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
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.
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
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
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
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.
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.
The Royal Canadian Air Force hopes that investing in simulators will save money in the long run by reducing the strain placed on aircraft fleets. The service plans to spend CAD544 million on simulators and training systems over the next decade, which officials say could save CAD2 billion over the next 20 years. Increased use of simulators would reduce fuel spending and cut down on aircraft maintenance costs while also freeing up aircraft for actual missions. Training time could also be shortened, with an internal analysis finding that a CH-149 simulator could reduce the length of the First Officer training course from 16 weeks to 10 weeks. “This will make the RCAF even more responsive and relevant to Canada’s defense needs,” according to the service’s recent simulation strategy, dubbed RCAF Simulation Strategy 2025.