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Friday, February 16, 2018

Poland, Canada Join NATO members in potential Maritime Surveillance Aircraft Purchase

By: Aaron Mehta, Defense News 

BRUSSELS — Poland and Canada have agreed to join a coalition of NATO countries seeking to jointly buy a fleet of maritime surveillance aircraft.

The two countries bring the total number of nations investing in the Multinational Maritime Multi Mission Aircraft Capabilities program to eight. The program launched with France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Spain and Turkey in June 2017.

“This joint effort recognizes the fact that the majority of Allies’ maritime patrol aircraft fleets will be reaching the end of their operational lives between 2025 and 2035,“ NATO Deputy Secretary General Rose Gottemoeller said in a statement through the alliance.

Canada has decided to rejoin NATO’s airborne warning and control system program program, while Belgium has agreed to buy into the alliance’s tanker program — a pair of moves expected to strengthen NATO’s indigenous air capability.
By: David Pugliese, Aaron Mehta

However, Gottemoeller emphasized that “the goal here isn’t just a drawing board design — we need a new generation of aircraft, in the air, fulfilling what is an increasingly important mission.”

And indeed, the program is still in the earliest stages, and it is unclear what may actually come from it.

The NATO announcement notes that the partners have been working to “define a common requirements document,” with the goal of having those requirements laid out by the end of this year.

In terms of potential aircraft, Boeing will undoubtedly encourage the partners to buy the P-8, which is already operated by the U.S., U.K. and Norway.

Those three NATO partners have an agreement on joint procurement for maintenance and equipment on that plane, which could potentially be expanded for the eight nations in the MMMA program.

Additionally, the U.S. is close to beginning construction at the Keflavik base in Iceland to allow the P-8 to be stationed there to better monitor the Atlantic for Russian submarine activity, a big enough priority for NATO as it moves to increase its focus on maritime security.

However, Airbus is likely to offer its A319 maritime patrol aircraft option, which could appeal to the European nations in the program.

Additionally, Canada is embroiled in a spat with Boeing due to the American company’s battle with Canadian commercial aviation giant Bombardier. The row has already cost Boeing an expected sale of F/A-18 Super Hornet fighters; as a result, Canada may not be enthusiastic about buying the P-8.

Along those lines, the Saab Swordfish — based on a Bombardier Global 6000 body — would likely be another contender. The company has marketed the plane as having four “NATO-compatible hardpoints” that can accommodate up to six lightweight torpedoes for anti-submarine operations.

Full Operational Capability of Canada’s New Fighter Jets Won’t Happen until 2031

By Tim Naumetz, iPolitics

The planned government acquisition of a new fleet of 88 fighter jets will not be completed with full operational capability until 2031 – 14 years after defence and procurement officials launched the project last December.

A timetable for the acquisition that was shared with aerospace industry representatives at an industry event on Jan. 22 confirms there will be at least four years of information exchanges with potential suppliers and contract bidders before a contract award in either 2021 or 2022.

Following another two-years set-up phase for aspects involving infrastructure, future maintenance, facility development, operations and “initial cadre training” at the “host nation” producing the aircraft, the first aircraft delivery is scheduled for 2025.

After that, another six years are slated for gradual acquisition of the fleet and pilot training, with an acquisition average of at least 12 jets each year and “steady state full operational capacity” in 2031.

By then, three federal elections will have been held since the project’s launch in December 2017.

2031 is also the year the timetable projects for the retirement of what remains of Canada’s legacy fleet of CF-18 hornets – already upgraded and modernized several times since their acquisition under the government of Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau in the 1980s.

A military expert says the time frame would be routine for a project of similar scope and complexity, but the CF-18 replacement project has been in the works since at least 2007.

“If you’re looking at a project of that degree and complexity, from a genuine start point 14 years is probably not at all out of the ordinary,” said David Perry, senior analyst and a vice-president of the Canadian Global Affairs Institute.

“But the thing is, this file did not start on December 12. The previous government did an exhaustive review of options. The clock on this starts at least a decade ago,”

All of the aircraft from five different companies in Europe and the United States who have been invited to compete underwent a thorough market analysis under the Conservatives. The Harper government suspended its plan to acquire 65 Lockheed-Martin F-35 warplanes following a raging controversy after the 2011 federal election.

“All timelines are estimated and subject to change,” the briefing document said, a copy of which was obtained by iPolitics.

National Defence and Procurement Canada officials at the project’s launch last Dec. 12 said the acquisition is expected to cost between $15 billion and $19 billion, not counting infrastructure, training, other development aspects and sustainment through the fleet’s lifetime.

The estimate works out to an expected cost of between $170 million and $216 million per fighter jet with a fleet of 88.

List of Candidates for CF-18 Replacement Delayed without Explanation

By: David Pugliese, Defence Watch 

Feb. 9 was the deadline for companies to apply to the Canadian government to be on the supplier’s list for the new program to provide a fleet of fighter jets.

Being on that list is a requirement to be able to enter the competition to provide Canada with 88 new fighter aircraft.

Public Services and Procurement Canada was looking at having the list formalized by Feb. 12, at which time they would make it public. The reason for the fast turnaround is because it is relatively easy to be included on the list – essentially a manufacturer has to have a fighter jet currently in production.

But the list has yet to be formalized. Procurement Canada said they are still working on the list but offered no explanation about the delay.

But expect the major aircraft manufacturers who have indicated previous interest in the competition. They are:

Lockheed Martin with the F-35, Eurofighter Typhoon, the Dassault Rafale, and Saab’s Gripen.

Sources are also indicating that Boeing will join the competition with Super Hornet….perhaps an Advanced Super Hornet?

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Future of Canada's Role in Iraq Still Uncertain

By: David Pugliese, The Ottawa Citizen

Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan will travel to Rome and Brussels from February 13-15 to participate in a meeting of defence ministers from the main force contributors in the war against the Islamic State. Sajjan will also participate in a meeting of NATO defence ministers.

His trip comes as the Liberal government has yet to decide what comes next for Canadian military personnel involved in the war against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.

Training by Canadian special forces for Kurdish personnel is still suspended.

Sajjan said in late December that he hoped to have a better idea of the future direction of Canada’s mission in Iraq even as the U.S. and Iraq have declared Islamic extremists defeated.

Sajjan said at that time the Canadian Forces leadership was developing options for what is to come next and that advice was expected in early 2018.

The Liberal government has extended Canada’s mission in Iraq until at least March 2019.

Following the meetings on ISIL, Sajjan will travel to Munich from February 16-17 to attend the annual Munich Security Conference, a global forum focused on defence and security related issues, his office said.

Monday, February 12, 2018

Canada Pledges Millions to End use of Child Soldiers in Sudan

By: Lynn Desjardins, CBC News - Canada 

The Canadian government has pledged $3.1million for a project to help end the recruitment of child soldiers in South Sudan. The money will be used by the Romeo Dallaire Child Soldiers Initiative.

Efforts made through the security sector

The organization was founded by Lieutenant-General (Ret’d) Romeo Dallaire in 2007. His first experience with this issue occurred when he was force commander of the United Nations Assistance Mission for Rwanda during the 1994 genocide. The initiative’s goal is “to progressively eradicate the use and recruitment of child soldiers through a security sector approach.”

The initiative seeks to equip security forces with training and tools to prevent the recruitment and use of child soldiers worldwide.

Canada renews leadership commitment

In making the funding announcement, the government noted today is the International Day Against the Use of Child Soldiers and said it “reaffirms its commitment to stand as a leader and work with the United Nations and others in the international community to end the recruitment and use of child soldiers.”

A news release noted the government has “taken strong actions to demonstrate this commitment” by developing a Child Soldier Doctrine to ensure Canadian armed forces are prepared to face and prevent the use of child soldiers, and it signed the Safe Schools Declaration which aims to protect schools, teachers and students during armed conflict.