Boeing and Embraer have confirmed that the two companies are engaged in discussions regarding a potential combination, the basis of which remains under discussion. While an outright acquisition is unlikely due to Brazilian government fears of outright foreign ownership, some form of joint venture is likely. Continue reading →
A U.S. F-18 Refuels from a KC-10 Tanker Source: U.S. Air Force
The U.S. State Department has approved the sale of 18 F/A-18E/F Super Hornets and associated equipment to Canada as part of a potential deal worth $5.23 billion, according to a September 12 announcement from the U.S. Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA). The announcement outlines the potential sale of 10 F/A-18Es, eight F/A-18Fs, eight F414-GE-400 engine spares, APG-79 radars, 100 AIM-9X-2 Sidewinder Block II missiles, 30 AIM-9X-2 Sidewinder Block II Captive Air Training Missiles, and eight AIM-9X-2 Sidewinder Block II Special Air Training Missiles, as well as additional avionics and electronics. Continue reading →
CSeries 100 is at the center of the dispute. Photo: Bombardier
Earlier this week, the U.S. Commerce Department took Boeing’s side in an ongoing dispute with Canada’s Bombardier after Boeing claimed that an April 2016 order for 75 CSeries jets by Delta Air Lines was unfairly subsidized by the Canadian government.
Halifax class frigates HMCS Charlottetown (left) and HMCS Montréal (right) Source: Cpl Johanie Maheu, Formation Imaging Services, Halifax, Nova Scotia.
Canada’s new Liberal government released its first defense budget in March, and the spending plan portends a continued struggle for the military’s troubled acquisition system. The budget plan estimates that defense spending will total CAD18.6 billion in the 2016/17 fiscal year (April 1 to March 31), which is about CAD578 million less than projected under the previous Conservative government’s 2015 budget plan. Planned spending of CAD19.5 billion in 2017/18 would actually be higher than the CAD18.7 billion figure contained in last year’s budget, but that increase hides a more alarming issue. Namely, the 2016 budget takes some CAD3.7 billion worth of procurement funding allocated for large-scale projects in the 2015/16 to 2020/21 timeframe, and defers it to beyond 2020. Continue reading →
Canadian LAV IIIs on Patrol in Afghanistan. Source: Canadian Forces
On January 2, Saudi Arabia carried out the execution of 47 people on terrorism charges. Among those executed was Shia cleric Nimr al-Nimr, a prominent figure in anti-government protests. Al-Nimr was convicted in October 2014 for sedition and illegal possession of weapons. He denied having advocated for violence and rejected that he had any weapons, but even so, a Saudi court upheld his death sentence. Continue reading →
A Pair of U.S. Air Force F-35A Joint Strike Fighters. Source: U.S. Air Force
Canada’s Liberal Party has ended nearly a decade of rule under Prime Minister Stephen Harper and his Conservatives, a change that does not bode well for Lockheed Martin’s F-35 Joint Strike Fighter. The Liberals, led by Justin Trudeau, won a majority government with 184 seats in Parliament, meaning they will not have to form a coalition with the leftist New Democratic Party, which won 44 seats. The Conservatives held on to 99 seats, while the Bloc Quebecois took 10 seats and the Green Party just one. In the previous election in 2011, when the Conservatives formed a majority, the NDP actually beat out the Liberals to become the official opposition party for the first time ever. The latest election represents a shift to the center, carrying with it a number of significant defense policy changes.
The Canadian Department of National Defence has responded to media claims that the future Canadian Surface Combatant (CSC) program is in trouble, but the government’s effort to assuage concerns is of little consolation. The CSC is a planned class of ships that will replace Canada’s Halifax class frigates and Iroquois class destroyers. CTV News recently obtained internal planning documents that said the CSC is at “very high risk” of running over budget and behind schedule and of lacking skilled manpower. It also said that there is a high risk the CSC will fail to provide the necessary capabilities. The document warned that the program “may be unable to deliver the optimal number of ships with the capabilities necessary to meet operational requirements.” Statements like these are a significant concern for a costly project to replace the bulk of the Royal Canadian Navy’s might. Continue reading →
The Royal Canadian Navy recently hired a barge to transport fuel into the Arctic for two of its maritime coastal defense vessels on patrol in the northern waters. The barge was also used to resupply the ships, according to service officials. The Navy has also been utilizing a Chilean Navy supply ship to resupply its west coast fleet, spending CAD6 million for 40 days of access to Chile’s Almirante Montt over the summer. Canada is working on a similar agreement with Spain to support the east coast fleet later in the year. Why is Canada going through all of this effort to utilize outside resources to supply its own fleet? The answer is simple – Canada no longer has supply ships to do the job. Continue reading →
Alenia Aermacchi’s C-27J Fixed Wing Search and Rescue (FWSAR) Contender
Although the Canadian Forces’ efforts to replace their aging Fixed Wing Search and Rescue (FWSAR) aircraft were formalized in 2004, advancements were stymied repeatedly. On March 31, this changed when Canada released a new Request for Proposals (RFP); the due date is September 2015. The all-new aircraft will feature a new electronics suite with new radars and new electro-optics, making for a lucrative prospect for airborne electronics manufacturers. Continue reading →
Canadian Forces troops train in the Arctic in April 2015 (Source: Canadian Forces)
Ottawa has announced a plan to provide the military with sustained annual budget growth of three percent beginning in 2017, providing a cumulative CAD11.8 billion in additional spending through 2026. Previously, the government had planned budget growth of around two percent per year during that time. Under the revised plan, the defense budget will have increased by CAD2.3 billion by 2026, according to budget documents. The move is an attempt to offset recent cuts shouldered by the military as the government slashed expenditures to eliminate the deficit. The government has finally balanced the budget after many years of deficits, announcing a projected CAD1.4 billion surplus in 2015. However, the defense increases may not be enough to offset the damage that has already been done to the military, if the government is even able to follow through with the plan at all.