Department of National Defence

Department of National Defence

May 24, 2013 15:06 ET

Minister Findlay Announces a Contract to Support Canadian Military Space Assets

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - May 24, 2013) - The Honourable Kerry-Lynne D. Findlay, Q.C., Associate Minister of National Defence and Member of Parliament for Delta - Richmond East, today announced the award of a contract estimated at $11.4 million to MacDonald, Dettwiler and Associates Ltd. for in-service support to the Unclassified Remote-sensing Situational Awareness (URSA) capability of the Joint Space Support Project.

"In theatre, access to dependable, timely, and accurate visual information is critical to the planning and conduct of operations," said Minister Findlay. "This kind of satellite technology is vital to military missions as it allow commanders to download imagery from passing commercial satellites, greatly enhancing their situational awareness."

The Unclassified Remote-sensing Situational Awareness capability will allow commanders to download high-resolution satellite imagery of local terrain directly in theatre. For domestic operations, Unclassified Remote-sensing Situational Awareness images may be used in a variety of ways, including in support of disaster relief, security, or to assist other government organizations, like Public Safety Canada, in acquiring access to timely information derived from space.

"The contract announced today is the latest example of our Government's commitment to providing the men and women of the Canadian Armed Forces with the equipment they need to perform their tasks successfully and safely,"said Minister Findlay. "At the same time, by providing full-time job opportunities in the Canadian aerospace sector, this investment also contributes to the economic health of the community of Richmond."

A large portion of the in-service support, including general system support, maintenance, logistics and training support in accordance with the provisions outlined in the contract will be contracted to MacDonald, Dettwiler and Associates Ltd. This reduces the demand on military personnel, who can focus instead on operations.

Operational and cost/benefit studies have confirmed that the Joint Space Support Project method of delivering commercial imagery in the field is the fastest and most cost-effective. Using existing commercial satellites and their established ground infrastructure will save significant acquisition and sustainment costs to the Canadian Armed Forces and Canadian public.

The contract will be for an estimated $11.4 million over five years, with the potential to exercise an additional three option years, at a cost of $2.4 million each.

The Department of National Defence is slated to take delivery of the first of two Unclassified Remote-sensing Situational Awareness systems in the fall of 2013.

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