Georgia (3%); South Carolina (3%); Virginia (3%); and other areas of the U.S. (1%). The work to be performed provides for general construction services including, but not limited to, new construction, demolition, total/partial repairs, interior/exterior and the alteration/renovation of buildings. Other systems and infrastructure may include civil, structural, mechanical, electrical, communication systems and the installation of new or extensions to existing high voltage electrical distribution systems; high pressure steam distribution systems; potable water distribution systems and sanitary sewer systems. Additional work provides for storm water control systems, painting, removal of asbestos materials, lead paint and incidental related work. Work is expected to be complete by June 2021. After award of this modification, the total maximum dollar value for all six contracts combined will be $150,000,000. No funds will be obligated at the time of award, and will be obligated on individual task orders as they are issued. Future task orders will be primarily funded by operations and maintenance (Marine Corps) and military construction funds. The Naval Facilities Engineering Command Mid-Atlantic, Norfolk, Virginia, is the contracting activity. Austal USA, Mobile, Alabama, is awarded a $43,362,470 cost-plus-fixed-fee and firm-fixed-price modification to previously awarded contract N00024-17-C-2301 to exercise options for Littoral Combat Ships (LCS) class design services and Integrated Data and Product Model Environment (IDPME) support. Work will be performed in Mobile, Alabama (60%); and Pittsfield, Massachusetts (40%). Austal USA will provide class design services, including but not limited to, technical analyses, non-recurring engineering, configuration management, software maintenance, production assessments, diminishing manufacturing sources analysis, root cause analysis and sea frame reliability analysis. Austal USA will also maintain an IDPME that provides the Navy access to enterprise data management, visualization, program management applications, network management and control. Work is expected to be complete by June 2021. Fiscal 2014 and 2015 shipbuilding and conversion (Navy); and 2020 research, development, test, and evaluation (Navy) funding in the amount of $10,954,997 will be obligated at time of award and will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Naval Sea Systems Command, Washington, D.C., is the contracting activity. CH2M Hill Constructors Inc., Englewood, Colorado, is awarded a $33,097,127 modification on firm-fixed-price task order N69450-20-F-0077 under a multiple award construction contract for design build repairs of Building 633 at Naval Air Station Pensacola. Work will be performed in Pensacola, Florida, and provides for the design build construction, alteration and repair of Building 633 in order to return the building to full operation. Building 633 is approximately 117,000 square feet and is a historic federal facility with administrative spaces, classrooms and an auditorium. Work is expected to be complete by September 2021. After the award of this modification, the total task order value will be $34,095,501. The task order also contains seven unexercised options, which will increase cumulative task order value to $38,407,860 if exercised. Fiscal 2020 operations and maintenance (Navy) contract funds in the amount of $33,097,127 are obligated on this award and will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Naval Facilities Engineering Command, Southeast, Jacksonville, Florida, is the contracting activity (N62470-19-D-8024). AH Environmental Consultants Inc.,* Newport News, Virginia, is awarded a $15,000,000 firm-fixed-price, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity, architect-engineering contract with a maximum amount of $15,000,000 for professional environmental consulting services within the Naval Facilities Engineering Command (NAVFAC) Southeast area of operations (AO). Initial task order is being awarded at $61,661 to update the storm water pollution prevention plan and annual comprehensive evaluation plan at the Naval Support Activity, Panama City, Florida. The work provides for professional architect-engineering services for potable water, wastewater, storm water, spill control and other related miscellaneous environmental services, to include various forms of support for these environmental programs. Work for this task order is expected to be complete by September 2020. All work on this contract will be performed at various activities in the NAVFAC Southeast AO and is expected to be complete by June 2025. Fiscal 2020 operations and maintenance (Navy) (O&M,N) contract funds in the amount of $61,661 are obligated on this award and will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. Future task orders will be primarily funded by O&MN. This contract was competitively procured via the Navy Electronic Commerce Online website and five proposals were received. The NAVFAC Southeast, Jacksonville, Florida, is the contracting activity (N69450-20-D-0031). Forward Slope Inc., San Diego, California (N66001-20-D-3430); ODME Solutions LLC, San Diego, California (N66001-20-D-3431); SOLUTE, San Diego, California (N66001-20-D-3432); and Syneren Technologies Corp., Arlington, Virginia (N66001-20-D-3433), are awarded a $11,288,928 indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity, cost-plus-fixed-fee multiple-award contract to support meteorological and oceanographic capabilities for Foreign Military Sales systems, expeditionary/joint systems and projects supporting ashore and afloat operations worldwide. Work will be performed in San Diego, California. All four awardees will have the opportunity to compete for task orders during the ordering period. This two-year contract includes three one-year option periods, which will bring the potential value of this contract to an estimated $29,115,178 if exercised. The period of performance of the base award is from June 16, 2020, through June 15, 2022. If all options are exercised, the period of performance would extend through June 2025. No funds will be obligated at the time of award. Funds will be obligated as task orders are issued using operations and maintenance (Navy); other procurement (Navy); research, development test and evaluation (Navy); and Foreign Military Sales funds. This contract was competitively procured via request for proposal N66001-20-R-0088 which was published on the website and the Naval Information Warfare Systems Command e-Commerce Central website. Five offers were received and four were selected for award. Naval Information Warfare Center Pacific, San Diego, California, is the contracting activity. AIR FORCE The Boeing Co., St. Louis, Missouri, has been awarded a $22,665,000 firm-fixed-price modification (PZ0011) to contract FA8621-17-C-6398 for F-15SA aircrew training devices (ATD). The contract modification provides for the purchase and installation of a full mission trainer (FMT), a visual database for the area of King Khalid Air Base, Saudi Arabia, and five years of contractor logistics support for existing ATDs. Work will be performed in St. Louis, Missouri; King Faisal Air Base, Saudi Arabia; and King Khalid Air Base, Saudi Arabia. This modification involves Foreign Military Sales (FMS) to Saudi Arabia, and work is expected to be completed by April 30, 2024. FMS funds in the amount of $27,040,000 are being obligated at the time of award. Total cumulative face value of the contract is $93,740,000. Air Force Life Cycle Management Center, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, is the contracting activity. Braxton Technologies LLC, Colorado Springs, Colorado, has been awarded a $19,910,587 cost-plus-fixed-fee contract modification (P00014) to contract FA8806-19-C-0003 for support to the Schriever Air Force Base Infrastructure - Minimal Viable Product (MVP) effort. This modification provides for cross-domain solutions, design, integration and rapid delivery team services. Work will be performed in Colorado Springs, Colorado, and is expected to be completed April 30, 2021. Fiscal 2020 research, development, test and evaluation funds in the amount of $14,465,154 are being obligated at the time of award. The total cumulative face value of the contract is $80,366,105. Space and Missile Systems Center, Los Angeles Air Force Base, California, is the contracting activity. *Small Business **Small Disadvantaged Business in Historically Underutilized Business Zone

  • A new leader for naval intelligence

    17 juin 2020 | International, Naval, C4ISR

    A new leader for naval intelligence

    Mark Pomerleau The Navy announced new leaders for its various information warfare entities June 6, including a new officer to lead the service's information warfare efforts. Rear Adm. Jeffrey Trussler has been selected as the Navy's next deputy chief of naval operations for information warfare, N2/N6 and director of naval intelligence, according to a Department of Defense release. Trussler, who will also get his third star, replaces Vice Adm. Matthew Kohler, who retired June 5 Under a new reorganization within the Department of the Navy, this position also serves as the co-deputy chief information officer in conjunction with the Marine Corps deputy commandant for information. Trussler recently served as the director of future plans, N55, in the office of the Chief of Naval Operations. During his tenure, Kohler helped develop new concepts to modernize the Navy for the information environment, including overseeing the creation of the Naval Information Warfighting Development Center. That center trains warfare tactics instructors (WTIs), which is what the Navy describes as its information warfare “top guns.” Rear Adm. (lower half) Michael Vernazza, who is currently serving as the deputy commander of 10th Fleet/Fleet Cyber Command, has been selected to leader the IWDC, according to a second June 6 announcement.

  • With the future of the US Navy’s carrier air wing murky, Congress demands a plan

    17 juin 2020 | International, Naval

    With the future of the US Navy’s carrier air wing murky, Congress demands a plan

    By: David B. Larter WASHINGTON – The US Navy will need to develop a roadmap for developing future fighter aircraft years after it became apparent that the Navy's mainstay F/A-18 Super Hornet would struggle to keep the carrier outside of range to be effective against Chinese anti-ship missiles. A provision in the Senate Armed Services Committee's mark of the National Defense Authorization Act told the Navy to come up with a concrete plan for fielding next generation fighter aircraft, a move that comes months after congressional appropriators gutted 2020 funding for the Navy's next-generation air dominance program, taking the requested $20.7 million and slashing it to $7.1 million. By way of comparison, the Air Force requested $1 billion in funding for its Next Generation Air Dominance program, but saw a relatively minor 10 percent cut from appropriators that was cited as a “classified adjustment.” The SASC mark “requires the Navy to create a fighter aircraft force structure acquisition strategy and report on aircraft carrier air wing composition and carrier-based strike fighter squadrons to better prepare for potential conflicts envisioned by the National Defense Strategy,” according to a summary posted on the Committee's website. The Navy likely upset the congressional apple cart by zeroing out a planned buy of at least 36 Super Hornets that would have spanned FY22 through FY24. That move that should save $4.5 billion that the service plans to redirect to its sixth-generation fighter program, known as Next Generation Air Dominance or F/A-XX. So, what's F/A-XX? The Navy has tried to address the range issue with fielding an unmanned tanker, the MQ-25 Stingray, but that program could face delays if the Navy's operational schedule doesn't align to allow testing. But what exactly the F/A-XX will be is anyone's guess. The Navy finished an Analysis of Alternatives in June of last year and the spokesman for the Navy's assistant secretary for research, development and acquisition told Defense News earlier this month that the program was in the concept development phase. But some experts believe that given the Navy's budgetary constraints for the foreseeable future, the F/A-XX should be a derivative of a current aircraft. Bryan Clark, a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute and a retired submarine officer, said in recent testimony before the House Armed Services Committee that it would make sense to keep buying the F/A-18s to keep the line hot for a potential F/A-XX. “I think the F/A-XX is going to need to be probably a derivative of an existing airplane rather than some complete new clean sheet design given the fiscal constraints we're under,” Clark said. “Therefore, keeping production lines going for both of our existing strike fighters is a good idea to allow both to be an option for this future F/A-XX.” In 2019, formed Deputy Secretary of Defense Bob Work told Defense News that the next fighter should really be unmanned, and that going that route would help save some money. “The focus should be on the F/A-XX. If you really want range, that has to be the platform you are shooting for,” Work said. “Because with the Navy buying the F-35Cs, and the Marine [Corps] buying the F-35Bs and the Navy buying the Block III Super Hornet, you are not going to be able to afford two or three programs. So, the F/A-XX is the one you need to focus on. And if the analysis shows you need range, that points to unmanned.” But naval aviation has shown very little appetite for fielding an unmanned long-range fighter, and the Navy more generally has been tepid on unmanned technologies, according to former Chief of Naval Operations retired Adm. Garry Roughead, who testified at HASC alongside Clark. “I reflect that we flew an unmanned aircraft off of an aircraft carrier in 2012,” Roughead said. “2012! That has not happened again. Eight years, in my mind, of a hiatus in trying to advance this new technology is not aggressive by any stretch of the imagination.” Valerie Insinna contributed to this report from Washington.

  • British MoD shortlists four vendor teams for its multibillion-dollar Skynet satellite program

    17 juin 2020 | International, C4ISR

    British MoD shortlists four vendor teams for its multibillion-dollar Skynet satellite program

    By: Andrew Chuter LONDON – Four international consortia have been shortlisted by Britain's Ministry of Defence to enter the final stage of bidding to operate ground control facilities for its Skynet satellite communications network. Teams led by Airbus Defence & Space, Babcock Integrated Technology, BT and Serco, have been down-selected for the Skynet 6 Service Delivery Wrap program following the MoD's Defence Digital organization release of an invitation to tender document to the remaining contenders June 12. The make-up of one of the teams vying for the ground station operations contract is already known, while others have yet to announce who their partners are. Serco has declared its team will involve satellite operator Inmarsat, IT specialist CGI UK and the U.K. arm of defense giant Lockheed Martin. British communications company BT, Babcock and Airbus are all keeping their teaming arrangements under wraps for the time being. Airbus, Britain's biggest satellite builder, did though coincide the MoD Skynet 6 down-select with a separate space partnering announcement of its own. The company said June 16 it had teamed with KBR, Leidos UK, Northrop Grumman and QinetiQ to launch a new space initiative known as Open Innovation-Space aimed at increasing British involvement in future satellite communications efforts. No mention was made by Airbus of the Skynet 6 program. All the companies are working under strict Skynet 6 non-disclosure agreements with the MoD which forbid communication with the media and others. The ground station program is the second part of the MoD's wider Skynet 6 project to equip the military and government with a new generation of beyond-line-of-sight communications capabilities starting around 2028. The Skynet 6 program has already seen Airbus start work on a new satellite, called Skynet 6A, to act as a capability gap filler between 2025 and the introduction of the follow-on, new-generation capacity. A deal for preliminary design work and long-lead time manufacture was signed by Airbus and the MoD in March and the contract to build the Skynet 6A spacecraft is in the final stages of government approval and expected to be announced within weeks. The other two key parts of a program presently expected to cost in total around £6 billion ($7.6 billion) are the Enduring Capability project, to provide next generation communications capabilities, and the Secure Telemetry, Tracking and Command (STTC) project for providing assured sovereign control and management of satellites. The MoD has settled its STTC requirements for SkyNet 6A but its options for the longer term remain open. Work on defining what the Enduring Capability requirement might look like has been underway for a while and industry executives here expect the effort to be ramped up in the coming months with the first tranche of recommendations due to be presented to the MoD early next year, said people with knowledge of the program. The next-generation communications requirement is planned to get underway next year with the release by MoD of a pre-qualification questionnaire. One industry executive, who asked not to be named, said securing the Service Delivery Wrap deal was an important stepping stone towards satellite builders securing the big prize – the Enduring Capability requirement. “It will help the winning consortium secure local skills in the sector, help in understanding the customers communications requirements and assist in filling in the revenue gaps between what is often sporadic investment in satellites and payloads,” the executive said. Space is an industrial and military priority for the British, and while it remains unclear how the worsening economic picture here might impact defense spending it is hoped the sector ,and programs like SkyNet 6 and the Galileo global navigation satellite system replacement project, might escape the worst of the expected cuts. One cost cutting option the British are reckoned to have been looking at is to use future SkyNet 6 spacecraft to double up its use by carrying a GNSS capability as well. Skynet ground facilities are currently operated by Airbus as part of a wider private finance initiative (PFI) deal signed in 2003 to build, own and operate a constellation of communication satellites and associated capabilities on behalf of the British military. That deal expires Aug 2022. The winning Service Delivery Wrap contender is slated to take over ground operations from that point after a transition phase. In a contract note issued June 16 the MoD said the return date of the invitation to tender is set for June next year. The Service Delivery Wrap arrangement runs for five years, not including any transition phase, with two single-year extension options also expected to be included in the deal. The terms of the existing PFI arrangement entail the MoD paying a nominal fee of a Pound in exchange for which it will take ownership of hundreds of millions of Pounds worth of assets in the shape of ground infrastructure and the Skynet 4 and 5 satellite fleets currently operated by Airbus. This time around the MoD wants to retain overall ownership of the capability in order to help grow its space skills and management experience by way of owning the ground station assets with the winning consortium working under a straightforward service provision deal.

  • Les ministres européens de la Défense appellent à plus de coopération

    17 juin 2020 | International, Aérospatial, Naval, Terrestre, C4ISR, Sécurité

    Les ministres européens de la Défense appellent à plus de coopération

    Réunis à Bruxelles, les ministres de la Défense européens ont appelé mardi 16 juin à un redémarrage rapide des missions de défense et de sécurité communes momentanément interrompues par la crise du Covid. Ils appellent à aller de l'avant dans les opérations, à renforcer le fonds européen de défense, à aller vers un outil de financement pour pouvoir équiper les armées entraînées comme au Mali et enfin à affermir la base industrielle et technologique de défense européenne afin de réduire toute dépendance dans les secteurs critiques. « Le terme d'autonomie stratégique, longtemps tabou, est désormais accepté de tous, même si tous les pays n'en ont pas la même interprétation de peur d'opposer leur appartenance à l'Otan et à l'Union européenne », explique un membre de l'entourage de la ministre de la Défense Florence Parly aux Echos. Les Echos du 16 juin 2020

  • Canada to pay $4.1B for Navy support ships in latest cost increase

    16 juin 2020 | Local, Naval

    Canada to pay $4.1B for Navy support ships in latest cost increase

    The Canadian Press OTTAWA — Canada's national shipbuilding plan was rocked by yet another cost increase on Monday as the federal government revealed it will pay $4.1 billion for two long-overdue support ships for the navy — an increase of $1.5 billion from initial estimates. The revelation came as Ottawa officially awarded a contract for the full construction of the two new Protecteur-class joint support ships to Vancouver's Seaspan shipyards, which has already started work on the first of the vessels. Seaspan was first tapped to build the two ships and several coast guard vessels in 2011, at which point the supply ships were expected to cost $2.6 billion. The figure was later revised to $3.4 billion before another $700 million was added Monday. The first of the support ships was to have been delivered by 2019. The government says it now doesn't expect the first ship before 2023, with the second due in 2025. Seaspan has been under contract to work on some parts of the first ship since June 2018. The Royal Canadian Navy has been without a full-time support ship since 2014 and is currently relying on a converted civilian vessel that is being leased from Quebec's Chantier Davie shipyard to fill the gap. That ship, the MV Asterix, was at the heart of the failed prosecution of retired vice-admiral Mark Norman. The Liberal government was playing down the cost increase to the support ships on Monday, with senior ministers touting the importance of the vessels to the Royal Canadian Navy and the jobs that the project is creating in Vancouver and elsewhere. "These new ships will provide a necessary capability for our Royal Canadian Navy, while providing significant economic benefits and jobs to Canadians, including thousands of jobs created or sustained," Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan said in a statement. Yet the cost increase is the latest to hit the shipbuilding plan, which has been plagued by delays and budget increases for years. The plan is intended to recapitalize the majority of Canada's naval and coast guard fleets. The entire plan to buy new warships to replace the navy's frigates and destroyers, several Arctic patrol vessels, a polar icebreaker and four science vessels for the Canadian Coast Guard in addition to the two support ships was pegged in 2011 at $35 billion. The warships alone are now expected to cost at least $65 billion while the rest of the projects have either seen similar budget increases or their budgets are under review. The delivery schedules for the projects have also been pushed back numerous times. Defence analyst David Perry of the Canadian Global Affairs Institute noted the new cost for the support ships is almost exactly how much Parliament's budget watchdog estimated following an analysis in 2013. The Conservative government at the time refuted the parliamentary budget officer's estimate, with then-public works minister Rona Ambrose saying appropriate safeguards had been put into place to protect taxpayers. "There's not a lot of detail in this today so it's hard to do a line by line," Perry said. "But superficially at least, the PBO's report from 2013 — which I recall being pooh-poohed pretty extensively — has held up pretty well." Ottawa has in recent years produced update cost estimates for most of the vessels being built through the federal shipbuilding plan. However, budgets for the polar icebreaker and an offshore science vessel for the coast guard are still under review. This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 15, 2020.

  • Royal Australian Air Force to speak at UAV Technology 2020

    16 juin 2020 | International, Aérospatial

    Royal Australian Air Force to speak at UAV Technology 2020

    This year, at UAV Technology, SMi Group has announced the Royal Australian Air Force's Deputy Director RPAS, Lieutenant Colonel Keirin Joyce, as a speaker on the last day of the two-day event. Initially starting off his career in engineering and helicopters, Lieutenant Colonel Keirin Joyce found himself getting involved on the new drone program for the Australian Army, eventually progressing onto being one of the key assets for the organisation as the Australian Army Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) Sub-Program Manager responsible for all Australian Army UAS activities 13 years later.* (Source: Flight Safety Australia). Interested parties will be able to save £200 off the conference price by 30th June: The 5th annual UAV Technology will reconvene in London, UK on the 28th - 29th September 2020. The meeting will provide delegates with an opportunity to meet with high profile military and government personnel and hear their key insights as they present their exclusive briefings and exhibit their new technologies at the conference. Following his extensive background in the UAS sector, Lieutenant Colonel Keirin Joyce, Deputy Director RPAS, Royal Australian Air Force will provide an exclusive presentation on: ‘Royal Australian Air Force Armed RPAS Procurement' • Shift towards armed RPAS: why the RAAF is acquiring the MQ-9B Sky Guardian and how this fit into wider defence modernisation - "Jericho Edge" • Acquisition programme progress and lessons learned from working with industry • How the RAAF is preparing its manpower and infrastructure to support the MQ-9B and further opportunities for industry to engage • Where the RAAF is going future force development with UAVs, both UCAV and ISR For the full speaker list and the programme, visit: UAV Technology 28th - 29th September 2020 London, UK Sponsored by: AeroVironment, Fizoptika, Leonardo and Mynaric For sponsorship and exhibition queries please contact Justin Predescu or call +44 (0) 20 7827 6130 For delegate queries please contact Sadia Malick or call +44(0)207 827 6748 For media queries please contact Carina Gozo at *'Drone Flyer Diaries - LTCOL Keirin Joyce' (Source: Flight Safety Australia, Dec 2019)

  • Ottawa awards $2.4B contract to finish building navy's supply ships

    16 juin 2020 | Local, Naval

    Ottawa awards $2.4B contract to finish building navy's supply ships

    The decision signals the project won't be delayed by pandemic-driven deficit spending Murray Brewster · CBC News · Posted: Jun 15, 2020 2:45 PM The Liberal government has awarded a $2.4 billion contract to finish the overall construction of the navy's long-awaited supply ships. Today's announcement moves forward a Joint Support Ship program over a decade-and-a-half in the making. It also appears to signal the federal government remains committed to its multi-billion shipbuilding program despite record levels of pandemic-driven federal deficit spending. The contract, with Seaspan's Vancouver Shipyards, is for the construction of two replenishment vessels, Public Services and Procurement Canada said in a statement. Now that the construction deal has been signed, the overall price tag of the program — including design — is expected to be $4.1 billion, up from an earlier estimate of $3.4 billion. Seven years ago, the Parliamentary Budget Office (PBO) predicted the cost would end up where it has — an estimate that was roundly criticized and dismissed by the Conservatives, who were in power at the time. "The government announcement today did not have a whole ton of detail, so it's hard to do an exact comparison, but I certainly think that PBO estimate from a long time ago has held up pretty well over time," said Dave Perry, an expert in defence procurement and vice president of the Canadian Global Affairs Institute. The first supply ship is to be delivered in 2023, and the second vessel is supposed to arrive two years later. The yard started construction on certain portions of the first ship in 2018, while final design work was still underway — something that alarmed and even baffled some defence and shipbuilding experts. 'Business as usual' With the federal deficit expected to swell to over $252.1 billion because of COVID-19 relief measures, many in the defence community had been speculating that existing spending plans for the supply ships would be curtailed or scaled back. In a statement, federal Public Services Minister Anita Anand suggested the Liberal government is committed to staying the course. "This contract award is yet another example of our ongoing commitment to the National Shipbuilding Strategy, which is supporting a strong and sustainable marine sector in Canada," she said. Perry said he takes it as a sign the Liberals intend to proceed with their defence construction plans in the face of fiscal and economic uncertainty. "It is an indicator that, despite being business under some very unusual circumstances, it is still government business-as-usual under COVID," he said. In the same government statement, Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan pointed out that an enormous amount of preparation work has been done already and he's pleased the project is moving forward. "An impressive amount of work has already gone into the construction of these new ships, and I look forward to their arrival in the coming years." said Sajjan. Construction during COVID-19 A senior executive at Seaspan said work to adapt the design from the original German plan (the Canadian ship is based on the German Navy's Berlin-Class replenishment vessel) was completed last year and work on the superstructure of the first Joint Support Ship — started in 2018 — has been proceeding apace, even through the pandemic. "It is well advanced," said Amy MacLeod, the company's vice-president of corporate affairs. "We are ready to continue. We're very, very happy with the quality of the ship, the progress of the ship, the momentum that we have and the expertise we have gained." The shipyard did not pause construction due to the pandemic — but it did have to figure out ways to carry on under strict physical distancing rules. "We, like everybody else, had to understand how to run a business in a pandemic," said MacLeod. "We made a lot of changes on how we build our ships." Turnstiles to enter and exit the yard were eliminated and the company went high-tech with a "heat map" that shows where everyone is working and how much space there is between individual workers. "And where we couldn't ensure appropriate social distancing because of COVID, we stopped that work." Perry said the gap between the construction of the two supply ships worries him to a degree. Seaspan intends to construct an ocean science vessel for the coast guard under a plan agreed to with the Liberal government in 2019. Any delay or hiccup in the construction of that ship could mean the delivery of the second naval vessel is pushed back even further, Perry said. Extending the navy's range News of the contract will come as a relief to the navy. Having replenishment ships to refuel and rearm frigates would allow the navy to deploy entire task groups to far-flung parts of the world. "With these warships, the Royal Canadian Navy will be able to operate with even greater flexibility and endurance," said Vice-Admiral Art McDonald, commander of the navy. "These ships will not only form part of the core of our naval task groups, they also represent a vital and strategic national asset that will enable the Navy to maintain its global reach and staying power." A tortured history It was 1994 when the replacement program was first discussed. The deficit-slashing years of that decade meant the plan was shelved. Resurrected in 2004, the Liberal government of former prime minister Paul Martin hoped to have the ships in the water by 2008 to replace the three-decade-old supply ships the navy had been operating. Faced with cost estimates well over what they had expected, the Conservative government of former prime minister Stephen Harper shelved the Liberal plan on the eve of the 2008 federal election. More than five years later, the navy was forced to retire both aging supply ships after one of them was crippled by a devastating fire. The absence of replenishment capability led the Harper government to lease a converted civilian supply ship from a private company, Federal Fleet Services, which operates out of the Davie Shipyard in Levis, Que. That plan led to a political and legal scandal when the former commander of the navy, Vice-Admiral Mark Norman, was accused of leaking cabinet secrets related to the plan. The Crown withdrew the charge a year ago after a protracted pre-trial court battle.

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