Industry Canada

Industry Canada

November 22, 2010 13:00 ET

Government of Canada Delivering Long-Term Jobs and Economic Opportunities to Waterloo

WATERLOO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Nov. 22, 2010) - The Honourable Gary Goodyear, Minister of State (Science and Technology), and Peter Braid, Member of Parliament for Kitchener–Waterloo, on behalf of the Honourable Tony Clement, Minister of Industry, today visited Virtek Vision International Inc., a Gerber Technology company. Virtek is developing laser templating technology for 3D composite ply alignment for the F-35 Lightning II aircraft as part of contracts awarded under the Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) program. Minister of State Goodyear noted the work of another Waterloo company, Nikon Metrology Canada, Inc., which is also involved in work for the JSF program. He highlighted the economic benefits being created as a result of Canada's participation in the JSF program — the single largest fighter aircraft program in history.

"The cutting-edge technology developed at Virtek Vision International and Nikon Metrology Canada are contributing to cost savings and increased efficiency on the F-35," said Minister of State Goodyear. "What's more, these companies' involvement in the Joint Strike Fighter program is securing highly skilled, well-paying jobs for the Waterloo region."

The economic benefits of this program are already being realized across Canada, from Vancouver to Halifax and in many communities in between, including Waterloo. This investment is needed now to ensure the long-term strength of our world-class aerospace industry.

The JSF program provides an unprecedented opportunity for Canadian firms such as Virtek and Nikon Metrology to take part in the global supply chains that will define the aerospace and defence sectors for the next 40 years. Canada joined the program in 1997 in anticipation of the need to replace the Canadian Forces' current fleet of CF-18s. To date, Canada has invested approximately $168 million in the JSF program; since 2002, this investment has led to more than $350 million in contracts with more than 60 Canadian companies, research laboratories and universities.

Through the JSF program, Canadian companies will be guaranteed access to competitive opportunities in the JSF partnership, including an estimated $12 billion in potential industrial opportunities for work on the aircraft platform. Purchasing the F-35 aircraft now ensures that Canadian companies can access high-value, long-term JSF work by allowing them enough lead time to ramp up for the production, sustainment and follow-on development phases of the program.

The development of the F-35 is the largest cooperative program of its kind since World War II. This United States–led partnership includes Canada, Australia, Denmark, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Turkey and the United Kingdom. As a partner nation, Canada is in a position to secure high-value work, such as Virtek and Nikon Metrology's respective laser systems. 

Virtek manufactures sophisticated laser templating technology for 3D composite ply alignment. This equipment shows workers, with a high degree of speed and accuracy, where to lay the cut pieces of composite material as they assemble aircraft skin and structure parts. Nikon Metrology produces a system that projects a laser image onto aircraft parts, allowing assembly personnel to see how the parts fit together, including where drilling or fastening will occur. Nikon Metrology has also delivered a production system to the F-35 Final Finishes Facility. The laser technology produced by both companies will be used on all variants of the F-35. 

Virtek Vision International Inc., a Gerber Technology company, is a leader in laser templating and imaging solutions. Virtek supplies construction and aerospace industries worldwide and offers manufacturing, development, integration, training, after sales support and installation.

Nikon Metrology Canada, Inc. offers innovative metrology solutions for consumer, automotive, aerospace, electronics, medical and other industries. Their systems are used for both tactile and non-contact inspection as well as for large-scale tracking and alignment projects. 

For more information on the Joint Strike Fighter program, please visit the National Defence website (www.forces.gc.ca/site/news-nouvelles/news-nouvelles-eng.asp?cat=00&id=3471).

Backgrounder

Industrial Participation - Joint Strike Fighter Program

The Government of Canada's participation in the Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) program brings significant benefits to Canada. As a global program, it positions Canadian industry at the start of a multi-year, multi-billion dollar program with an international market. Further, the government's long-term investment in this aircraft development program provides Canada's aerospace and defence industries with an unprecedented opportunity to be a part of the JSF global supply chain, advancing their technologies, while bringing jobs and sustained economic benefits to regions across Canada.

Canada joined the JSF program in 1997, in anticipation of the need for the Canadian Forces to replace its current fleet of CF-18s, which is expected to reach the end of its operational life in the 2017–20 time frame.

The development of the F-35 is the largest cooperative program of its kind since World War II. This United States–led partnership includes Canada, Australia, Denmark, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Turkey and the United Kingdom. As a partner nation, Canada is in a position to secure high-value work on the JSF program.

Industrial Participation

Since 1997, Canada has been involved in the development, design and initial production phases of the JSF program. In 2006, the Government of Canada signed the Production, Sustainment and Follow-on Development Phase Memorandum of Understanding (MOU). In this MOU, the partners agreed to implement a best-value approach to maximize industrial benefits and the affordability of the JSF program for partner countries.

Because Canada is a member country, Canadian companies are among those eligible to bid on the work packages that flow from this project. Canadian companies must offer competitive technologies at competitive prices to be successful on the JSF program.

Industry Canada has signed industrial participation plans with each of the JSF prime contractors (Lockheed Martin, Pratt & Whitney, and the General Electric Rolls-Royce Fighter Engine Team). These industrial participation plans meet the Government of Canada's objective of encouraging foreign industry to establish long-term relationships with Canadian industry. Industry Canada continues to work cooperatively with National Defence to identify and pursue opportunities with JSF prime contractors.

In addition to providing access to competitive opportunities, the industrial participation plans identify strategic industrial opportunities for Canada that build on Canadian strengths in the areas of landing gear maintenance, composite manufacturing, hard metals machining and complex structure assembly.

Benefits to Canada

Canada has made payments of approximately $168 million to the JSF program; and, since 2002, this investment has led to more than $350 million in contracts with more than 60 Canadian companies, research laboratories and universities. Canada has already seen a two-to-one return on its investment.

This program provides Canada with an unprecedented opportunity for long-term and high-quality work in the aerospace and defence sectors. Partner nation acquisitions of the aircraft are expected to exceed 3100 units, and overall production could exceed 5000 aircraft worldwide as other non-partner countries replace their aging fighter fleets. Canadian industrial participation in the JSF program is not limited to the work associated with the 65 Canadian aircraft; Canadian companies will contribute to the manufacture and service of thousands of aircraft.

The work packages available for Canadian companies will include not only the manufacturing and assembly of parts but also servicing, repair, simulation and training, in addition to numerous other sustainment activities over a 40-year period. Early estimates show that the opportunities available to Canada on production could total $12 billion through these industrial participation plans. Further opportunities from training, simulation and maintenance will add to this figure as the industrial benefits from the JSF program continue to flow to Canadian companies throughout the operational lifespan of the worldwide fleet.

For more information on the Next Generation Fighter Capability, please contact the Department of National Defence at:

1-866-377-0811/613-996-2353

www.forces.gc.ca

Contact Information

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