Department of National Defence

Department of National Defence

August 07, 2008 11:36 ET

Ministers MacKay and Paradis Announce Equipment for Canadian Forces that Will Strengthen National Sovereignty

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Aug. 7, 2008) - The Honourable Peter Gordon MacKay, Minister of National Defence and Minister of the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency, and the Honourable Christian Paradis, Minister of Public Works and Government Services Canada and Secretary of State for Agriculture, today announced another important step by the Government of Canada to strengthen national sovereignty and ensure that the Canadian Forces have the tools they need to do their job safely, swiftly and effectively. This latest measure is the acquisition of helicopters and Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs).

"This announcement is yet another example of how this government is providing the men and women of the Canadian Forces the tools and equipment they need to do the jobs asked of them," said Minister MacKay. "Ultimately, these capabilities coupled with other key acquisitions by this government will be invaluable to our military leaders in the protection of Canadian interests in our sovereign territory and abroad. For years, our Canadian Forces have been in the unfortunate position of not having an option other than hitching rides with allies in order to move personnel in countries like Afghanistan. Those days are over."

Coupled with the acquisition of C-17 strategic lift, Hercules tactical lift and Chinook F medium - to heavy - lift helicopters, the acquisition of Chinook D, commercial charter helicopters and UAV's will help ensure that the Canadian Forces have the air assets necessary to undertake any mission asked of them.

The Canada First Defence Strategy clearly laid out the types of missions Canadians expect our Canadian Forces to undertake. These capabilities will ensure that Canada is able to play a leadership role abroad and make a meaningful contribution to international security while also protecting Canada's national sovereignty.

"These projects demonstrate the Government's commitment to ensuring that the men and women of the Canadian Forces have the resources and equipment they require," said Minister Paradis. "By actively procuring helicopters and UAVs to be available within stringent timelines, we are helping to support urgent operational requirements in Afghanistan, while providing best value for Canadian taxpayers."

Additional helicopter lift capacity and more UAVs for intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance were conditions set out in the March 13th parliamentary motion to extend Canada's military mission in Afghanistan until 2011. Obtaining these additional air resources was also one of the recommendations of the Independent Panel on Canada's Future Role in Afghanistan, headed by the Honourable John Manley.

"The addition of these resources will provide greater safety and security to our troops in Afghanistan, with UAVs acting as the eyes in the skies for commanders" said General Walt Natynczyk, Chief of the Defence Staff. "The helicopters will allow commanders the flexibility to reduce ground-based resupply convoys and more easily reach remote locations in challenging environments where they could be at risk of ambushes, land mines and improvised explosive devices."

Canada will be securing the following resources:

Helicopters:

- The lease of six commercial helicopters to address immediate needs. The one-year contract will be valued at up to $36 million, depending on flight hours logged, with renewable 1 year options available.

- The purchase of six used Chinook D model helicopters - already in theatre - from the US Government. These will be available for operations by February 2009. The cost for the equipment acquisition, plus initial logistics support, training and project management costs will not exceed $292 million. These figures are currently being finalized by the two governments.

UAVs:

- The procurement of a small Scan Eagle UAV to address immediate needs over the next nine months. The contract is valued at up to $14 million, depending on flight hours logged.

- The two year lease of a Heron UAV tactical system that will be delivered by early 2009. MacDonald Dettwiler Associates (MDA) of Vancouver, BC has been awarded the two-year, $95 million contract.

A long term UAV solution is currently being developed that will include domestic and deployed operational UAV capabilities.

The additional helicopters and UAVs for Afghanistan will require up to 250 personnel to support and operate the equipment.


BACKGROUNDER

STRENGTHENING THE CANADIAN FORCES AND CANADIAN SOVEREIGNTY

The Government of Canada is committed to ensuring that the Canadian Forces (CF) have the people, equipment, and support they need to meet the nation's long-term domestic and international security challenges.

The Government identified the need for additional helicopters and high performance Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) in Afghanistan. Coupled with the acquisition of C-17 strategic lift, Hercules tactical lift and Chinook F medium - to heavy - lift helicopters, the acquisition of Chinook D, commercial charter helicopters and UAVs ensures that the Canadian Forces have the air assets necessary to undertake any mission asked of them.

These capabilities will ensure that Canada is able to play a leadership role abroad and make a meaningful contribution to international security while also protecting Canada's national sovereignty.

On August 7, 2008, the Government of Canada announced that it had put in place contracts to acquire this additional air capacity, thereby addressing the conditions in the March 13, 2008 parliamentary motion and the recommendation made by the Independent Panel on Canada's Future Role in Afghanistan led by the Honourable John Manley. Due diligence was exercised throughout the procurement process to ensure that the right equipment for the CF was secured at the right price for Canadians in a fair and transparent manner.

The Government has also begun a process to provide the CF with its own medium-to heavy-lift helicopters. The delivery of the Canadian Chinook F-models is expected in 2012 with initial operations commencing in 2013.

I. Securing Medium Helicopter Lift Capacity:

Additional medium lift helicopters are required to meet a number of Canada's operational requirements, including conducting independent operations and providing airlift for troops. When this capacity is unavailable, troops are at greater risk of ambushes, land mines and improvised explosive devices. The existing NATO pool of resources has a shortfall in available airlift requirements and is unable to consistently meet Canadian needs.

Immediate Needs:

To address immediate needs, the Government is securing chartered commercial helicopters which will be available for use in theatre later this summer. These helicopters will be used for resupply missions and potentially for specific troop transport.

The one-year contract for the chartered helicopters is valued at up to $36 million, depending on flight hours logged. Renewable one year options are available.

By February 2009:

Canada has signed an agreement with the US Government to acquire six used Chinook D-model helicopters through a Foreign Military Sales Agreement. These military helicopters will be used to fly missions to higher threat environments where the chartered aircraft cannot. They will be available for operations by February 2009.

The cost for the equipment acquisition, plus initial logistics support, training and project management costs will not exceed $292 million. These figures are currently being finalized by the two governments.

Beyond Afghanistan:

In March 2008, the Government announced that a Request for Proposal had been issued to Boeing Co. to acquire 16 medium-to-heavy lift Chinook F model helicopters. These will be used to meet the Canadian Forces' longstanding medium-to-heavy lift requirements for the next twenty years. Delivery is expected in 2012. It is anticipated that the F-models will be operational in 2013.

II. Securing high performance Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) for intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance

High performance UAVs provide an indispensable surveillance and intelligence gathering capability that can be used in a variety of operations. Since 2003, the CF have been using the Sperwer tactical UAV in Afghanistan. While this vehicle has served its purpose, the Forces will greatly benefit from new and more advanced UAVs with a greater range and more sophisticated functions.

Immediate Needs:

The Government has leased Small Unmanned Aerial Vehicles - the Scan Eagle - from Boeing Co. to address immediate needs in Kandahar over the next nine months. The contract, which is valued at up to $14 million, is for the provision of turnkey service and training. This equipment has been in the field since June 2008. The contract was awarded to Boeing Co. on May 16, 2008. The company was the only supplier that could successfully meet DND's aggressive timetable.

By February 2009:

The Government has secured the two year lease of a Heron UAV tactical system to be delivered in Afghanistan by early 2009. Under Project NOCTUA, the two-year $95 million contract was awarded to MacDonald Dettwiler and Associates (MDA) of Vancouver, BC on August 1, 2008.

Beyond Afghanistan:

A long term UAV solution, in the form of the Joint UAV Surveillance Target Acquisition System (JUSTAS) Program, is currently being developed that will include domestic and deployed operational UAV capabilities.

Support Personnel:

The additional helicopters and UAVs for Afghanistan will require up to 250 personnel to support and operate the equipment.

Contact Information

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