Friday, January 15, 2016

Bourdeau Industries Insists Resurrected CF-105 Avro Arrow Will be Part of Defence Review

The Ottawa based firm, Bourdeau Industries insisted today on its "Official" facebook page, that it will put forward a proposal to Minister of Defence Harjit Sajjan for the resurrection of the CF-105 Avro Arrow; an updated 5th &6th  Generation model for consideration to replace the RCAF's CF-18s.

The CF-105 Avro Arrow was a cutting-edge military aircraft developed in the 1950s, but the project was cancelled in 1959 before production.
Artists rendition, from Bourdeau Industries of 5th Generation CF-105 Avro Arrow
In 2012, Bourdeau Industries were supposed to meet with the Official Oppiosition NDP and request a $50 Million federal Grant.

Bourdeau Industries was asking the federal government for a one-year, $50-million federal grant to help finalize the updated design and manufacturing plan. If the government accepted the proposal at that point, the company says it would haven been able to deliver jets for military use by 2020, when the government planed to retire the current fleet of CF-18s.

Now the RCAF is extending the life of the CF-18 fleet to an estimated 2025.

In 2012, General Mackenzie (Ret.) was interviewed on CTVNews and supported the idea of a resurrected Avro over the F-35. "The federal government was too fast to write off a proposal to build a made-in-Canada military aircraft that would be cheaper, faster and more efficient than the F-35." said retired major-general Lewis MacKenzie. While he initially thought the revival plan was "a joke," the more closely he examined it, the more he saw its potential merits for Canada's missions at home and abroad.

All the talk of a resurrected Avro Arrow led to the National Post publishing this comparison in 2012.

This comparison did not take into consideration the unknown capabilities of the Avro Arrow with the Iroquois Engine which never made it into the aircraft.

Bourdeau has the following promotional video for its aircraft proposal. 

According to Matt Gurney;

"If Canada went with Arrows, we’d be taking on all the costs — design, start-up, production, testing and, eventually, maintenance — and as important, all the risks. Given our need for only several dozen planes, it is difficult to see how sufficient economies of scale could ever be achieved to make this a good idea. As romantic as the notion of bringing back the Arrow may seem, it’s no surprise that the government said no a second time."

It is an interesting argument - who knows if it will get any serious consideration from the Liberal Government. The previous government did not even give it a minute of thought. 

US Firm Alleges CAF Truck Contract Unfair

Published by: David Pugliese, 

A major U.S. defence contractor is alleging a contract worth more than $800 million for new trucks for the Canadian Forces was unfairly awarded.

Oshkosh Defense announced Thursday that it had filed a complaint about the contract with the Canadian International Trade Tribunal. The complaint will now be reviewed by the federal tribunal but no details were available on how long that would take.

The complaint alleges that Public Works and Government Services Canada, now Public Services and Procurement Canada, did not conduct a fair and transparent process to select the new trucks.

In July, then Defence Minister Jason Kenney announced that Mack Defense, LLC, of Allentown, Pennsylvania, had been awarded two contracts to provide standard military pattern trucks and related equipment for the Canadian Forces.

Assembly will take place in a Sainte-Claire, Quebec, plant operated by Prevost, one of the firms partnered with Mack.

The overall contract for the project, known by its military acronym as MSVS SMP, is worth $834 million.

“Following a thorough review during the past five months, Oshkosh has concluded that there are significant questions regarding the conduct of the MSVS SMP testing and evaluation,” Wilson Jones, president and chief executive officer of Oshkosh Corporation, said in a statement.

Public Services and Procurement Canada is limited in what it can say at this point about Oshkosh’s allegations. PSPC “is committed to an open, fair and transparent competition process, department spokesman Pierre-Alain Bujold told The Ottawa Citizen's Defence Watch. “As there is a review underway, it would be inappropriate for PSPC to comment.”

The program to purchase the trucks was originally announced in 2006 by the Conservative government but the acquisition had been dogged by problems.

The first delivery of the trucks and equipment is planned for summer 2017, and deliveries are expected to be completed by fall 2018, according to the federal government’s news release issued at the time. With the ability to carry 9.5 tonnes, the Standard Military Pattern trucks are the backbone of the Canadian Forces truck fleet, the government noted.

Matt Gurney: Canada’s ISIS mission isn’t broken, so the Liberals can’t figure out how to fix it

Two full months after the Liberals were sworn into office, having promised during the campaign to withdraw our CF-18 jets from direct combat operations against the Islamic State (ISIL) in Iraq and Syria, Canadian pilots are still in the fight. On Thursday, two CF-18 jets attacked an ISIL fighting position — troops, in other words — with smart bombs. The Royal Canadian Air Force provided little information beyond noting on the Operation IMAPCT website that the attack was “successful.” We leave it to the readers to fill in the blanks about what success means when dropping fragment-spraying high explosives on enemy personnel.

There was nothing unusual about Thursday’s attack. Indeed, the mission was the 11th successful airstrike conducted by Canadian jets since the new year began. With each mission flown, each bomb dropped, each ISIL unit reduced and offensive blunted, the incongruity of Canada’s current position becomes harder to ignore.

Try as the government might, it cannot come up with a plausible justification for ending the bombing mission.

Canada still intends to pull the jets out, Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan reiterated this week. Why? Neither he, the Prime Minister nor any other member of the Liberal government has quite been able to articulate why. In fact, the Liberals, while insisting the jets will come home, have actually done an excellent job demonstrating why they should stay. In television appearances this week, Minister Sajjan said Canada didn’t want to create a “gap” in the coalition for pulling the jets out, and it was investigating ways the country could contribute more to the fight.

ISIL Handout / AFP, Getty ImagesCanada's CF-18s are providing valuable support in beating back ISIL

Let us make sure we have this straight: the Liberals want to pull the jets out of the coalition, but not in a way that creates a gap, and is investigating how to do more while pledging to honour its commitment to do less. One would like to believe this was all some sort of clever disinformation campaign, intended to confuse ISIL, and leave them wondering as to our next move. But the reality is less interesting, and sadder — the government simply doesn’t know what it’s doing.

More to the point, it doesn’t know how to do what it promised to do. The bombing mission they have pledged to end is the right role for Canada. The Liberals may insist that our relatively small share of the overall sorties — around 2 per cent of missions are carried out by Canadian fighters — is not considerable enough to be missed, but then again, fret that pulling the jets out would leave the coalition with gaps. Proposals to bulk up our ground training mission, intelligence gathering capabilities and to assist in rapidly evacuating wounded allied troops to proper medical facilities behind the lines all have merit. Likewise proposals to provide more humanitarian aid.

But try as the government, and the very capable Minister Sajjan, might, they simply cannot come up with a plausible justification for ending the bombing mission. It is effective, appreciated by our allies and supported by the public at home. If this were not the case, the government would have ordered the jets to stand down as quickly as they reinstated the long-form census. Yes, the mission was approved by Parliament to last until April, but the military answers to the Defence Minister specifically rather than to Parliament as a whole. And the minister, of course, obeys the wishes of the Prime Minister. Clearly, the Liberals are at an impasse.

We would have hoped this would be an instructive moment for them. Perhaps finding a way to reshape the Canadian military mission in the Middle East is proving so difficult because the current mission is already the right one. We are providing aid, we are training local forces and assisting them in battle, we are resettling refugees in Canada and, yes, we are contributing directly to the containment and destruction of enemy forces. You can fiddle with any of these components, but they all work best when they work together. The Liberals have already shown an admirable willingness to admit they promised too much on the refugee file. The time has come to abandon the increasingly untenable position that the jets must be withdrawn, and instead acknowledge that the prior government got this call right.

National Post

Defence Review to be completed in 2016

Written by: Marie-Danielle Smith

Published: Wednesday, 01/13/2016 12:00 am EST

Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan says he plans to complete a thorough defence policy review by the end of 2016—and the public will be asked to participate.

In an interview with Embassy Jan. 12, Mr. Sajjan confirmed that Department of National Defence officials are already identifying how the review, or Defence White Paper, will be conducted.

Public consultation will be involved and foreign allies will be consulted, he said. The review is expected to set a road map for the next 10 to 20 years.

“I want to make sure that we get the 'How' part. It’s so important,” he said. “If we don’t get that right then the quality’s not going to be there at the end.”

Arctic sovereignty, NORAD prioritized

As the raison d’ĂȘtre for the Canadian Armed Forces is debated once again, Mr. Sajjan said there are elements of Canadian defence policy that he assumes will be prioritized. The safety of Canadians will always be the “number one priority,” he said, while continental defence, Arctic sovereignty and Canada’s responsibilities within the North American Aerospace Defense Command and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization will stay constant.

Even so, he said defence policy needs to be placed “in a wider context that suits the needs of the vision that our government is setting." The Liberal government, in its early days, has talked up a return to multilateralism and a greater focus on diplomacy.

Working with foreign allies is “critical,” Mr. Sajjan said. The minister has connected with his counterparts from the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand and France, as well as other NATO allies.

British, Australian lessons

“The British just did a defence review," he said, referring to the Strategic Defence and Security Review 2015 released by the Cameron government on Nov. 23. "Australia is about to release theirs, and especially it’s important for us to be able to learn from those lessons."

He said he recently spoke with UK Defence Secretary Michael Fallon in London. “It is helping me to shape how Canada can look at doing [the defence review],” he said, noting the UK had used an interactive website to get public input.

“I’ve got some really key ideas that Fallon provided, and I’m looking forward to reading the Australian review when it comes out as well,” Mr. Sajjan said.

The minister said the credibility and relevancy of the review was important. “We can do a white paper of everything on the wishlist, but if you don’t have the budget to support it it really doesn’t matter.”

Defence officials declared the previous Harper government's military wishlist, the Canada First Defence Strategy, unaffordable in 2011, but no updated document was ever released.

'Very focused' on procurement

Sitting in his office at National Defence headquarters—where staffers said reporters hadn't been seen in the past few years under the previous government—Mr. Sajjan told Embassy that procurement is being looked at in “extreme detail."

“Does it have the right number of people, the right type of expertise to be able to make it more efficient,” he posited.

A recent report from the Canadian Global Affairs Institute’s David Perry had warned that cutbacks to DND’s materiel department were causing major slowdowns to the process.

“To have an agile force we need to support it as well. Certain areas we do need to increase,” Mr. Sajjan said. Procurement is "definitely one of them."

Though hesitant to look back at the previous government’s record, he acknowledged a belaboured procurement process.

He is “dismayed” at the capability gap in the Canadian Navy, he said, “because we didn’t get the procurement process right.” So he is “very focused” on making sure that procurement becomes more efficient.

“We’re going through a process that’s going to be more transparent, so that it’s done in a manner that gives confidence to the Canadian public,” Mr. Sajjan said.

He would not confirm, however, whether the Statement of Requirements for new defence procurements would be released publicly. In 2013, DND quietly decided to no longer post these key technical documents on its website, which allowed the public to see the military’s requirements for crucial new planes, ships, and vehicles.

With the ubiquitous F-35 fighter jet program, shafted by the Liberals to replace the CF-18s in favour of an open competition, Mr. Sajjan said “the last thing I want to see with our fighters is what we have with our Navy right now: the gap in our capabilities.”

When it comes to figuring out how Canada's National Shipbuilding Procurement Strategy should move forward—including narrowing down exactly which ships are needed and how many—the defence policy review will help to provide “a lot more clarity.”

'Consistent and predictable' funding

Asked about the transformation recommendations of fellow MP and retired general Andrew Leslie, whose controversial report recommended ways to improve the department’s efficiency, Mr. Sajjan noted there could be redundancies in some areas within the department. The defence review will identify these, he said.

Another thing the review will determine, he said, is the future for Canada’s reserve force. The previous government had committed to an accelerated expansion from 24,000 to 30,000 members.

“With the defence review it will allow us to look at what the capability and the role of the reserves will be for the future,” Mr. Sajjan said. “In some areas, as much as we want to grow, the population can’t support that growth.”

Ultimately, funding will play a big role in how the department will evolve. The Liberals committed to maintaining the current defence budget escalator—a three per cent increase to the budget annually, as of the 2015 federal budget.

The minister wouldn’t specify whether the government is thinking of increasing funding any more than that, but he said it’s his goal to make sure funding is “consistent and predictable” to better plan for the future.

“And as the economy improves, we can look at adjusting things as well,” he added.

Canada in Iraq: RCAF Target ISIS Position near Tikrit

In a press release on it's OP IMPACT webpage, DND announced that, On 14 January 2016, while taking part in coalition operations in support of Iraqi security forces, two CF-18 Hornets successfully struck an ISIL fighting position northeast of Tikrit using precision guided munitions.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Tribunal to rule on ISSP for CAF

An Alberta company is asking a federal tribunal to cancel a defence contract awarded by the Conservative government just before last summer’s election, alleging it was unfairly given to a Quebec-based firm.

Raytheon Canada of Calgary alleges that soldiers from Garrison Petawawa in the Ottawa Valley, along with officials from Public Works, now known as Public Services and Procurement, did not follow proper procedures in their evaluation of high-tech equipment for the battlefield.

The equipment from the Integrated Soldier System Project, or ISSP, will improve the way soldiers communicate in the field.

Raytheon Canada, with facilities in Ottawa and Calgary, filed its complaint with the Canadian International Trade Tribunal in September and is expecting a ruling next month.

“We expect to receive a result from this protest process in February,” Terry Manion, vice president of Raytheon Canada, stated in an email. “We look forward to a positive outcome that produces a fair, reliable and objective result. Because deliberations are currently ongoing we are unable to comment further at this time.”

Just days before the federal election was called in August, then-Defence minister Jason Kenney announced that Rheinmetall Canada, of Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Que., had been awarded an initial $7 million contract for the Integrated Soldier System Project. The deal is potentially worth up to $250 million if all the proposed gear is eventually purchased and Rheinmetall is selected for the follow-on related projects.

Rheinmetall Canada was selected to provide the high-tech gear which would not only allow troops to track each other as they move throughout the battlefield, but feed communications and targeting information into their helmets or data devices they could carry.

Alain Tremblay, 
vice-president of business development for Rheinmetall Canada, said the firm could not comment because the issue is now before the tribunal.

Public Services and Procurement Canada declined to comment because of the ongoing tribunal proceedings but noted that it is committed to open and fair competitions. The Integrated Soldier System Project is continuing as scheduled and has not been delayed, a Public Services official added.

In its complaint to the tribunal, Raytheon alleges that the evaluation of the equipment was “arbitrary and imprecise.”

It noted that the soldiers at Garrison Petawawa who performed the evaluation “lacked the necessary expertise,” that they based their evaluation on undisclosed criteria, and that the government failed to follow the stated process.

“Aspects of the evaluation process raise a reasonable apprehension of bias,” the Raytheon complaint alleged.

It has asked the tribunal to terminate the contract to Rheinmetall and have the federal government re-evaluate the bids it received for the ISSP.

Raytheon Canada also wants to receive compensation for the costs it incurred as a result of the Public Services and Procurement department failing to tell the firm that it had not passed a key part of the evaluation. Relying on assurances from the federal department that it had passed the written portion of the competition, the company continued to pump in money preparing for a possible contract award.

Rheinmetall is continuing to work on the project and is expected to finish the first phase sometime this year, according to Department of National Defence sources. Once that is successfully done the government will proceed with the option of buying more than 4,000 of the systems for the troops.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

HMCS Algonquin and Protecteur to be Dismantled in Nova Scotia

Nova Scotia media outlets are reporting that R.J. MacIsaac Construction of Antigonish, NS. has won a $39 million contract to dispose of HMCS Algonquin and HMCS Protecteur. Both ships are now paid off/decommissioned and at CFB Esquimalt, BC.

The plan is to tow the vessels to the east coast where they will be dismantled. The operation will involve towing the ships through the Panama Canal, according to officials. No details were available through Defence Watch on the exact cost to tow the ships from the west coast to the east coast.

Christopher Clarke, mayor of Queens Regional Municipality in Nova Scotia where much of the work is expected to be done, told Halifax’s Chronicle Herald that HMCS Protecteur will arrive on the east coast around April 1. HMCS Algonquin will arrive in early July to be dismantled, according to government officials.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

5 CMBG deploys to Ukraine on Operation UNIFIER

DND Press Release:

January 10, 2016 - Ottawa

Starting January 10 and throughout the rest of the month, the first group of approximately 200 Canadian Army (CA) soldiers from 5 Canadian Mechanized Brigade Group (5 CMBG), based in Valcartier, Quebec, will be deploying to Ukraine for Operation (Op) UNIFIER. They will be relieving their counterparts from 2 CMBG, based in Petawawa, Ontario, who will be returning home throughout January, having completed military training activities in support of Canada’s response to requests for assistance from the Government of Ukraine.

Quick Facts

  • Op UNIFIER is Canada’s military training mission to Ukraine. All training activities with the Ukrainian Armed Forces are coordinated with the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense and focused on increasing the capacity of Ukraine in order to assist in maintaining its territorial integrity and sovereignty. 
  • This is not a combat mission, but rather a capacity building mission taking place jointly with the US military and other partners. Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) personnel are located in western Ukraine, approximately 1300 km from areas where Russian-backed insurgents are active.
  • CA soldiers are delivering vital training that will help to support Ukrainian Armed Forces in its efforts to maintain sovereignty, security, and stability in Ukraine. Roughly 200 Canadian trainers are teaching basic soldier skills, such as how to shoot, move and communicate on the battlefield, while also teaching how to treat wounded comrades and defeat threats such as Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs). Military Police members are working to build the capability of the Ukraine Military Police in their enforcement and investigation techniques. Flight safety training, English language training and logistics system modernization are also part of this mission.
  • This mission demonstrates the flexibility of the CAF and provides its’ members with an excellent opportunity for the Canadian Armed Forces to learn from the recent operational experiences of their Ukrainian counterparts.
  • In addition to providing military assistance in coordination with the U.S. and other countries, Canada’s support to Ukraine includes investments in economic development, reinforcing democratic institutions, and humanitarian aid.
  • 2 Canadian Mechanized Brigade Group deployed on Op UNIFIER in August 2015.

25 Years Ago: 416 Squadron joins the Gulf War

News Article / January 11, 2016

By Jeff Gaye

Twenty-five years ago, Iraq invaded Kuwait, triggering the 1990-1991 Persian Gulf War. The invasion, and the international response, sparked a series of events that is playing out in the region to this day.

A coalition of countries was formed to liberate Kuwait from Saddam Hussein’s Iraqi forces, and Canada participated with its navy, army and air force.
Senior non-commissioned officers and officers from the “Desert Cats” groundcrew pause for a photo in Qatar during Operation Friction, Canada’s contribution to the first Gulf War.
Part of the CAF contingent, based in Qatar during OP FRICTION: Photo: DND
416 Tactical Fighter “Lynx” Squadron* deployed from 4 Wing Cold Lake, Alberta, in late fall 1990 on Operation Friction, and participated in combat from January to February 1991. They were accompanied by support personnel and infrastructure. The deployment was a departure for Canadian Armed Forces personnel, whose role since the Korean War had been Cold War activities and international peacekeeping.

The 1991 Gulf War was Canada’s first aerial combat since 1953. The decision to send CF-188s from Cold Lake caused excitement and an equal share of trepidation in a community not accustomed to seeing its people go off to war. National media turned their attention to Cold Lake to capture the tension in town and to document how the base and the community at large came together to support the families of the deployed.

Canada did not lose any personnel on the operation, reinforcing the idea that warfare can be conducted over a great distance by fighter-bombers with a minimum of casualties.

But there were casualties.

Bob McKinnon was a warrant officer in 416 Squadron at the time, in charge of a 40-person servicing crew. He remembers the uncertainty he and his comrades felt before deploying. “I was already a Legion member, but I joined every organization I could before we left,” he says. “‘I might as well have as many organizations as I can to look after my family in case something happens to me over there’, I remember thinking.”

He had a nightmare before he left, that someone was trying to steal his wedding ring by cutting off his finger. He left the ring at home when he shipped out.

When the fighting began in earnest in January 1991, “I knew we were going that night,” he says. “I had 40 people in my crew. How do I brief them, how do I look after them? What happens if I freeze up?”

From their operating base in Doha, Qatar, the 416 Squadron “Desert Cats” performed well in the campaign. But many personnel exhibited unusual symptoms when they returned. There was talk among returning United States troops of a mysterious “Gulf War Syndrome”, which was attributed to everything from chemical weapons to battle stress.

Most of the symptoms displayed by Canadian personnel were eventually ascribed to Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, or PTSD. The Canadian Armed Forces has gained considerable knowledge and experience in preventing and treating PTSD as a result of the Gulf War experience, though recent campaigns such as Afghanistan show there is much yet to be learned.

McKinnon has participated in many commissions, committees and organizations dedicated to Gulf War veterans and their difficulties. “I’d say we were the leaders on PTSD,” he says. The disorder has been documented in previous wars as ‘shell shock’ and ‘battle fatigue’, and McKinnon says peacekeeping troops almost certainly experienced it as well. But the Gulf War veterans were the first to have a PTSD diagnosis certified.

Canada has been involved in a number of military campaigns since the end of the Gulf War, most notably Afghanistan, where we lost 159 personnel over 10 years. Because of this, and the high incidence of physical and mental injuries troops have suffered through combat over the years, McKinnon says many Gulf War veterans feel they have been forgotten.

Upon their return from the first Gulf War (1990-1991), Canadian Armed Forces CF-188 Hornet fighters, led by a CC-137 (Boeing 707) aircraft transporting groundcrew and support personnel, approach downtown Ottawa, Ontario, over the bank of the frozen Ottawa River, in February 1991 to carry out a flyover marking their successful participation in Operation Desert Storm. PHOTO: Sergeant Norm Marion
The CAF contingent returning to Canada, on final approach to Ottawa. 8 RCAF CF-18s were deployed; led by CC-137 (Boeing 707) caring ground and support crew.  Photo: DND

The veterans are making plans for commemorative events in 2016, McKinnon says.

*416 Tactical Fighter Squadron and 441 Tactical Fighter Squadron amalgamated on July 6, 2006, to form 409 Tactical Fighter Squadron.

This article first appeared in the Tuesday, December 1, 2015, edition of the 4 Wing Cold Lake, Alberta, newspaper The Courier.

Monday, January 11, 2016

FWSAR Eval to Take up to 6 Months

By: David Pugliese

Aerospace firms will submit their bids on Monday to provide Canada’s air force with a new fleet of search-and-rescue planes.

Aerospace companies will submit bids proposing a combination of aircraft and in-service support to replace the RCAF’s existing fleet of Buffalo and older Hercules aircraft used for search and rescue.

The Buffalos, first purchased in 1967, are key to search and rescue on the west coast and in parts of the Rockies. Those aircraft are already facing mechanical and technical problems and several years ago the air force had difficulty obtaining spare propellers.

The Fixed Wing Search and Rescue (FWSAR) aircraft project originally envisioned buying 17 planes. But that has been changed and it will be up to aerospace firms to submit in their bids the numbers of aircraft they believe are needed for Canada to handle the needed search and rescue capability.

Public Services and Procurement Canada hasn’t provided a timeline for when the new aircraft might arrive. But it looks like it is hoping the evaluation of the bids will be done fairly soon.

“It is estimated that the evaluation period for the selection of the successful bidder, which includes aircraft testing, may take up to six months, after closing of the RFP (request for proposal),” according to Pierre-Alain Bujold, spokesman for Public Services and Procurement Canada.

No details were provided on when the winning company would be announced but some aerospace firms are expecting that to happen by early 2017.

Canada in Iraq: RCAF Airstrike near Ramadi

In a press release on it's OP IMPACT webpage, DND announced that on 8 January 2016, while taking part in coalition airstrikes in support of Iraqi security forces operations to clear ISIS from Ramadi, two CF-18 Hornets successfully struck an ISIS fighting position southeast of Ramadi using precision guided munitions.