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  • Here’s why Canada’s defence industry is such an innovation powerhouse

    14 septembre 2018 | Local, Aérospatial, Naval, Terrestre, C4ISR

    Here’s why Canada’s defence industry is such an innovation powerhouse

    Christyn (Chris) Cianfarani In late 2011, the Department of National Defence decided that the rafts it was using to carry out search and rescue operations in open water were due for an update. Part of DND’s sea rescue kit, the new rafts needed to be compact and durable, but they also had to inflate reliably at temperatures as low as -50 C in the frozen expanses of Canada’s North. If they didn’t, lives could hang in the balance. Enter Benoit Corbeil and his team at Tulmar Safety Systems, who found a way to create a light, durable raft that could be safely airdropped, and would inflate manually on the ice or automatically in water. With a fully enclosed canopy, those rescued can now be immediately sheltered from the cold wind and freezing ocean spray. The responsibility to save lives is what drives people like Benoit and thousands of other Canadians working in the defence and security industries to continue creating innovative solutions to complex problems. In my role as the head of the Canadian Association of Defence and Security Industries (CADSI), I’m often struck by the sheer level of creativity and talent in our sector. But it shouldn’t come as a surprise because we’ve been gathering evidence on this for a few years now.     Flexible, collaborative and fruitful  In May, CADSI – in partnership with Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada (ISED) and Statistics Canada – released the latest State of Canada’s Defence Industry report. We found that defence and security companies were behind $400 million worth of research and development (R&D) in 2016, resulting in an R&D intensity close to 4.5 times higher than the Canadian manufacturing average. Our members – now more than 900 of them across Canada – aren’t doing this work in a vacuum, of course. They are collaborating with partners in academia, government and supply chains to push boundaries and develop brand new technologies.  DND’s new Innovation for Defence Excellence and Security (IDEaS) Program will help encourage even more of this type of cooperation, allocating $1.6 -billion over two decades to innovative solutions that address Canada’s defence and security challenges. Sixteen initial challenges have been identified, and start-ups, SMEs, corporations and academics have all been invited to apply. The first contracts were awarded in August, with more coming in fall 2018.  But our industry’s work is already having tangible, real-world impacts for average Canadians. In July, for instance, global satellite operator Telesat – a company headquartered right in Ottawa – launched the Telstar 19 VANTAGE. This powerful satellite will connect communities across Nunavut with faster and more reliable broadband, opening the territory to the world. We featured Telesat vice-president Michele Beck’s contributions to this project in our My North, My Home campaign. Full article:

  • New Swedish government advocates for greater defense spending

    13 septembre 2018 | International, Aérospatial, Naval, Terrestre, C4ISR

    New Swedish government advocates for greater defense spending

    By: Gerard O'Dwyer STOCKHOLM — The Swedish military can expect to see a sizable increase in its annual budget regardless of the composition of the new government that will be formed in the wake of parliamentary elections. All of the mainstream parties, including the ruling Social Democrats (SDP), the Moderates, the Center, Liberals and the Sweden Democrats’ right-wing nationalist party, campaigned on delivering a stronger national defense and channeling a much higher level of spending to the Swedish Armed Forces over the next 10 years. "Sweden needs a more resilient national defense capability that is better funded and resourced," said Stefan Löfven, the SDP’s leader and Sweden’s prime minister. The SDP is hoping to assemble a new government in partnership with the Leftist and Green parties. These three parties secured a 40.8 percent share of the popular vote in the recently concluded September 2018 election. Löfven’s main challenge is the center-right Alliance group, which includes the Moderates, the Center, Liberals and Christian Democrats. Together, the four Alliance parties won 40.3 percent of the popular vote. The Alliance is looking to form a new government that excludes both the SDP and the Sweden Democrats. The Sweden Democrats raised its share of the popular vote to 17.6 percent. All mainstream parties have ruled out forming a coalition that includes the Sweden Democrats. Defense will be very much on the minds of Sweden’s new government, against a backdrop of an unpredictable Russia and a domestic military that is unable to either fund major new procurement programs or work within the tight parameters of the current budgeting framework. By: Aaron Mehta “Sweden’s national defense has been neglected for decades. What has happened is shameful. The budget allocated to the armed forces must reflect needs, operational realities and the requirement to replace outdated equipment. The goal should be to raise spending on defense to 2 percent of GDP, the recommended NATO level, inside 10 years,” said Ulf Kristersson, leader of the Moderates and someone being widely tipped to become Sweden’s next prime minister. The Alliance supports a more ambitious spending plan for the military that would increase the armed forces' budget by $2.3 billion in the 2019-2021 budgetary period. “The [Swedish Armed Forces] needs to be able to afford to run essential equipment-replacement programs. We need more Army brigades, more fighter aircraft, and among other things an increased cyber defense capacity,” Kristersson said. Restoring the military’s budget and finances to levels that actually reflect the force’s capability requirements will take time. The organization’s budget has been in decline since the Cold War era of 1963, when defense spending amounted to 3.68 percent of Sweden’s gross domestic product. Spending as a ratio of GDP had dropped to 1.1 percent by 2015. It currently stands at about 1.03 percent, a historic low. A force development plan endorsed by the armed forces favors an increase in annual spending on defense to between $7.36 billion and $9 billion by 2025. In the longer term, and by the year 2035, the military would like to see defense spending rise to more than $12.1 billion. At the same time, the Swedish Armed Forces would be strengthened from the current 50,000 personnel of all ranks to 120,000 by the year 2035. This proposed new look, improved capability and reinforced organization would comprise at least four brigade-level units, a light infantry special forces regiment, a fleet of 24 surface combat naval vessels and six submarines, eight fighter squadrons, and 120 Gripen combat aircraft. Stefan Löfven’s SDP-led government adopted new measures in 2017 to increase annual spending on the military from about $4.7 billion to $6.6 billion by 2019. Under the spending plan supported by the Alliance, defense expenditure would grow year on year after 2019, reaching $8 billion by 2024. Full article:

  • Estonia eyes mid-range air defense systems to rectify NATO ‘oversight’

    13 septembre 2018 | International, Terrestre

    Estonia eyes mid-range air defense systems to rectify NATO ‘oversight’

    By: Aaron Mehta WASHINGTON — Estonia’s military is prioritizing the purchase of a midrange air defense system as the country seeks to plug a capability gap its defense minister called the result of a “total oversight” by NATO. During a Washington trip to attend Sen. John McCain’s funeral, Estonian Defence Minister Jüri Luik told Defense News that NATO made a strategic mistake in the years following the collapse of the Soviet Union by not building up air defense capabilities, outside of rotational deployments of aircraft. “For a long time, there was no consideration that you would actively have to close the airspace at some point. So NATO countries have very weak air defense capabilities,” Luik said. “I think this is one of the priority systems, or priority areas, which every [one of the allied] countries should develop.” “I have to say with sadness that very few NATO countries actually have proper air defense capabilities. That is one of the areas which was gravely mismanaged, or was not under any attention,” he added. “I think that was a total oversight. But, of course, it was based on the idea that the era of big power tensions is over.” Luik hopes to put Estonia’s money where his mouth is. The country in June signed an agreementwith MBDA to purchase more Mistral short-range air defense weapons, but has its eyes on adding another layer of protection. The country is looking at procuring a medium-range air defense system, similar to the Kongsberg network-centric air defence system, or NASAMS, purchased by Lithuania, which is also in use by Finland. While not declaring Estonia would also go after NASAMS, Luik acknowledged that regional air defense systems “should be as close as possible coordinated” with neighborhood countries. However, such a system is “the only step which is even theoretically available to our country with our defense spending,” Luik said, even if the upcoming March elections lead to a government willing to increase defense spending to about 2.5 percent of gross domestic product. (At the worst, Luik predicts, defense spending would remain flat.) Full article:

  • French joint chief calls for coordinated European force

    12 septembre 2018 | International, Aérospatial, Naval, Terrestre, C4ISR

    French joint chief calls for coordinated European force

    By: Pierre Tran SATORY ARMY BASE, France — Nations in Europe need to forge a more coordinated forceacross the continent, with each ready to step up to play a leadership role during conflict, said the French joint chief of staff. “The future of the defense of nations on the continent cannot be considered outside the European framework,” Army Gen. François Lecointre told the Summer Defense University, a two-day gathering of senior officers, parliamentarians and industry chiefs. “In the context of doubt over multilateralism, greater fragility of alliances and America’s refocus of attention to the Indo-Pacific region, the European continent must confront — increasingly on its own — all kinds of threats: might, terrorism, hybrid, cyber and migration,” he said. That use of the term “might” referred to unspecified nations perceived to pose a threat to Western allies. That calls for a common vision in strategy and capability, with a country ready to take the role of a “leader nation,” he said. The aim is to build a “European strategic autonomy,” he added. The French armed forces minister, Florence Parly, came to the army base, just outside Versailles, west of the capital, and watched a dynamic display staged by the Army. The service fielded a Jaguar combat and reconnaissance vehicle, a VBCI infantry fighting vehicle carrying a squad of troops, a robotic vehicle carrying a wounded soldier, and a Leclerc main battle tank carried by a tank transport. France invites foreign officers and political leaders to the high-level annual gathering, organized by CEIS, a think tank and consultancy.

  • Rafael positions Australian JV for expansion

    11 septembre 2018 | International, Terrestre

    Rafael positions Australian JV for expansion

    Jon Grevatt, Bangkok - IHS Jane's Defence Weekly Israel’s Rafael Advanced Defense Systems is looking to support the development of its Australian joint venture (JV) to enable the new company to head up a range of local missile manufacturing programmes and lead efforts to secure exports. The JV was established earlier in 2018 through an investment partnership with Australian company Varley and will initially be focused on producing Rafael’s Spike LR2 anti-tank guided missile (ATGM) for the Australian Army under Land 400 Phase 2. In this project, the Spike will be fitted onto the Rheinmetall Boxer 8×8 armoured vehicle, 211 units of which were formally ordered by the Australian Department of Defence (DoD) in August.

  • Canada's arms deal with Saudi Arabia is shrinking

    10 septembre 2018 | Local, Terrestre

    Canada's arms deal with Saudi Arabia is shrinking

    The LAV sale is being scaled back. Critics want it killed completely. Murray Brewster · CBC News A Canadian defence contractor will be selling fewer armoured vehicles to Saudi Arabia than originally planned, according to new documents obtained by CBC News. That could be a mixed blessing in light of the ongoing diplomatic dispute between the two countries, say human rights groups and a defence analyst. The scaled-back order — implemented before the Riyadh government erupted in fury over Canada's public criticism of Saudi Arabia's arrest of activists and froze new trade with Canada this summer — could make it politically less defensible for the Liberal government, which has argued it's in the country's business and economic interests to uphold the deal. The documents show General Dynamic Land Systems Canada, the London, Ont.-based manufacturer, was — as of spring last year — going to deliver only 742 of the modern LAV-6s, a reduction from the original 2014 deal. The initial order from the desert kingdom was for 928 vehicles, including 119 of the heavy assault variety equipped with 105 millimetre cannons. Details of the agreement have long been kept under a cloak of secrecy. General Dynamic Land Systems, the Canadian Commercial Corporation (the Crown corporation which brokered the deal) and the Saudi government have all refused to acknowledge the specifics, other than the roughly $15 billion price tag. Last spring, CBC News obtained copies of internal documents and a slide deck presentation from 2014 outlining the original agreement. The latest internal company documents obtained by CBC News are dated March 29, 2017, and indicate the agreement had been amended a few months prior, perhaps in the latter half of 2016. The documents also indicate delivery of the vehicles is already underway and has been for months. CBC News asked for a response from both Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland's office and General Dynamics Land Systems Canada. Both declined comment over the weekend.. A cash-strapped kingdom A defence analyst said the amended order likely has more to do with the current state of Saudi Arabia's finances than its frustration over Canada's human rights criticism. "Saudi Arabia — in part because of low oil prices and in part because of corruption and mismanagement of its own economy — has a large budget deficit," said Thomas Juneau, a University of Ottawa assistant professor and former National Defence analyst. "Spending $15 billion over a number of years for armoured vehicles that it doesn't need that much, at least in a pressing sense, is an easier target for budget cuts, for sure." The kingdom has projected a budget deficit of $52 billion US this year and the country's finance minister said last spring it is on track to cut spending by seven per cent. When it was signed, the armoured vehicle deal was a way for Canada to cement relations with an important strategic partner in the region, said Juneau. Should Ottawa cancel the sale? He said he wonders if it's still worthwhile, in light of the furious diplomatic row that began over the Canadian government's tweeted expressions of concern for jailed activists — and quickly escalated with the expulsion of Canada's ambassador, the freezing of trade, the cancellation of grain shipments and the withdrawal of Saudi medical students from Canadian programs. "Now, with the dust not really having settled after the dispute from August, is that partnership, in abstract terms, still necessary? I think it is. But is it still possible?" said Juneau. Human rights groups say they believe there is even more reason for Ottawa to walk away from the deal now, given the events of this summer and the declining economic benefit. "We're compromising our position on human rights for even less than we thought," said Cesar Jaramillo, the executive director of Project Ploughshares, which has opposed the agreement from the outset. "Even if it's not a huge decrease, it is still a decrease. It should, at least in political and economic terms, make it easier for the Trudeau government to reconsider this deal, especially in terms of the latest diplomatic spat." Full article:

  • Les premiers entretiens de l’Europe de la défense à Panthéon Sorbonne

    10 septembre 2018 | International, Aérospatial, Naval, Terrestre, C4ISR

    Les premiers entretiens de l’Europe de la défense à Panthéon Sorbonne

    B2) Alors que la rentrée va se faire sous l’angle de la défense — que ce soit au niveau européen avec les propositions de Emmanuel Macron ou le discours de l’état de l’Union de Jean-Claude Juncker — et avant les universités d’été de la défense, nous publions une série de papiers issus des Premiers Entretiens de la défense européenne à la Sorbonne que nous avons organisé en juin avec nos amis universitaires et chercheurs. Une panoplie d’acteurs industriels, de chercheurs et d’acteurs institutionnels, réunis autour d’un sujet majeur : dans quelle direction s’oriente l’Europe de la défense, en particulier l’industrie européenne de défense qui a fait l’objet de toutes les attentions des politiques ces derniers mois. Du côté industriel se dégage un certain consensus pour estimer que les dernières nouvelles venues de Bruxelles, avec la création du Fonds européen de défense, sont positives. Pour autant, elles ne peuvent pas solutionner certaines faiblesses notables. Pour Carole Ferrand, de la direction générale de l’armement DGA, créer une base industrielle et technique de défense européenne (BITDE) suppose une autonomie industrielle, c’est-à-dire sans pays tiers. Oui, mais elle doit être composée de champions forts à l’export, et pas seulement sur le marché européen, qui est trop petit pour avoir exister et innover, précise Olivier Martin de MBDA. Attention à bien définir les modalités du Fonds, relate Stéphane Abrial, de SAFRAN. Les acteurs institutionnels, eux, s’accordent sur un point en particulier : c’est à l’industrie de faire un pas en avant et lancer des projets rapidement, au moyen du Fonds européen de défense, comme l’ont martelé Pierre Delsaux, directeur général adjoint, et Anne Fort, chef d’unité adjoint, à la DG GROW à la Commission européenne, ainsi que Jean-Youri Martin, directeur adjoint de l’Agence européenne de défense. Quel chemin parcouru, a précisé Françoise Grossetête, eurodéputée, qui nous a fait part de son expérience de rapporteure du programme de développement industriel de défense, détaillant les circonstances, finalement favorables, qui a amené une majorité assez large, plutôt inédite quand on parle d’intégration européenne, des conservateurs aux sociaux-démocrates, pour approuver ce nouveau programme. Enfin nous avons pu avoir un portrait sans concession de la future coopération structurée permanente (PESCO) par F. Mauro ou de la situation des budgets européens de défense avec F. Coulomb. A noter sur vos agendas : Les seconds entretiens de la défense européenne auront lieu au printemps 2019, juste avant les élections européennes. Nous vous tiendrons informés sur ce site, comme sur celui des Entretiens. (Nicolas Gros-Verheyde avec Aurélie Pugnet, st.)

  • Australia, Rheinmetall ink $500 million contract for military trucks

    10 septembre 2018 | International, Terrestre

    Australia, Rheinmetall ink $500 million contract for military trucks

    By: Sebastian Sprenger COLOGNE, Germany — Australia has signed a contract with Rheinmetall to supply military trucks worth €430 million (U.S. $500 million) to the country’s armed forces, the company announced Thursday. The deal for 1,000 logistics trucks comes on top of a previous order for 2,500 such vehicles, worth €1.2 billion. Deliveries for the new order will begin next year and last until 2024, the German company said. The latest batch of vehicles stems from the Australian LAND 121 Phase 5B program, which is an extension of the larger 3B segment. “This follow-up order is of great strategic significance to us, providing an excellent reference for other important international projects,” Rheinmetall CEO Armin Papperger was quoted as saying in the company statement. “It reflects Australia’s satisfaction with our performance and the quality of our vehicles,” he added. “Rheinmetall’s latest success in the Asia-Pacific region proves that our products are at the cutting edge of technology, and that the customer see in us a proven and reliable partner, fully capable of carrying out sophisticated large-scale projects.” The Düsseldorf, Germany-based company currently is Australia's largest supplier of military vehicles, according to the website of the state of Queensland. Rheinmetall is establishing a “military vehicle center of excellence” outside of Brisbane, the state's capital. That location is slated to be a hub for the Australian military’s LAND 400 program, for which Rheinmetall was formally tapped last month to build Boxer wheeled armored reconnaissance vehicles worth €2.1 billion. The award was first announced by the Australian government in March. There could be yet more business for Rheinmetall in Australia. The next phase of the multibillion-dollar LAND 400 program, which addresses a requirement for new infantry fighting vehicles, began with the release of a tender in late August. Rheinmetall is expected to put forward its Lynx vehicle. Companies have through March 1, 2019, to submit bids.

  • Pentagon Report Shows China’s Continually Modernizing and Growing Military Capabilities

    7 septembre 2018 | International, Aérospatial, Naval, Terrestre, C4ISR

    Pentagon Report Shows China’s Continually Modernizing and Growing Military Capabilities

     By Dean Cheng The Department of Defense has released the latest edition of its report on Chinese military and security developments. Mandated in the fiscal 2000 National Defense Authorization Act, the annual report is an important source of regular updates regarding China’s growing military capabilities and its expanding range of security-related activities. Since the People’s Republic of China halted the publication of its biennial defense white papers in 2015, there are few other good sources of information on one of the world’s largest militaries. An important element of this year’s report is the expanded discussion of China’s security-related activities, providing a broader, fuller assessment. There is an extensive discussion of China’s Belt and Road Initiative, its array of investment projects previously known as the “One Belt, One Road Initiative,” stretching from China to Europe, into the Indian Ocean to Africa, and even across the Pacific to South America. The report discusses the security implications of the Belt and Road Initiative, even though it is primarily a set of economic and political initiatives with limited direct military impact.   Ad Feedback This more comprehensive analysis is important, as it captures the Chinese whole-of-society approach to national security. To understand Beijing’s challenge to the U.S., it is vital to incorporate not only concerns about the People’s Liberation Army and the Chinese government, but also consideration of its diplomatic and economic engagement globally. This year’s report also exemplifies why issuing an annual report is important. It highlights the various changes that have been undertaken since the announcement in December 2015 of a series of fundamental overhauls and reforms of the People’s Liberation Army. It thus provides a new snapshot of the various improvements and changes in the Chinese military as it continues to modernize all of its services. Much discussed, for example, has been the steady extension of the People’s Liberation Army’s reach. News reports emphasized that it is acquiring systems that will allow it to strike the United States. The report also notes that “one of the most significant [Navy] structural changes in 2017” has been the tripling of the size of the Chinese marine corps. Coupled with China’s first official overseas military base (in Djibouti), it is clear that China is expanding its force-projection capacity. As important, however, have been the changes in the People’s Liberation Army’s organization and doctrine. This year’s report devotes substantial discussion to the evolving organization of PLA Army forces, as well as changes in the Central Military Commission, which manages the overall military. These changes are fundamental, but have taken the past two years to become much more visible. The shift from divisions as the cornerstone of China’s ground forces to brigades had long been discussed, but only now is there sufficient evidence to gauge Beijing’s progress. The changes in the Central Military Commission structure have been even more complex. When the changes were first announced, the commission initially appeared to be expanding from four general departments to 15 departments, commissions, and offices. It is now clear, however, that in fact the commission has shrunk, with only seven members, rather than the pre-reform 10. Of particular note is the removal of the Logistics Work and Equipment Development departments from the main Central Military Commission structure. Full article:

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