Friday, April 8, 2016

RCAF Air Task Force Romania completes bilateral training

DND - News Article / April 8, 2016

Royal Canadian Air Force

About 100 Royal Canadian Air Force personnel, mainly from 3 Wing Bagotville, Quebec, with four CF-188 Hornet fighter aircraft conducted bilateral training with the Romanian Air Force in Constanta, Romania, from March to April 2016. PHOTO: CER SENIN- Revista Forţelor Aeriene (Romanian Air Force magazine) Facebook page
About 100 Royal Canadian Air Force personnel, mainly from 3 Wing Bagotville, Quebec, with four CF-188 Hornet fighter aircraft conducted bilateral training with the Romanian Air Force in Constanta, Romania, from March to April 2016. PHOTO: CER SENIN- Revista Forţelor Aeriene (Romanian Air Force magazine) Facebook page
Air Task Force-Romania began its return from Constanta, Romania, to 3 Wing Bagotville, Quebec, today upon completion of Exercise Resilient Resolve.

Exercise Resilient Resolve built on Canada’s positive relationship with Romania, an important NATO Ally, strengthening mutual confidence in using common NATO procedures.

“The members of Air Task Force-Romania demonstrated the dedication and professionalism that makes the Royal Canadian Air Force an exemplary partner to our allies,” said Brigadier-General Blaise Frawley, acting commander of 1 Canadian Air Division. “I’m proud of their contribution to furthering the relationships between Canada and Romania. These airmen and airwomen have represented the Canadian Armed Forces and Canada with honour.”

Approximately 100 Royal Canadian Air Force personnel, mainly from 3 Wing Bagotville, Quebec, and four CF-188 Hornet fighter aircraft that had previously been deployed on Operation Impact, were deployed to Constanta, Romania, to conduct a month-long bilateral training exercise with the Romanian Air Force known as Exercise Resilient Resolve.

During the exercise, Air Task Force-Romania flew 86 missions for a total of more than 104 flying hours, including 18 sorties directly involving Canadian CF-188 Hornets and Romanian Air Force 861st Fighter Squadron MiG-21 Lancers, allowing for valuable air-to-air combat training missions.

“Exercise Resilient Resolve provided the opportunity to share our expertise and deepen the relationship with the Romanian Air Force while simultaneously providing excellent learning opportunities for our RCAF personnel and teams,” said Lieutenant-Colonel David Turenne, the commander of Air Task Force-Romania. “Overall, it was a resounding success and a great experience for everyone who participated.”

ATF-Romania ground and support personnel conducted bilateral training with Romanian Air Force firefighters, air weapons controllers and network operators. Such training increased Canadian personnel’s understanding of our allies’ procedures and equipment, increasing our interoperability for possible future multinational operations.

The Air Task Force also conducted close air support training with the United States Marine Corps Joint Tactical Air Controllers stationed at Mihail Kogalniceanu Air Base, enhancing our relationship with one of our closest military ally.

During the exercise, the Chief of the Romanian Air Force Staff, Major-General Laurian Anastasof, presented three members of Air Task Force-Romania and the commander of 3 Wing with the Romanian Air Force Emblem of Honour.

Canadians presented with Romanian Air Force Emblem of Honour

By Captain Marie-France Poulin

On March 22, 2016, Major-General Laurian Anastasoff, Air Chief of Romania, and Ms Joanne Lemay, the Canadian ambassador to Romania, welcomed at Major-General David Wheeler, commander of 1 Canadian Air Division, the 1 Canadian Air Division chief warrant officer as well as commanders and chief warrant officers from 3 Wing Bagotville, Quebec; 4 Wing Cold Lake, Alberta; and 14 Wing Greenwood, Nova Scotia, to Mihail Koganiceanu Air Base.

The delegation was returning from Kuwait when it stopped over in Constanta to meet the members of Air Task Force -Romania who are currently deployed for Exercise Resilient Resolve.

During the ceremony, three members of the Task Force and the commander of 3 Wing received commendations from the Air Chief of Romania for the exceptional work they have accomplished to this point: Colonel Darcy Molstad, commander of 3 Wing; Lieutenant-Colonel David Turenne, Task Force commander, Leading Seaman Johanna Wojewoda, from 425 Tactical Fighter Squadron, and Warrant Officer André Vachon, also from 425 Squadron.

Major-General Wheeler sincerely thanked Major-General Anastasof for his recognition and for all the support that Romanian Air Force personnel had given the Task Force since its arrival.

”On short notice, the members of ATF-Romania deployed here, in Romania, for the second time since 2014. This would not have been possible without the support that you have given us,” said Major-General Wheeler. “We have developed a relationship of cooperation and of friendship. I thank you sincerely for all the support that your country and your personnel have offered ATF-Romania since their arrival.”

“I am proud to see the Canadian flag here,” said Major-General Anastasof. “Our two countries share the same values of professionalism, commitment and integrity.”

During the visit, the commanders and chief warrant officers had the opportunity to meet their personnel and see ATF-Romania work environment.

RCAF releases report into 2012 Hercules accident in Florida

DND Press Release

April 8, 2016 – Ottawa – Department of National Defence / Canadian Armed Forces

The Directorate of Flight Safety (DFS) has released the Flight Safety Investigation Report into the accident involving a CC-130 Hercules at Naval Air Station Key West, Florida, on February 21, 2012. In this accident, the aircraft was damaged beyond economic repair, and one Canadian Armed Forces member suffered minor injuries sustained during the aborted takeoff and emergency stop.

During the period between the accident and report’s release, DFS worked closely with the CC-130 Hercules technical authorities to implement flight safety preventive measures, including a series of special inspections and modifications to prevent future accidents of this nature.

To read the entire report please visit:

Aircraft Exterior – Damage to Fuselage Ceiling Area near LH Side Para Door
Aircraft Exterior – Damage to Fuselage Ceiling Area near LH Side Para Door

Air Task Force-Iraq Welcomes New Commander

Article / April 8, 2016

By Joint Task Force-Iraq Public Affairs Officer

On April 8, 2016, Colonel Jason Major assumed command of Air Task Force-Iraq (ATF-I) from Colonel Shayne Elder in a change of command ceremony held in the sandy and windy Camp Canada in Kuwait, home of Joint Task Force-Iraq, the higher headquarters of ATF-I.

Brigadier-General James Irvine, Commander of Joint Task Force-Iraq, presided over the change of command ceremony.

Chief Warrant Officer Bill Hinchey (left), Air Task Force – Iraq Chief Warrant Officer, hands the senior appointment to Chief Warrant Officer Luigi Di Stephano as Colonel Shayne Elder makes the change over official during a ceremony in Kuwait on April 8, 2016. Photo: Op Impact, DND
Chief Warrant Officer Bill Hinchey (left), Air Task Force – Iraq Chief Warrant Officer, hands the senior appointment to Chief Warrant Officer Luigi Di Stephano as Colonel Shayne Elder makes the change over official during a ceremony in Kuwait on April 8, 2016. Photo: Op Impact, DND
“I want to take this opportunity to thank Colonel Elder for his exceptional leadership of the Air Task Force,” said Brigadier-General Irvine. “Over the last six months, he has led his personnel with care and dedication. I congratulate him for the very significant role that he has played in elevating Canada’s airpower reputation within the Coalition. I also would like to welcome Colonel Major to my team as the on-coming commander of Air Task Force-Iraq. I have known and worked with Colonel Major for more than a decade. A recognized airpower expert and an experienced senior leader, I know that he will lead the Air Task Force with distinction.”

Colonel Major joined the Canadian Forces in 1990. Before assuming command of ATF-I, he was Officer in Charge, Air Component Coordination Element – Atlantic. He has more than 5000 hours of military flying with combat experience in Iraq, Libya and Afghanistan.

“I am looking forward to the challenges that come with leading an expeditionary air task force alongside our Coalition partners,” said Colonel Major. “The troops I saw on parade today, from the aircrew to the maintainers and other support staff, are sharp and represent the finest airmen and airwomen the Royal Canadian Air Force has amongst its ranks.”

Colonel Elder had been Commander of ATF-I since October 19, 2015. In this role, Colonel Elder led the task force though the successful execution of CF-18 Hornet operations to halt and degrade the so-called Islamic State of Iraq and Levant (ISIL). He also led his team in CP-140 Aurora intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance missions, and in CC-150 Polaris refuelling operations.

“It is with great satisfaction that I look back over all we have accomplished in our pursuit of ISIL and the provision of support to Coalition forces,” said Colonel Elder. “It is with regret that I depart this team but I am confident that Colonel Major will continue to lead these air warriors through many successful missions.”

HMCS Saskatoon and Edmonton assist another narcotics seizures on Op CARIBBE

DND Press Release

April 8, 2016 – Ottawa – National Defence / Canadian Armed Forces

Further to the drug seizures of March 7 and March 19, 2016, Her Majesty’s Canadian Ships (HMCS) Saskatoon and Edmonton assisted in separate cocaine disruptions while on patrol in the eastern Pacific Ocean on March 25, 2016.

On that day, HMCS Edmonton and its embarked United States Coast Guard Law Enforcement Detachment (LEDET) were assisted by United States Ship (USS)Lassen in intercepting a vessel of interest in international waters off the coast of Central America. The vessel intercepted, a “panga”-style fishing boat, was identified by a Maritime Patrol Aircraft (MPA) while on routine patrol. With the help of USS Lassen’s embarked helicopter, the vessel was hailed to stop, after which it began to jettison its cargo. HMCS Edmonton assisted the LEDET who took positive control of the vessel and retrieved 27 bales of cocaine from the water, weighing a total of 650 kilograms.

The interception involving HMCS Saskatoon and its embarked LEDET began the evening of March 25 when a MPA conducting a routine patrol located a target of interest in international waters off the coast of Central America. The vessel, a “panga”-style fishing boat, jettisoned its cargo and fled the scene. After several hours of searching, HMCS Saskatoon found the jettison field in the early morning of March 26, and 16 bales of cocaine were retrieved from the water, weighing a total of 640 kilograms.

Operation CARIBBE is Canada’s contribution to Operation MARTILLO, the U.S. Southern Command Joint Interagency Task Force-South (JIATF-South) counter-drug detection and monitoring operations in the Caribbean Sea and Eastern Pacific Ocean.

“This interception was another example of the interoperability and continued cooperation between the Royal Canadian Navy, the United States Navy, and the United States Coast Guard. With USS Lassen’s helicopter providing over watch, HMCS Edmonton and its embarked Law Enforcement Detachment worked together seamlessly to board the vessel of interest and clear the jettison field. I am incredibly proud of the work done by both ships’ companies and their Law Enforcement Detachments in suppressing the flow of narcotics into North America.” Said Lieutenant-Commander Lucas Kenward, Commanding Officer, HMCS Edmonton

“It was all hands on deck for this specific seizure and I am proud of the dedication and commitment displayed by the ship’s company. This recent success showcases the strength in teamwork and working as a cohesive unit to suppress criminal activity in the region.” said Lieutenant-Commander Todd Bacon, Commanding Officer, HMCS Saskatoon

RCN Announces Names of its 3 Possible AORs

Written by David Pugliese, Defence Watch 

It will be several more years before the Royal Canadian Navy’s Joint Support Ships are in the water (2020-2021 are estimated times of arrival, although some argue that is optimistic since construction of the ships hasn’t even begun yet).

The RCN has selected the names of the two ships; HMCS Queenston and HMCS Chateauguay.

The RCN focused on a War of 1812 theme for the JSS names (required by the Conservative government of the day which was highlighting that conflict in a national public relations effort). The names reflect battles of that war.

There is an option for a third Joint Support Ship, although a number of folks in the RCN question whether the JSS project will have enough funds to produce more than two vessels.

But if a third JSS is built, the name selected for that ship is HMCS Crysler’s Farm, according to Canadian Forces documents obtained by Defence Watch and David Pugliese.

The battle of Crysler’s Farm was a key event during the War of 1812, in which British forces defeated an American army that had plans to march on Montreal.

Slide - Artist rendering of the definition design for Joint Support Ship.
An Artists rendering of the Queenston-Class AOR vessels for the Royal Canadian Navy: Photo: RCN

According to the Royal Canadian Navy: 

The two planned Queenston-class Joint Support Ships (JSS) will replace the Royal Canadian Navy’s Auxiliary Oiler Replenishment vessels. The new ships will provide core replenishment, limited sealift capabilities, and support to operations ashore. The JSS will be one of the first of the Royal Canadian Navy’s ships to be built by one of the competitively selected Canadian shipyards, as part of the National Shipbuilding Procurement Strategy.

The JSS are a critical component for achieving success in both international and domestic CAF missions, as laid out in the Canada First Defence Strategy. The ships constitute a vital and strategic national asset. The presence of replenishment ships increases the range and endurance of a Naval Task Group, permitting it to remain at sea for significant periods of time without going to shore for replenishment.

The original announced names of the Queenston-class ships are:
  • HMCS Queenston
  • HMCS Châteauguay
Ship Capabilities

The JSS project will procure two ships with an option for a third with capabilities such as:
Underway Support to Naval Task Groups: Underway support is the term that describes the transfer of liquids and solids between ships at sea. This underway support also includes the operation and maintenance of helicopters, as well as task group medical and dental facilities;
Limited Sealift: To meet a range of possibilities in an uncertain future security environment, JSS will be capable of delivering a limited amount of cargo ashore; and
Limited Support to Operations Ashore: The JSS will leverage to the maximum extent possible its onboard facilities.

The JSS will replace the core capabilities of the Auxiliary Oiler Replenishment ships, including: provision of fuel, ammunition, spare parts, food, and water, and other supplies; modern medical and dental care facilities, including an operating room; repair facilities and expertise to keep helicopters and other equipment functioning; and basic self-defence functions.

On January 12, 2012, Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced that the Government of Canada has reached agreements with Irving Shipbuilding Inc. and Vancouver Shipyards Co. Ltd. This charts the course for construction of Canada’s combat and non-combat surface fleets under the National Shipbuilding Procurement Strategy.

The strategic sourcing arrangements, called umbrella agreements, with each of the selected shipyards have been signed. Individual ship construction contracts will now be negotiated with the respective shipyards.

The building of the first Joint Support Ship is expected to start in the 2016-2017 timeframe, in keeping with the existing schedule. This means that the first ship would be anticipated in 2019, assuming no further delays in the schedule.

The Joint Support Ship project is currently conducting the Initial Design Review contract. This will enable Vancouver Shipyards Co. Ltd. to fully review the proven, off-the-shelf ship design from ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems Canada, selected in June 2013. The contract negotiation and design preparation work will take place in 2015/2016, in order to bring the Joint Support Ship Design to a production ready state."


On October 25, 2013, the Honourable Rob Nicholson, P.C., Q.C., M.P. for Niagara Falls, Minister of National Defence, announced the names of the Royal Canadian Navy’s (RCN) new Joint Support Ships (JSS), which will be built by Vancouver Shipyards Co. Ltd. in North Vancouver, B.C. The two Joint Support Ships (JSS) will be named Her Majesty’s Canadian Ship (HMCS) Queenston and HMCS Châteauguay in recognition of the significant battles of Queenston Heights and Châteauguay during the War of 1812.

“The names recognize the achievements and sacrifices of those early Canadian soldiers who fought and died in these critical battles during the War of 1812,” said Minister Nicholson. “The War of 1812 was a defining moment in our nation’s history that contributed to shaping our identity as Canadians and ultimately our existence as a country.”

“Canada’s rich military history is a source of inspiration for the men and women who currently serve in the Royal Canadian Navy,” said Vice-Admiral Mark Norman, Commander Royal Canadian Navy. “The events surrounding the War of 1812 remind us of the sacrifices of soldiers and sailors who fought for their country during a pivotal moment in Canadian history.”

Traditionally, the name of a class of warship is derived from the name of the first vessel in this class to be constructed. HMCS Queenston will be built first, therefore, the two JSS will be known as the Queenston-class.

Sajjan: Liberals ‘absolutely’ committed to military

Reposed from

OTTAWA — Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan says the Liberal government is “absolutely” committed to the Canadian Armed Forces, but that need — not want — will decide the size of the military and what kind of equipment it fields.

Sajjan made the remarks in an interview Thursday, as the government conducts Canada’s first comprehensive defence review in a generation. The Liberals promised the review during the election campaign, and a new defence policy is expected in early 2017.

Military officials as well as industry representatives and defence experts have largely welcomed the review, saying a medium- to long-term assessment of Canada’s military requirements was long overdue. But the Liberals also promised a “leaner, more agile” military, prompting fears of a stripped-down force.

Sajjan insisted the Liberal government is looking to strengthen the Armed Forces, not weaken it.

“I think what many Canadians are asking for is: Is this government committed to the military?” he said. “And the answer is absolutely yes.”

But Sajjan also left the door open to cancelling some planned defence purchases, saying the guiding principle will be whether the armed forces actually needs certain equipment or capabilities.

“I want to make sure if we’re going to be looking at purchasing certain things, that we are actually going to need it,” he said.

Earlier this week, Sajjan launched public consultations as part of the defence review. Among the questions being asked are whether the military needs to continue search-and-rescue operations and disaster-relief missions abroad, or if other organizations are better placed to do so.

The Canadian military has in the past tried to do everything, Sajjan said. He would like instead to maintain “a complete, sound foundation of our combat capability,” while focusing on some niche areas where Canada can specialize.

“So it’s not ‘do everything’,” he said. “It’s core foundation, with a few niches, but flexible enough within enough time to be able to switch.”

While some may interpret that as indicative of plans to slash the military, Sajjan defended the government’s record. He noted that last month’s budget included $200 million to fix up military bases and maintained small annual increases to the department’s operating budget.

He also took credit for the controversial decision to delay $3.7 billion in planned equipment purchases over the next few years, saying it ensures the money will be available when needed. Some experts and critics have panned the so-called re-profiling as a budget cut.

At the same time, Sajjan said plans to buy new fighter aircraft and warships will proceed independently of the defence review. He said the review won’t change those two procurement projects, the largest in Canadian history, because they address some of the military’s “staple” needs.

“We know we need to replace our frigates,” he said. “Our supply ships, we don’t even have any right now. So if anybody right now says ‘Hold off on building your supply ships,’ well, if we want a navy, we need supply ships.”

Defence analyst David Perry of the Canadian Global Affairs Institute has estimated a $60-billion gap between current funding for new military equipment, and what the military is planning to purchase over the next 20 years.

But Perry said many of those things are essential for the military to operate, including trucks, communications gear and radar for defending North American airspace. “A big chunk of those unfunded priorities are systems that you’re going to need, no matter what your defence policy is,” Perry said.

Conservative defence critic James Bezan said every government faces the challenge of separating what the military wants from what it needs. But he worried the Liberals had already determined they wanted a smaller force, “and I hope (the review) isn’t the catalyst to put us into another era of darkness for our troops.”
© Copyright (c) National Post

Thursday, April 7, 2016

RCAF celebrates 92 years of service

RCAF Press Release:
By Joanna Calder

On Friday, April 1, 2016, the Royal Canadian Air Force celebrated its 92nd birthday.

During the First World War, Canadians took to combat flying so well that, by the spring of 1918, the government of Prime Minister Robert Borden pressed for the development of an air wing, consisting of eight squadrons, for service with the Canadian Corps in France.

But Britain wanted to keep talented Canadian air and ground crew within the Royal Air Force (RAF) and they succeeded in limiting the number of Canadian squadrons.

Nevertheless, on August 5, 1918, the British Air Ministry announced the formation of two RAF squadrons to be manned entirely by Canadians. A Canadian Order-in-Council confirmed the formation of the Canadian Air Force (CAF) on September 19 for “the purposes of the present war”.

The Canadian Air Force (CAF) was created too late in the First World War for significant growth. Six more squadrons were planned for service in Europe, but with the war's end on November 11, 1918, the plans were not implemented.

What would become of the fledgling CAF?

“In the immediate aftermath of the First World War, Canada’s need for an air force was not readily identifiable,” says W.A.B. Douglas in the second volume of the Royal Canadian Air Force’s official history. “The country faced no discernible external threat. Canadians had little appreciation for expenditures on such esoteric military commitments.

“The short-lived Canadian Air Force…had been left in limbo by the Armistice.”

By February 5, 1920, the two CAF squadrons (still cooling their heels overseas) had been disbanded and their personnel sent back to Canada.
A new non-permanent Canadian Air Force

Fortunately, there were several individuals who pushed for government oversight and development of aviation – both military and civilian. On February 18, 1920, an Order-in-Council authorized a new, part-time, non-permanent CAF with a provisional establishment of 1,340 officers and 3,905 airmen.

The first aircraft flown by the new CAF were actually gifts from Great Britain and the United States following the end of the war. Canada also inherited the British training stations that had been established in Ontario and CAF training was concentrated at Camp Borden, Ontario, which had been the wartime home of the RAF Canada flying training scheme.

The CAF became part of a civilian Air Board. Throughout the 1920s and 1930s, the Air Force conducted aerial mapping operations, forest fire, anti-smuggling and fisheries patrols, and forest surveys, and developed airmail and long-distance flying routes.

These operations gave the CAF a raison d’être for continued government funding. This enabled the development of officers and senior non-commissioned members who would later ensure the RCAF made a successful transition from training to wartime operations.
A permanent air force is born

On January 1, 1923, the Department of National Defence was born from the amalgamation of the Department of Naval Services, the Department of Militia and Defence, and the Air Board.

On February 12, 1923, His Majesty King George V bestowed the designation "Royal" on the Canadian Air Force; the Militia Weekly Order of March 12 made the announcement. However, the name didn’t become official until April 1, 1924. On that date, the RCAF became a permanent component of Canada’s defence force and King’s Regulations and Orders for the RCAF came into effect.

April 1, 1924, has been celebrated ever since as the birthday of the Royal Canadian Air Force.

The RCAF began with 62 officers of the Permanent Active Air Force (similar to today’s Regular Force) and four of the Non-Permanent Active Air Force (similar to the Reserve Force), as well as 262 non-commissioned members.

The new RCAF adopted the RAF’s motto Per Ardua Ad Astra – "Through adversity to the stars" – which replaced the CAF’s original motto Sic Itur Ad Astra – "Such is the pathway" (or “This is the way”) to the stars. The RCAF also adopted the RAF’s blue-grey uniform and, a couple of decades later, also borrowed the RAF’s march past.
Air Command is established

Fast forward more than four decades to 1968, and the Unification Act that brought the three services into a single, tri-service force called the Canadian Armed Forces.

The RCAF got the short end of the stick. While the Navy became Maritime Command and the Army became Mobile (later Land Force) Command, the air force disappeared entirely and its functions were spread among five commands: Maritime, Land Force, Air Defence, Air Transport and Training.

Fortunately, Lieutenant-General Bill Carr, the Deputy Chief of the Defence Staff, knew the division of air assets and the lack of a single command structure wasn’t working – and he was in a position to do something about it.

“Unification, when first announced, was – I felt – a good idea,” he said in a 2005 interview. “Within a few years it became apparent that the amalgamation of all the services had particularly impacted the aviation arm in a harmful manner….

“We really needed to create a consolidated organization to properly administer all military aviation in Canada.”

On September 2, 1975, Lieutenant-General Carr’s efforts paid off and Air Command was created. With Lieutenant-General Carr at its helm, the command once again brought all military air assets under a single organization and commander.

A new badge was created, showing an eagle rising from a crown. The new command adopted Sic Itur Ad Astra as its motto, which was a return to the motto used by the Canadian Air Force when it was first established in 1920.
Royal Canadian Air Force redux

In 2011, the air element in the Canadian Armed Forces returned to its historical roots when its original name – Royal Canadian Air Force – was restored. Two years later, the Governor General approved a new badge for the reborn RCAF that reflected both the old and the new. The centre piece of the new badge shows an eagle with its wings outspread, as did the original RCAF badge. But the motto remains that of the original Canadian Air Force and Air Command: Sic Itur Ad Astra.

Since then, the RCAF has also put in place a new system of rank insignia that reflects the pre-unification colours of silver and black, and the rank of “private” has become “aviator”.

Setting a New Course for the National Ship Strategy

© 2016 FrontLine Defence (Vol 13, No 2)

At the turn of the 21st century, the Royal Canadian Navy (RCN) was well on its way to becoming a potent, well-balanced navy...

The combat fleet included 12 recently commissioned multipurpose Halifax-class patrol frigates with Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW), Anti-Surface Warfare (ASuW), and point Area Air Defence (AAD) capabilities, and carrying a Maritime Helicopter (MH). Also just commissioned were 12 moderately-capable Kingston-class Maritime Coastal Defence Vessels (MCDV) with limited Mine Counter-Measures capabilities. They joined the four recently (1987-94) modernized and upgraded Iroquois- or Tribal-class ASW destroyers, which now fielded Long-Range (LR)-AAD capability.

With the older Provider-class Auxiliary Oiler Replenishment (AOR) ship having been paid off in 1998, the surface fleet was still ably supported by two ageing single-hulled Protecteur-class AORs that had been commissioned in 1969 and 1970.

And most promisingly, the RCN was set to be joined by four Victoria-class (ex-Royal Navy Upholder-class) diesel submarines (SSKs) considered to be the quietest in service anywhere, which just been acquired (after unexpectedly harsh defence cuts in Britain) from the UK Ministry of Defence in 1998 for a quarter of their build cost.

... and then the current changed.
Feb 2016 – HMCS Fredericton transits into Souda Bay, Greece for a fuel stop during Operation Reassurance. (DND Photo: Cpl Anthony Chand)
Overworked and Neglected

Throughout the 90s and the first decade of the new century, the RCN’s surface fleet was constantly over-tasked and in-demand, and the subject of many a Department of National Defence (DND) news release praising their ‘front line’ role in various conflicts or missions, from the 1991 Gulf War through to their ‘role’ fighting the Taliban (wait... they have a navy?). Unfortunately, while quick to praise their efforts and garner the political laurels, the various political parties forming the Government of Canada over the past 25 years basically let the RCN surface fleet rust out through lack of any timely replacements. Various programs to replace capability have suffered from both a lack of funding and a serious lack of procurement acumen.

Only too late, after many good shipyards that had previously built RCN ships closed through lack of orders, and the industrial knowledge base drifted away, has there been any political realization that the shipbuilding industry needs steady orders to produce navy vessels in a timely and affordable fashion. This has, belatedly, been slowly addressed through the tortuous National Shipbuilding Procurement Strategy, however, the NSPS (now apparently being shortened by PSPC to drop the “procurement” out of the shipbuilding strategy) seems more geared towards ‘built in Canada at an outdated fixed cost’, and ensuring various regional entities get their piece of the procurement pie – first Industrial Regional Benefits then Industrial and Technological Benefits – than in meeting RCN/national requirements for the right equipment to adequately protect our maritime sovereignty. Will this latest name contraction to the National Shipbuilding Strategy signal a shift from the “longer timeframe for less capability and more cost” scenario te NSPS was being criticized for?

Surface warships

The centrepiece of the RCN, HMCS Athabaskan is the lone surviving Iroquois-class destroyer (slated to be paid off in 2017 after 45 years of service) and was already experiencing engine and maintenance issues in 2015 from being pushed well-past the regular 35-year warship service life.HMCS Huron was paid off in 2005 due to personnel shortages, and sunk as a target in 2007 (just 13 years after the expensive upgrades). Both Iroquois and Algonquin were paid off in 2015 after experiencing age and non-economically repairable damage-related issues.

Even though RCN Commander Vice-Admiral Mark Norman noted to FrontLine (issue #1, 2015) that “Athabaskan has been kept in service, so we’ve kept that legacy [Long Range, Area Air Defence] capability alive”, from 2017 through to 2025-26 when the first LR-AAD configured Canadian Surface Combatant (CSC) is hopefully commissioned, the RCN will face a ‘significant’ gap for nearly a decade – and additionally loose its current skill-set for intercept as point-AAD drills just can’t replicate LR-AAD challenges and live training exercises.

As for the Kingston-class vessels, their low speed (15kts max) suggests they may not be the most effective patrol vessels. Originally 100% reserve-crewed and -operated, they had not been fully utilized until, as cuts took their toll, these vessels began to receive extensive taskings.

The limited number of remotely operated modular payloads, which were always meant to be supplemented during the mid-life refit, have obviously limited their performance. A C$100 million mid-life refit of the nearly 20-year-old vessels was deemed unwarranted, and some or all will likely be retired once the Arctic Offshore Patrol Ships (AOPS) start entering service.
Jan 2016 – Fredericton’s Naval Boarding Party participates in a boarding exercise during Op Reassurance. (DND Photo: Cpl Anthony Chand)
The premature retirement of HMCS Iroquois and Algonquin enabled a revised 60/40 regular/reserve force crewing model for the MCDVs to continue sea opportunities for the displaced crews, and the RCN Commander acknowledged “we are running them flat out now and that’s paying enormous dividends and really working well.” The MCDVs are also being tasked for limited Northern Arctic operations during the short ice-free summer . The max 17kt speed of the Arctic Offshore Patrol Ships (AOPS) will present many of the same limitations as the slow MCDV.

The core of the RCN surface fleet, the Halifax-class are currently in the middle of a C$4.3 billion modernization and Frigate Life Extension (HCM-FELEX) program that is designed to replace and upgrade systems by 2018 “to ensure the frigates remain effective throughout their service life” and reflect an increasing emphasis on combined littoral operations. Additionally, to ameliorate the lost flagship capabilities of divesting the Iroquois-class, the RCN Commander noted “we made a decision to enhance the first four of the modernized Halifax-class with some extra space [minor structural reconfiguration] and some monitors and extra accommodation space – so we could bridge the gap in the command and control function.”

As the upgrades are relatively on time and within approved budget, one would think that FELEX is a good RCN success story. But, one look at the Defence Acquisition Guide (DAG) 2015 raises serious questions over the possibility of additional C$410-890 million in post-FELEX Halifax-specific upgrades. In fact, the 2015 Guide lists nine Halifax-specific projects for implementation out to 2035, which is well past the expected 2027-2031 service life of the Halifax-class ships.

Two of these projects are scheduled for completion within a few years. The Multi Role Boat project is looking for new faster, larger Rigid Hull Inflatable Boats (RHIBs) to provide multi-functional and improved systems. The Maritime Satellite Communications Upgrade will improve allied interoperability. The reasonable preliminary estimates of C$50-100 million each, plus the fact that such capabilities can be ported to the new CSC when the time comes, makes these projects easily justifiable.

The other seven Halifax-specific projects (StrongBow; Maritime Next Generation Communications Suite; Maritime Tactical Command and Control; Naval Electronic Attack Recapitalization; Naval Electronic Warfare System Surface; Virtual Integrated Shipboard Information Networks and Underwater Warfare (Sensor) Suite Upgrade), are a different story. Valued at an estimated C$310-690 million over the 2024 to 2035 time frame, they only make sense if the RCN and DND expect the NSS to fail and not deliver new CSC ships until 2035 onwards!

DAG 2015 seemingly indicates a lack of communication and understanding between the RCN, DND and the government when looking at the interrelationship between FELEX and the CSC project. Most Halifax-specific projects in DAG 2015 are not scheduled for completion until 2024/2025, and two not until 2035, which seems to indicate the RCN and DND are moving the CSC goal posts 10 years to the right. Or, in other words, the left hand is not talking to the right hand, and vice versa, and the centre just does not have a clue. As a CGAI report by Stewart Webb and Chris Murray (January 2016) notes, “Disturbingly, none of these preparations seem to address the elephant in the room, neglected hull maintenance to extend the frigates beyond” the 2027-2031 time frame. Does this portend a Halifax-class hull-driven retirement debacle (à la Iroquois-class and Protecteur-class) in the making?
March 2016 – HMCS Edmonton, an MCDV, approaches the harbour of Ensanada, Mexico, during ­Operation Caribbe. While on patrol in the Caribbean Sea and the eastern Pacific Ocean during March 2016 for Operation Caribbe, Canadian MCDVs Summerside and Saskatoon assisted the USCG in two interceptions that resulted in the seizure 26 bales of cocaine. (Photo: DND)
NSS Procurement Update

The much touted, agonizingly slow, NSPS was recently pegged at over C$42 billion. Noting his acquisition experience in the UK, the hiring of retired Rear-Admiral Steve Brunton of the Royal Navy as an expert shipbuilding advisor for the Surface Combatant project, may be a step in the right direction.

Clearly, the (new) NSS should not be artificially constrained by outdated budget figures, rather by the ‘best value’ solution best suited for the requirement. Let the competitive selection for an in-service or final development stage design that best meets each requirement be the cost driver, while keeping the penchant for innumerable Canadian-specific modifications to a minimum. If the budget needs a slight top-up to obtain the proper equipment – so be it!

As we put our RCN and Coast Guard personnel in harms way, surely it is incumbent on the GoC to provide them with the right tools for the task. The Auditor General of Canada confirmed this important point: “Cost/capability trade-offs need to be monitored and revisions made to project budgets, if necessary, to make sure that Canada gets the military ships it needs to protect Canadian interests and sovereignty.”

At the heart of the early NSPS delay was the state of Canada’s shipyards. Without a continuous source of contracts for sophisticated navy vessels, all three of Canada’s formerly impressive shipyards had lost most if not all of their navy-specific expertise and had been scrambling for small upgrade and repair contracts to keep at least a few people employed.

NSS Combatants

The first ‘combatants’ preceding the CSC build, the minimally-armed (short-range 25mm gun) constabulary AOPS are a politically-driven procurement foisted on the RCN by the previous government. There seems to be little drive to protect Canada’s vast and perennially neglected (except by every other country), Arctic Ocean maritime space, with its increasingly accessible natural resources. Even the UK is building a £200 million Polar Research Ship capable of 60-day operation in sea ice. Polling has indicated that Canadians want the government to assert our northern sovereignty.

The current AOPS is watered-down from the 2005 election promise of three armed naval icebreakers with full Polar-1 classification capable of year-round operation in all ice states.

Ideally, three armed Coast Guard (CG) Polar-1 rated icebreakers, instead of the currently planned six AOPS with barely adequate Polar-4/5 classification and one lone, unarmed, Polar-2 rated icebreaker, would have been more efficient for asserting sovereignty in our increasingly accessible Northwest passage shipping route through the Canadian Arctic. While the Americans have two heavy icebreakers to our lone remaining ship commissioned in 1969, the Russians have 12 heavy Polar-1 icebreakers (half of which are nuclear-powered for extended operation), plus dozens of smaller vessels whose operations have often extended into Canada’s Arctic region. If politicians seriously care about our Arctic, this Polar-1 icebreaker capability gap should be cause for serious concern.
Canadian Coast Guard medium icebreaker Henry Larsen participated in Operation Nanook, in 2010. At the time, ­Liberal Senator Colin Kenny said the Conservative’s Arctic ship plan should be sunk and replaced real icebreakers. (Photo: Sean Kilpatrick, THE CANADIAN PRESS)
As the Liberals review the old NSPS, there may still be time to increase CG funding and modify the icebreaker design, which is still in its initial design phase, and add a Polar-1 derivative. Better use of all three shipyards (Irving on the East coast; Davie in Quebec; and Seaspan on the West coast) could allow a speedier replacement of the ancient Louis S. St Laurent and the three 35-year old R-class icebreakers. Armed Polar-1 and Polar-2 rated Coast Guard icebreakers – utilizing RCN-crewed refurbished 76mm guns, fire control radar and basic Combat Management Systems from the paid off Iroquois-class or post-FELEX Halifax-class ships to keep costs to a minimum – would provide a very useful capability. These would allow a reduced number of constabulary reservist-crewed AOPS for asserting a northern Arctic sovereignty presence during the summer. The government would then have scalable options, available all seasons, to respond to the increasing likelihood of incursions of our Northern waters by unwanted commercial shipping or by cruise ships needing assistance.

CSC Update

The Canadian Surface Combatant project had become a weak link in the old NSPS, with many complaints. The early strategy of choosing between Most Capable Design (MCD) and Most Qualified Team (MQT) was quietly abandoned after MQT was identified by multiple press sources as clearly being written to favour only one team: Irving / Lockheed. A change to “Most Competitive Procurement Strategy” was announced in May 2015.

Another problem with the CSC procurement model was the separate Warship Designer (WD) and Combat Systems Integrator (CSI) streams, which greatly increased potential for unforeseen system integration issues while at the same time obscuring authority and therefore accountability. A recentFrontLine article and graphic by former ADM(Mat) Alan Williams illustrated the lack of transparency in that model. Two weeks after the article was published online, the current Liberal government announced it was combining WD/CSI streams. Assistant deputy minister at Public Services and Procurement Canada Lisa Campbell asserted this “was a big step for us [as it will help rein in costs, and] we’re not talking about a custom build anymore. We’re talking about existing designs [which were determined to meet Canadian needs] ... and in our view that is likely to have an impact on diminishing all sorts of risks,” and helps speed up the process. The change is still subject to industry feedback and final Cabinet approval and, of course, there will still be some modifications to suit Canadian requirements, as in every large so-called “off-the-shelf” procurement to date.

Based on the short-list of pre-qualified WD/CSI firms on the NSPS website, we can further narrow this down to companies with a Design Reference Point LR-AAD design that is robust enough to defeat both missile saturation attacks as well as simpler ASW requirements.

Defence Review Implications

With the ongoing Liberal review of military capabilities, its re-evaluation of major procurement projects, plus the recent budgetary shift of C$3.72 billion in capital procurement funds five years into the future, it would seem that sorely needed ship replacements are slipping further into the future. By better utilizing Canada’s third major shipyard (which admittedly had been facing financial hardship in previous years), some of the scheduling problems could be ameliorated.

With the new NSS, will the roadblocks be lifted to end further delay? It is hoped that the marine industry will not be abandoned by the Canadian defence procurement process once again, and that accountability will be restored to procurement processes.

Mark Romanow is an independent defence analyst/writer based in Edmonton, Alberta.

CADSI extends support to Canada’s Defence Review

Published by: Frontline Defence News 

Christyn Cianfarani, president of the Canadian Association of Defence and Security Industries (CADSI), has issued the following statement pledging CADSI's support and expertise to the advisory panel to Canada’s Defence Review:

The Canadian Association of Defence and Security Industries (CADSI) welcomes the launch of Canada’s Defence Review and looks forward to being consulted by the Minister of Defence’s advisory panel. Our 1,000 member companies are an important part of the solution with global expertise to contribute.

The ability of the Government and the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) to effectively implement Canada’s new defence policy is dependent on procuring the equipment and services the CAF needs to carry out its missions. Improving the process of defence procurement is therefore an essential part of developing an effective defence policy.

Canada’s defence industry has unsurpassed knowledge and expertise in procurement. We work with the system in Canada and across the world every day and at every level. We can speak to practical improvements to procurement to ensure the efficacy of a new defence policy developed through the Defence Review.

Our industry plays an essential role in our nation’s security and sovereignty by ensuring ongoing readiness of existing and building new capabilities with world class, innovative technologies made across Canada and sought the world over. The Canadian defence industry and Canada’s defence policy are interdependent and need to be considered as such in the Defence Review.

Committee to review security on CAF Bases

By: Murray Brewster, The Canadian Press

OTTAWA — The House of Commons defence committee will hold closed-door hearings on the state of security at Canadian military bases, The Canadian Press has learned.

Conservative MP James Bezan, the party's defence critic, proposed the idea, which was recently accepted by the all-party committee, although a date for the investigation has yet to be scheduled.

In the aftermath of a stabbing of two military members at a north Toronto recruiting facility last month, National Defence conceded that some elements of a full-scale security review at its installations were still ongoing 18 months after the terror attacks of October 2014.

Bezan says it's been clear since the 2014 deaths of Warrant Officer Patrice Vincent and Cpl. Nathan Cirillo — attacks inspired by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant — that members of the Canadian military need better protection.

He says that at some bases, visitors can drive on to the property without being challenged by security, and the incident last month in Toronto shows a need to improve protection at recruiting centres.

Ayanle Hassan Ali, 27, faces nine charges, including three counts of attempted murder, after two soldiers were attacked and injured by a man with a knife. Police said the man said afterward that Allah told him to do it.

Bezan says MPs want to hear from senior members of the military, including possibly the chief of the defence staff, about what measures have been taken, what resources they need and what can be done to improve.

The motion to conduct the committee investigation passed on March 22, the same day the federal budget was tabled.

Bezan says he proposed holding the meetings behind closed doors to avoid compromising security procedures that are already in place, and insisted that findings of the committee can be reported to the public through the House of Commons.

On the face of it, the proposal — which the Liberals voted to approve — flies in the face of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's campaign promise of more openness and accountability in Parliament.

At the time of the stabbing, Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale said many recruiting centres are "storefront operations" that must balance security and accessibility for the public and that he was confident DND "would make sure security arrangements were always appropriate."

A spokeswoman for the military said the review of so-called force protection was broken up into several smaller components and that measures, including some base security and safety awareness training have already been implemented.

"A review of some security and force protection directives are complete while others are ongoing," Cmdr. Nathalie Garcia said in an email.

"However, the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) continuously assesses the threats posed against CAF members and implement appropriate measures to ensure the safety and security of personnel. As such, continuous review of force protection is required."

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

UN report: Spartan APC deal to Libya by Canadian firm violated international embargo

OTTAWA — The Globe and Mail
Published Tuesday, Apr. 05, 2016 10:14PM EDT
Last updated Tuesday, Apr. 05, 2016 10:15PM EDT

A new UN panel report says a shipment of armoured personnel carriers to Libya from a Canadian-owned company’s Mideast facilities several years ago violated an international arms embargo – an incident that raises questions about how extensively Ottawa should be policing the defence and military trade conducted by its citizens abroad.

The March 2016 report, which flagged a transfer of armoured vehicles produced by Streit Group, a company first established in Ontario in the 1990s, was drawn up by experts monitoring global compliance with the United Nations Security Council arms embargo against Libya in place since 2011.

The Streit Spartan APC.

Streit is owned by Guerman Goutorov, a Canadian citizen who lives in the United Arab Emirates. His Canadian-based company is Streit Manufacturing in Innisfil, Ont.

The UN panel’s reporting on what it calls an “illicit transfer” of armoured personnel carriers comes amid a growing debate in Canada over the military and defence goods that Canadians sell to Mideast countries – including a $15-billion deal with Saudi Arabia – and increasing concern that Ottawa is not doing enough to monitor, control and shine a light on this flourishing business.

Libya has been engulfed in civil war since dictator Moammar Gadhafi lost power in 2011. The top U.S. general in Africa last month described Libya as a “failed state.”

In 2012, when this Streit shipment took place, transfers of armoured personnel carriers to Libya required advance approval from the UN sanctions committee overseeing the embargo. But, the UN report says, the United Nations wasn’t notified about this 2012 delivery before it occurred – meaning “the transfer occurred in violation of the arms embargo.”

Asked for comment on the matter, Canada’s Foreign Affairs Minister Stéphane Dion’s office left it to public servants at the Department of Global Affairs to answer questions.

A spokeswoman said Ottawa is in no way responsible for arms shipments between two foreign countries – even if there is connection to Canada.

“This is ‎an export exclusively from the United Arab Emirates to Libya, which is outside of Canada’s export-controls jurisdiction,” Amy Mills, a spokeswoman for Global Affairs Canada said in a prepared statement. “There is no information to suggest otherwise.”

Canadian diplomats in the UAE have nevertheless publicly supported Streit as a Canadian company. Claudio Ramirez, an economic and finance counsellor who works at the Canadian embassy in Abu Dhabi, made a point of announcing on Twitter in 2015 when “Canada’s Streit Group” expanded a UAE factory. Canada’s ambassador to the UAE, Arif Lalani, used the social-media platform in 2013 to speak supportively of this “Canadian company” whose armoured vehicles he said once protected him.

Ken Epps with Project Ploughshares, an anti-war group in Waterloo, Ont., that tracks the arms trade, said Canada is shirking its responsibility over the overseas defence business activities of Canadians. He said an exception exists today where Canadians can take blueprints and technology abroad and sell to foreigners while avoiding scrutiny by Canada’s arms-control regime.

“It is a loophole and one that Canada should close,” Mr. Epps said.

He pointed out that laws and regulations enacted by the Canadian government set penalties for Canadian citizens, even “outside Canada,” when it comes to contravening UN arms embargoes.

Asked about this, another Global Affairs spokesperson said the government was studying the UN panel report.

The limited responsibility Ottawa assumes for overseas military and security sales differs from a far more interventionist approach it takes in other foreign activities of Canadian businesspeople.

For instance, several years ago, the government introduced corporate ethics rules, enforced with the threat of withdrawal of trade-promotion services, that govern the conduct of Canadian mining and energy operations in foreign countries.

“If you don’t play ball by doing business the Canadian way, then we won’t go to bat for you,” was how former international trade minister Ed Fast explained it in 2014.

Canada also claims jurisdiction over the conduct of Canadians abroad when it comes to bribery of foreign officials; federal legislation carries the threat of fines and imprisonment.

The UAE paperwork accompanying the 2012 shipment lists four countries of origin for the 131 armoured vehicles it says were transferred to Libyans: Japan, the United States, the UAE and Canada. Not all vehicles were armoured personnel carriers – the item of interest to the UN expert panel. Some were armour-plated cars.

Streit officials could not be reached for comment. However, the company told the UN panel that it did nothing wrong and had received export approval from the UAE.

Streit told the UN experts that it “strenuously reject[s] any suggestion that Streit Group could knowingly or otherwise break national or international law.” The company said its actions were in complete accord with UAE laws and regulations.

The UN panel said the end user for this 2012 shipment was listed as the “Libyan Ministry of the Interior.” But the transfer occurred amid the ongoing political upheaval in Libya, as factions jostle for control of the government and a black market for diverted weapons flourishes. The panel said it tried to get more details on the customer from the United Arab Emirates government, which should have notified the UN about the shipment in the first place, but, it said, “no response was received.”

The United Nations is having serious difficulty enforcing the arms embargo against Libya as it tries to ensure the UN-backed “government of national accord” succeeds in the face of challenges including Islamic State militants, the expert panel report said.

“Continuous violations … are having a negative impact on the security situation in Libya and its political transition: better-equipped armed actors may be less inclined to agree to ceasefires or to accept the authority of the future government of national accord and its security arrangements.”

Since 2011, UN embargo rules have been relaxed so that a category of shipments to Libya that includes armoured personnel carriers no longer requires approval from sanctions officials. The experts monitoring Libya pointedly disagrees with this, saying these vehicles “significantly increase the military capability of armed groups.”

In 2015, Streit incurred millions of dollars in penalties from the U.S. government for exporting armoured vehicles without obtaining proper approvals several years ago.

In September of 2015, the government agency responsible for enforcing American export controls announced it had imposed a $3.5-million fine on Streit Group affiliated companies and two corporate officers for completing at least nine unlicensed transfers, or sales, of U.S.-made armoured vehicles to foreign countries between 2008 and 2009. Of this penalty, $1.5-million was suspended.

Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Export Enforcement, David W. Mills, said in a statement on the September, 2015 announcement that it “highlights the fact that both exporters and foreign re-exporters face consequences if they do not comply with U.S. export-control regulations.”

Defence Minister to announce Public Consultations on new Defence Policy

Written by David Pugliese, The National Post 

Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan will announce Wednesday the beginning of public consultations on the country’s new defence policy.

Sajjan says he wants to have the policy completed by the end of the year.

The review would include details on the future size of the Canadian Forces, its roles and alliances and the type of missions it can expect to take on in the future.

Government sources told Postmedia Tuesday that they expect the public consultations to be finished by the end of July.

Department of National Defence sources say they expect to be flooded with presentations from defence analysts, groups and lobbyists pushing for more funding for the Canadian Forces as well as a plea to resist cutting back on the current size of the military.

But it is expected the Liberal government will follow the path it has already outlined during the federal election and move ahead in developing an “agile and lean” Canadian Forces.

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Retired general Rick Hillier, the former chief of the defence staff, has advocated cutting the size of the military. He has argued that would ensure the organization remains stable and effective; Hillier pointed out that the size of the Canadian Forces could be reduced from the current size of around 66,000 to 50,000.

The Liberals are also committed to a continuation of the current military roles in defence of Canada and North America, working with the U.S. military on alliances such as NORAD and maintaining key alliances such as NATO.

In addition, the Liberals want to return to contributing militarily to United Nations missions, both in peacekeeping and disaster relief, defence sources tell Postmedia.

Canada’s role on UN operations was significantly scaled back under the Conservative government’s tenure.

Military equipment programs will not be looked at specifically but instead defence procurement would be address more broadly, Sajjan has noted

Sajjan has also said the review will examine how the military looks after its personnel as well as Canada’s capabilities to fend off cyber attacks.

Military equipment programs will not be looked at specifically but instead defence procurement would be address more broadly, Sajjan has noted.

The Liberal government has also stated it would renew focus on surveillance and control of Canadian territory and approaches, particularly in the Arctic regions. It would also follow the Conservative government’s earlier approach and increase the size of the Canadian Rangers, which provide the eyes and ears for the military in the far North.

During the election the Liberals also promised they would “launch enhanced icebreakers.”

But Postmedia has confirmed with government sources that the term “enhanced icebreakers” is a reference to what was already promised under the Conservative government’s national shipbuilding strategy. The Liberals do not intend to purchase additional icebreakers.

The review is also expected to look at funding and whether Canada can afford the equipment the military wants. The Senate defence committee was recently told that the gap between what the Canadian Forces says it needs for the future, and the amount of funding that had been proposed for the future, is in the tens of billions of dollars.

This story has been updated with a response from Defence officials.

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Busy start for OP REASSURANCE LTF-Roto 5

DND News

Article / April 5, 2016

By: Captain Mark Ruban, Op REASSURANCE, Public Affairs Officer

In February 2016, a new contingent of Canadian soldiers landed in Europe as part of the Operation REASSURANCE Land Task Force (LTF). Since then, they have participated in a series of rewarding training activities alongside their partners from Poland and other NATO states.

Members of the new rotation, known as Roto 5, are primarily from 1st Battalion, Royal 22e Régiment (1 R22eR). A parade was held to mark the beginning of their bilateral training with the Polish 25th Air Cavalry Brigade at the airfield of the Drawsko Pomorskie Training Area, Poland, on February 29, 2016.

The Canadian troops are mostly mechanized infanteers, so they do not often have the opportunity to work with soldiers and helicopters from an air cavalry unit. During their training with Polish partners, they learned fast-rope techniques, as well as the principles of air-supported insertions and extractions.

“Working with the Polish forces and their helicopters not only enables us to operate together and share our knowledge—it’s also a chance to expand our tactical abilities,” said Captain Mike Cefaloni, a 1 R22eR Platoon Commander assigned to the LTF. “During this exchange, the Poles were impressed with our decentralized planning methods, while we were able to learn from their air-mobile drills.”

Interoperability activities also included demonstrations on firing ranges. Urban-combat training provided an opportunity to conduct joint assaults on targets and learn additional manoeuvres and room-clearing techniques. Each new situation was an opportunity to strengthen the partnership between the troops from different countries.

“Working with the Polish Army gives us a chance to test our communication skills as we learn new concepts and procedures, and teach them as well,” said Corporal Curtis Drakes, a reservist from The Royal Montreal Regiment. “During urban-operations training, there was a good level of cohesion since both Canadian and Polish soldiers were willing to learn about each other’s methods as we went along.”

Two soldiers lie side by side on the ground and fire a machine gun
Drawsko Pomorskie Training Area, Poland. 15 March 2016 – A Canadian soldier and a Polish soldier fire a C6 machine gun at the Drawsko Pomorskie Training Area in Poland during Operation REASSURANCE. (Photo: Master Corporal Andrew Davis, Operation REASSURANCE Land Task Force Imagery Technician)
The LTF engineers, primarily from 5 Combat Engineer Regiment, completed a number of demonstrations at the demolition range using an array of weaponry and explosives. One of the highlights of their work was the opportunity to perform a controlled blow up of an old T-55 tank. The tank flipped one-and-a-half times in the air, lost its turret, and landed 15 metres from its original location.

The LTF also includes a detachment of artillerymen from 5e Régiment d’artillerie légère du Canada. In March, these members taught their Polish counterparts Canadian call-for-fire standards, and in turn learned Polish artillery drills. Moreover, the Canadian artillerymen completed a firing mission during which they were able to further their skills.

“The Polish operate differently than we do and they have their own procedures, but our coordination allows us to nevertheless work together,” said Captain Marc Grenier, Forward Observation Officer. “Thanks to the Poles, we participated in firing a multi-launch rocket system, a very impressive weapon that we do not have back in Canada.”

The exchange of knowledge and best practices continued in Estonia, where LTF members participated in Exercise SNIPER DYNASTY. During the exercise, snipers shared knowledge with counterparts from other NATO countries and practiced concealment and firing techniques.

Throughout all of these exercises, the logistics support personnel have played a large role in the success of the mission. The LTF support personnel got straight to work upon their arrival in Poland, providing tactical support to training and exercises. They coordinated the operational and strategic logistical requirements with the host-nation, the Operational Support Hub (Europe), and Canada.

Op REASSURANCE represents Canada’s contribution to NATO assurance measures in Central and Eastern Europe. The LTF conducts joint training activities with NATO allies to enhance interoperability, helping to ensure that the Alliance is ready to respond to challenges that may arise. During the rest of their deployment, the members of Roto 5 will participate in a series of military exercises in Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and Romania.

Last RCAF CC-130E Lands at Aviation Museum in Ottawa

Check out the Tweet Above to watch the Last CC-130E land at the Aviation and Space Museum, in Ottawa.

Written by David Pugliese, The Ottawa Citizen 

The Department of National Defence has donated the last CC-130 Hercules E aircraft still in service to the Canada Aviation and Space Museum. The aircraft made its last flight this morning, flying from 424 Transport and Rescue Squadron, Trenton Ontario to land at the museum in Ottawa this morning, according to the RCAF.

The Hercules will become part of the museum’s permanent exhibition.

In the case of transfer of the last CC-130 E Hercules Legacy in service to the museum, standard preservation procedures were applied: the fuel tanks were drained and engines disabled, the RCAF noted.
RCAF Crew with the CC-130E Hercules, ahead of its last flight (photo courtesy of RCAF)
Background from the RCAF on the C-130 E model:

Although designed in the early 1950s, the Lockheed C-130 Hercules remains one of the most successful military transport airplanes ever designed. Operated in every region of the globe, this flying truck has consistently shown itself to be extremely durable, reliable, and tough. The Royal Canadian Air Force received its first Hercules in the fall of 1960. Improved versions were ordered as time went by. A new batch was in fact delivered in 2010-12 and will remain in service for years to come. The Hercules offered to the Canada Aviation and Space Museum is the oldest Canadian example of the type. It entered service in 1965 and was used as a transport airplane, a navigation training airplane, and a search and rescue airplane.

The Hercules offered to the Museum (manufacturer number 382-4041) is the third CC-130E – and the seventh CC-130 – acquired by the Canadian military. Taken on strength on February 9, 1965, the airplane received the RCAF serial number 10307 (130307 from May 1970 onward). It flew with 435 Squadron, a unit based at RCAF Station Namao (Alberta).

After approximately ten years spent at Namao, the Hercules was converted into a navigation training airplane, with the designation CC-130N / NT or Nav-Herc, and used at Canadian Forces Base (CFB) Winnipeg by the Canadian Forces Air Navigation School. It was one of four Hercules so modified to train navigators who would fly aboard transport airplanes (Lockheed CC-130 Hercules) or maritime patrol airplanes (Canadair CP-107 Argus or, later, Lockheed CP-140 Aurora). The airplanes could be configured for either type of training by using removable pallet-mounted consoles made by Northwest Industries of Edmonton. Each of these consoles carried two student positions as well as an instructor position, further back. A Hercules could either carry two identical consoles, or one of each type.

With the introduction of a dedicated navigation training airplane in 1991, the Hercules offered to the Museum was transferred to 429 Squadron, a transport unit based at CFB Winnipeg. In 1993, it was converted into a search and rescue airplane, a version known informally as the CC-130E(SAR). The airplane went to 424 Squadron, a unit based at CFB Trenton (Ontario).

This Hercules is the last of the CC-130Es and the oldest Hercules still flying in Canada. There is a CC-130E Hercules (serial number 130314), very similar to the one offered to the Museum, at the National Air Force Museum of Canada, in Trenton

Vance: No end in sight in struggle to defeat ISIS

By Peter Zimonjic, Christina Lopes, CBC News Posted: Apr 04, 2016

Review on future of Canadian Forces is now in the hands of Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan

Canada's top general says there's no end in sight in the battle against ISIS, and Canadians should prepare for news of casualties now that Canada has stepped up its mission on the ground in Iraq and Syria.

Gen. Jonathan Vance made the comments in a wide-ranging interview with Rosemary Barton, host of CBC News Network's Power & Politics,when asked if victory against ISIS should be expected soon.

"I don't think it's in sight, I think we are thinking through the problem, we understand more and more and when you say ISIS, or ISIL or Daesh, it comes in many forms," Vance said.

Richard Fadden says Canada not at war with ISIS, but special powers needed

While the general said he was confident all the right steps were being taken to eventually defeat ISIS in Iraq, action also had to be taken socially and politically to oppose the organization.

"There is a wider effort in the counterterror world that needs to work at defeating this across the board, including countering the messaging seeking those root causes and trying to incentivize people to either leave the fight or not go in the first place," Vance said.

The general noted that all of the intelligence gathering needed prior to deploying new trainers on the ground had been done and he expected the rest of the Canadian trainers to be in theatre by the middle of summer.

Fighting vs. combat

The general said that even though Canada is in a train, advise and assist role, there is a risk of casualties during the mission.

"Canadians need to be prepared for the fact that there will be confrontation, there will be fighting, I am certain of it, there has been already," Vance said. "This represents an expansion of our mission on the ground, so it stands to reason that there will be fighting, and potential casualties as we face this mission."

Vance also had criticism for the way the mission has been debated, saying that it was not useful to argue over whether Operation Impact is a combat or a training mission when the risk to human life was so high.

"If you want to take the word fighting and make that synonymous with combat, fine by me," he said. "The intent of the mission, at the mission level, what's this mission for — it's to train, advise and assist a force."

"When you are using the rules of engagement that allow you to defend yourself and you are fighting, it's combat. But it's not a combat mission. If it was a combat mission we would be doing things very differently," Vance added.
Defence review is in minister's hands

Addressing the government's coming defence review, a sort of white paper on the future of the Canadian military, Vance said the review was done and in the hands of Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan.

The general said he is expecting "a good solid look at the future security environment, what are we facing in the world, and what does Canada want to be able to do in that very same world."

That road map would mean considering what kinds of equipment the Canadian Forces need in the future, what can be refurbished and what equipment was ready for the junkyard.

"There are decisions that we make to extend the life of equipment and that's entirely acceptable. Where I am able to offer advice in confidence to government about where there are limitations, in terms of what we can achieve, and that's also part of the process," he said.

Watch the full interview at CBC-News

Chilean AOR Almirante Montt arrives in Esquimalt

DND Press Release:
April 4, 2016 – Esquimalt, B.C. – National Defence / Canadian Armed Forces

The Chilean resupply ship Almirante Montt arrived at Canadian Forces Base Esquimalt today as part of the short-term Mutual Logistic Support Arrangement between the Royal Canadian Navy (RCN) and the Chilean Navy.

This agreement provides RCN sailors with essential operational experience that enhances their individual skill sets and core seamanship abilities. It also assists RCN sailors in retaining the expertise necessary to operate the Queenston-class supply ships once they are delivered, while fostering a collaborative relationship between the RCN and the Chilean Navy.

While en route to Esquimalt, Almirante Montt rendezvoused with HMCS Vancouver to complete replenishment-at-sea training, providing an invaluable learning opportunity for the Vancouver‘s crew.
On March 15, 2016, eight RCN sailors, including a liaison team and bridge watchkeepers under training, embarked on the Almirante Montt. The team worked closely with the crew and prepared them for the additional 20 trainees from the RCN who will work on board in rotations while the ship supports the Pacific Fleet.

The vessel will sail with the Canadian Pacific Fleet from April to June, participating in exercises that will provide sailors with essential operational experience.
In 2015, Almirante Montt supported the Canadian Pacific Fleet from July to August and conducted naval operations and training opportunities with HMC Ships Calgary and Vancouver.

“Having Almirante Montt back in Esquimalt is just another example of the strong partnership between the Canadian and Chilean Navies. This opportunity provides vital knowledge and expertise that will allow our Fleet and sailors to maintain operational readiness, while sustaining individual skills and core seamanship abilities.”

– Rear-Admiral Gilles Couturier, Commander MARPAC

The AOR Almirante Mott in July 2015 entering Victoria. Photo: RCN

Monday, April 4, 2016

Dion: Canada calls for restraint in Nagorno-Karabakh

As Canada looks for future possible UN Peacekeeping operations, perhaps the next place the UN will end up will be in Central Asia (if Russia allows a Peacekeeping deployment) as a ceasefire over the Nagorno-Karabkh region between Armenia and Azerbaijan fell apart Monday. 

Global Affairs Canada Press Release:
April 3, 2016 - Ottawa, Ontario - Global Affairs Canada

The Honourable Stéphane Dion, Minister of Foreign Affairs, today released the following statement:

“Canada is concerned by the recent escalation of violence between Armenian and Azerbaijani forces in Nagorno-Karabakh. We call on all sides to show restraint, immediately return to a true ceasefire, and actively resume dialogue within the framework of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) Minsk Group. Canada firmly believes that there is no alternative to a peaceful, negotiated solution to this conflict.”

Below is the CTV-News article describing the increase fighting in the region.

Avet Demourian, The Associated Press
Published Monday, April 4, 2016 7:29AM EDT
Last Updated Monday, April 4, 2016 2:09PM EDT

YEREVAN, Armenia -- Fighting raged Monday around Nagorno-Karabakh, with Azerbaijan saying it lost three of its troops in the separatist region while inflicting heavy casualties on Armenian forces and the Armenian president warning that the hostilities could slide into a full-scale war.

The Azerbaijani Defence Ministry said Armenian forces continued shelling Azerbaijani military positions and front-line villages despite a cease-fire that Azerbaijan unilaterally declared Sunday.

The ministry said that up to 170 Armenian troops have been "neutralized" and 12 Armenian armoured vehicles have been destroyed Monday. Armenian Defence Ministry spokesman Artsrun Ovannisian dismissed the claim as a product of the Azerbaijani military's "wild imagination."

The outbreak of hostilities that erupted Saturday is the worst since a war that ended in 1994, leaving Nagorno-Karabakh under the control of local ethnic Armenian forces and the Armenian military. Armenian forces also occupy several areas outside Karabakh proper.

International efforts to settle the conflict, fueled by long-simmering tensions between Christian Armenians and mostly Muslim Azeris, have brought no results.

The Karabakh military said Monday 20 of its servicemen have been killed since Saturday, another 72 have been wounded and seven of its tanks have been destroyed.

Azerbaijan said earlier that 12 of its soldiers were killed Saturday when the fighting flared up.

The warring parties have put enemy losses in the hundreds, claims which couldn't be independently verified and were promptly denied by the opposing side.

Ovannisian, the Armenian Defence Ministry spokesman, said Monday that Karabakh militia advanced overnight, "liberating new positions." He also claimed that Armenian artillery hit Azerbaijani units as they were moving to the front line.

Self-proclaimed officials in Karabakh said fighting intensified in the morning in the southeast and northeast with the Azerbaijani troops using Grad multiple rocket launchers.

Azerbaijan's Foreign Ministry blamed Armenian forces for shelling residential areas despite a unilateral cease-fire announced by Baku, warning that "Armenia will bear the blame for possible counterattacks and retaliatory measures by Azerbaijan's armed forces."

Azerbaijan's defence minister warned that his forces will open up an artillery barrage on Stepanakert, the main city in Karabakh, if the Armenian forces don't stop shelling populated areas.

Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan warned Monday that his country could formalize its ties with Karabakh by officially recognizing its independence if the fighting escalates.

He warned that the escalation of hostilities could lead to a "large-scale war." "It will affect security and stability not only in South Caucasus, but Europe as well," Sargsyan said.

In Moscow, Russian President Vladimir Putin's spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, said the Kremlin was "seriously worried" about the continuing fighting in the region and added that Russia will continue its efforts to ensure a cease-fire.

Armenia is a member of Moscow-dominated economic and security alliances, including several ex-Soviet nations, and it also hosts a Russian military base.

At the same time, Russia has sought to maintain friendly ties with energy-rich Azerbaijan, which serves as a key conduit for Caspian oil and gas resources flowing to the West. Despite its close ties with Armenia, Russia also has sold weapons to Azerbaijan.

Sargsyan said that among the weapons used by Azerbaijan in the latest fighting was the TOS-1 heavy flamethrower system. Azerbaijan obtained the powerful weapon that fires thermobaric rockets from Russia in a deal that angered many in Armenia.


Aida Sultanova in Baku, Azerbaijan, and Vladimir Isachenkov in Moscow, contributed to this report.

3500 CAF Members set to participate in EX PROMETHEAN RAM

DND Press Release:

April 4, 2016 – Ottawa – National Defence / Canadian Armed Forces

Approximately 3500 soldiers from the Canadian Army’s 1 Canadian Mechanized Brigade Group (1 CMBG) will take part in Exercise PROMETHEAN RAM in Wainwright, Alberta, from April 6 to May 5, 2016. This training is an important component of operational preparations for the Edmonton and Shilo-based military personnel.

Exercise PROMETHEAN RAM is a key step in the Canadian Army’s preparation for Exercise MAPLE RESOLVE 16 and the “Road to High Readiness” training program, which prepares soldiers for domestic or expeditionary deployments, as mandated by the Government of Canada.

Exercise PROMETHEAN RAM is a live-fire exercise that verifies the Brigade’s offensive and defensive combat capabilities in a deployed environment. Soldiers of 1 CMBG will emerge from this demanding exercise as a highly cohesive team, having refined their battlefield skills, synchronized their combined arms effects, and expanded confidence in their weapon systems.

“Exercise PROMETHEAN RAM is critical to preparing our soldiers for the full spectrum of operational tasks. The exercise’s challenging live-fire training will enhance the fundamental soldier skills of our troops, build their warrior spirit, and increase their confidence with the Brigade’s weapons systems.”  Brigadier-General Trevor Cadieu, Commander, 1 Canadian Mechanized Brigade Group

Quick Facts

Exercise PROMETHEAN RAM involves artillery, armour, engineer, infantry, tactical helicopter, logistical, and medical components training by day and by night.

Exercise PROMETHEAN RAM ensures that 1 CMBG is prepared for the next High Readiness exercise, MAPLE RESOLVE, which is the culminating event that will confirm the Brigade’s operational readiness. 

Starting in July 2016, 1 CMBG will serve as Canada’s High Readiness Brigade, prepared to provide troops from the individual to the Brigade level for the full spectrum of operational tasks, including security force assistance and combat.

Exercise MAPLE RESOLVE is the pinnacle of the Army’s yearly training. Hosted by the Canadian Manoeuvre Training Centre in Wainwright, Alberta, and taking place from May 12 to June 17, 2016, it is the final validation exercise before a Task Force is declared ready to deploy on either domestic or international operations.

New DND offices will have gender-neutral washrooms

Written by Amanda Connolly, iPolitics 

Months after a damning report found the Canadian Forces was fostering a “toxic” culture towards women and LGBT members, the new offices for the Department of National Defence will have gender-neutral toilets, iPolitics has learned.

“Some gender-neutral washrooms will be available in the [four] buildings currently being rehabilitated in the first phase of work at the Carling Campus,” wrote Public Services and Procurement Canada spokesperson Pierre Alain Bujold in an email to iPolitics. “We also intend to install such washrooms in other campus buildings, in upcoming phases of work.”

The Department of National Defence is in the midst of consolidating its 47 offices across the National Capital Region into seven offices, including the former Nortel main office on Carling Avenue.

The first 1,000 of roughly 12,000 DND employees had been expected to begin moving offices early this year but structural problems at the Carling Campus have delayed those plans.

It’s not clear exactly when the move will take place.

Over the past year, the subject of accommodation and support for LGBT Canadian Forces members has been in the spotlight.

In March 2015, former Supreme Court justice Marie Deschamps released adamning report that blasted senior military leaders for allowing misogyny and intolerance to take root, and called on them to take concrete action to stomp it out.

“There is an underlying sexualized culture in the CAF that is hostile to women and LGBTQ members, and conductive to more serious incidents of sexual harassment and assault,” she wrote at the time. “Cultural change is therefore key.”

Since then, the military has been working to increase awareness among its members about what kinds of behaviours constitute sexual harassment and assault as part of what’s been coined ‘Operation Honour.’

As well, it announced the creation of a new independent sexual assault reporting centre, which was one of the key recommendations from the Deschamps report given that the existing policy of reporting harassment and assault up the chain of command could deter members from filing complaints against accusers who are part of the unit or who are their superiors.

According to a progress report Deschamps issued in February 2016, the new Sexual Misconduct Response Centre received 246 contacts between mid-September and December 31.

Of the 204, 156 of the individuals were members of the Canadian Forces and half were female while the other half were male.

As of January 29, there are eight investigations underway into complaints made to the Centre.

Bujold said the department decided to include gender neutral toilets in its new offices because it recognizes it has responsibilities to its LGBT employees.

“The decision on whether to establish unisex (or gender neutral) washrooms in a given facility is primarily a response to a duty to accommodate,” Bujold said.

Trudeau downplays threat of Nuclear Terror Attack

Josh Dehaas,
Published Saturday, April 2, 2016 10:58AM EDT
Last Updated Saturday, April 2, 2016 10:02PM EDT

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says the threat of a nuclear terror attack on Canada is lower than it was five or six years ago, and that he sees it as a “modest success” that groups like ISIS haven’t gotten their hands on more dangerous weapons.

In an interview with CTV Atlantic’s Steve Murphy, the prime minister said the “concern level” of a nuclear attack remains high “because the consequences would be so devastating,” but that the threat level is “certainly lower than it has been in past years, because we’ve taken significant measures to secure dangerous materials.”

Trudeau just returned to Canada from a nuclear-safety summit hosted by U.S. President Barack Obama, who warned that al Qaeda has been actively pursuing nuclear material.

PM announces $42M to safeguard nuclear materials

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau talks with children as he visits the Seaport Farmers' Market in Halifax on Saturday, April 2, 2016. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan)

Canada committed on Friday to spend $42 million to reduce the risk of nuclear terrorism, in part by protecting materials in Peru, Jordan, Colombia, Ukraine, Thailand and Egypt.

“Because of meetings like the one we had in Washington,” Trudeau said Saturday, “it’s less of a threat than it was five or six years ago.”

Asked whether Canada is safer from terrorism in general than it was five years ago -- a time before ISIS’ devastating attacks – Trudeau noted that recent attacks have been “very conventional” using “pipe bombs” and “Kalashnikovs,” the Russian rifle used in the Paris attacks.

Trudeau added that such weapons had killed “dozens and even hundreds of people … but with how much they want to be able to do more, and how hard they’ve been trying to get their hands on more dangerous materials, the fact that they haven’t is a modest success.”

Peggy Mason, Canada’s former ambassador for nuclear disbarment, said she was stunned by Trudeau’s comments about the nuclear threat.

“I find it hard that we could say it has gone down,” she said, pointing to Pakistan and North Korea as sources of concern

“We have huge numbers of weapons still on hair-trigger alert,” she added.

Conservative MP Michelle Rempel called the prime minister’s comments startling. “I think he’s being very uniformed and naïve about the situation,” she said.

Gordon Edwards, president of the Canadian Coalition for Nuclear Responsibility, told CTV News Channel that he believes agreements made in Washington to better safeguard nuclear materials are a “good sign.”

However, he said Canada still has “quite a substantial amount of weapons-grade uranium here in Canada, mostly connected with isotope production, and it is a security risk.”

Part of the risk is transportation, he said. For example, Edwards said Canada is expected to send “hundreds of truckloads of liquid radioactive waste containing weapons-grade radioactive uranium down to the (U.S. government’s) Savannah River Site in South Carolina,” rather than dealing with it on-site in Chalk River, Ont.

Edwards added that, “if we really want to be serious, we have to stop producing these materials in the first place.”

The Prime Minister spoke to Steve Murphy at a farmer's market in Halifax, ahead of a meeting with Liberal Premier Stephen McNeil and an appearance at the Nova Scotia Liberal Party's annual general meeting.

With a report from CTV’s Richard Madan