Canadian Polar Icebreakers gets green light
Posted on May 7, 2021

When the federal government announced plans in August 2008 for a new Polar-class icebreaker for the Canadian Coast Guard, then Prime Minister Stephen Harper said it was expected to cost $720 million as the country pushed to assert its presence in the Arctic.

On 6 May 2021, the Trudeau government announced that it has resurrected plans for two vessels – to be built by Seaspan Yard in Vancouver and Davie Shipbuilding of Lévis, Quebec – but project costs were not part of the equation. That evidently is subject to further negotiations.

A 2013 federal budget estimate by the Harper administration put the costs of two ships at $1.3 billion, but inflation – coupled with increases in labour and material costs in the intervening years – likely will push the ultimate bill closer to $2 billion.

Early estimates are that construction of the two icebreakers will generate some 300 jobs at each yard as well as 2,500 across the marine supply chain. Whatever the cost, it will be atop $17.49 billion in contracts already awarded to shipyards for a range of smaller vessels, which the government says has already revitalized the industry.

An initial contract for one icebreaker was awarded to Seaspan in 2011 as a key element of the National Shipbuilding Strategy (NSS). The goal was to have the vessel, to be named the CCGS John D. Diefenbaker, in service by 2017. It would replace the CCGS Louis S. St-Laurent, which was built by Canadian Vickers in Montreal, commissioned in 1969 and extensively refitted with a view to keeping it in service through this decade, the largest in a fleet of 18 icebreakers which service mainly the Great Lakes and the Gulf of St. Lawrence.

However, sundry delays resulted in Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s withdrawal of the Seaspan contract in mid-2019 and a new request for industry proposals in the hope of having a ship in service by late 2029. That left the politically-contentious project in limbo yet again as concerns continued to mount about Canada’s Arctic capabilities.

In announcing the project’s revival, the government said in its official statement that increasing commercial traffic and other activity, much of it due to a longer navigation season made possible by global warming “all highlighted Canada’s need for a renewed Coast Guard fleet.”

At 150 metres length overall with a beam of 28m, the icebreakers are expected to top 18 knots and have a cruising speed range of 30,000 nautical miles with 100 crew and scientific personnel. The new icebreakers will be designed to operate farther north, in more difficult ice conditions and for longer periods than earlier Canadian icebreakers.

The government’s announcement was a geographically-select group effort in that it involved Nova Scotia MP Bernadette Jordan, Minister of Fisheries & Oceans and the CCG; Government House Leader Pablo Rodriguez in his capacity as the government’s Quebec Lieutenant; and B.C. MP Jonathan Wilkinson, Minister of Environment & Climate Change.

They said the new approach, with concurrent construction by each yard, would ensure at least one icebreaker is delivered by 2030. “With their enhanced capabilities, these larger, more powerful Polar icebreakers will enable the Coast Guard to conduct year-round operations in Canada’s Arctic,” the ministers said. “Their greater endurance will ensure they can operate at higher latitudes for longer periods, and will allow the fleet to better support […] northerners, strengthen Arctic sovereignty, advance high Arctic science, and better respond to maritime emergencies.”

Under the National Shipbuilding Strategy (NSS), Seaspan delivered its first state-of-the-art Offshore Fisheries Science Vessel (OFSV) to the Canadian Coast Guard in 2019 and completed the first full class of these vessels in 2020.

On 9 October 2020, the Honourable Bernadette Jordan, Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard, along with Mario Pelletier, Commissioner of the Canadian Coast Guard, welcomed the newly-built Canadian Coast Guard Ship (CGGS) John Cabot, to the Coast Guard fleet. Delivery of this third and final Offshore Fisheries Science Vessel (OFSV), along with the acceptance of the CCGS Sir John Franklin and  CCGS Capt Jacques Cartier in 2019, completed the first class of large ships built under the National Shipbuilding Strategy.

Under the NSS, Seaspan has become a major economic and job creation engine. As of December 2019, the shipyard had contributed more than $1.5 billion dollars to Canada’s GDP and directed nearly $1B in contracts to more than 670 suppliers from coast to coast. (Source: Deloitte Socioeconomic Impact Study

Seaspan recently cut steel and started construction of Canada’s most modern ocean research ship, the Offshore Oceanographic Science Vessel. The company continues to award contracts to Canadian businesses across the country, recently surpassing $1B in contracts on the Joint Support Ship program alone.


As part of the National Shipbuilding Strategy (NSS), the Government of Canada has announced that Seaspan Shipyards (Seaspan) will design and build a Polar Icebreaker, the flagship of the Canadian Coast Guard’s icebreaking fleet. The new ship construction program, which will sustain approximately 1,400 jobs at Seaspan’s Vancouver shipyard and 1,400 additional jobs in the marine industry across the country, is welcome and timely news for Seaspan employees and its cross-Canada supply chain. Work on the program is set to begin immediately upon the award of a contract.

With Canada’s current largest icebreaker, CCGS Louis S. St-Laurent, due to retire at the end of the decade after 60 years of service, there is an urgent need to begin work on the multi-year replacement program. The new icebreaker will be the largest ship in the Coast Guard fleet and will play a critical role in enabling the Canadian Coast Guard to patrol and protect 243,000 km of coastline – the longest national coastline in the world. Nearly 70% of that coastline is in the Arctic, a region of increasing interest from other countries and a growing national priority for Canada. The multi-mission ship will also provide vital resupply to Arctic communities, support Arctic science, help ensure the free flow of trade and safe commercial shipping, and conduct search and rescue and environmental response.

Seaspan is set to work with Canada’s marine industry leaders, including Genoa Design International in Newfoundland and Labrador and Heddle Shipyards in Ontario, along with hundreds of small and medium Canadian companies. Bringing to bear a cross-Canada approach, the Polar Icebreaker program is expected to grow Canadian businesses, tap into talent and capability across the country, and create and sustain good jobs.

In line with the economic and industrial development objectives of the NSS to build and strengthen Canada’s marine sector, a recent study has indicated that for every dollar spent on the NSS at Seaspan, a dollar is added to Canada’s GDP.

The icebreaker, Seaspan’s fourth class of NSS vessel, will be constructed at the company’s Vancouver shipyard, a high-capacity multi-program yard that is one of the most modern and efficient in North America and was purpose-built to deliver Canada’s largest and most complex ships. The Polar Icebreaker will be built concurrently with the second Joint Support Ship for the Royal Canadian Navy, the largest naval vessel by length ever to be built in Canada, and the largest and most advanced ocean science research ship for the Canadian Coast Guard.

Foldable transportation system for rough terrain
Posted on Oct 22, 2020

The Israeli-developed EZ Raider personal transportation system for security personnel and soldiers will soon have an autonomous version, and that is generating "big interest," says retired Brigadier-General Miki Bar, CEO of DS Raider, the company that developed the systems. DS Raider is cooperating with other companies to offer a version that will move to the commands of a Lidar laser radar and is equipped with intuitive and accurate driving system controls.

Transporting soldiers or security personnel and equipment through rough terrains requires tactical solutions that can navigate in terrain previously only reached by foot. The four wheels are connected to special suspension systems that gives every wheel an independent horizontal and vertical movement and "allows the vehicle to cope with rough terrain" BGen Bar tells FrontLine.

The EZ Raider HD 4 is an off-road electric-powered manned vehicle that without a doubt creates a new category in the field of personal tactical vehicle. The vehicle has a unique go-anywhere mobility capability, and thus acts as an operational power-multiplier for the user.

The U.S armed forces have evaluated the vehicle and, after a successful set of tests, have purchased a number of them to continue their operational evaluation.

The vehicle’s operational simplicity, reliability and durability, is intended to enhance advantages in a variety of operational scenarios with a high level of safety for the user.

Powered by two 1200 W electric motors, the vehicle can carry up to two fighters with full combat gear. It can tow a special electric-powered cart to transport additional equipment. The electric motors with high torque and precise response to user commands and powered by a 3000 W battery gives the vehicle an operational range of up to 80 km.

According to product specs, the EZ Raider HD 4 is 68.5 cm (27") wide and weighs 95 kg (209 lbs) and can be easily folded for transportation. The vehicle can carry a payload up to 168 kg (370 lbs), and an additional 250 kg (550 lbs) when equipped with the Raider electric-powered cart.

The board on which the soldier stands is 20 inches above ground, and adds to the vehicle's capability to move in rough terrain. "The soldier uses body movements like the ones skiers of water gliders use to control the movements," says Bar.

Its IR signature is also very low, a fact that adds to its stealthiness. "The electric motor emits something like 122°F and that can be lowered with simple heat shielding materials."

The Israeli police currently use the EZ Raider HD in its border police units.

Contact Info:

D.S. Raider Ltd 
Atir Yeda 15, Kfar Saba, Israel
Contact: Michal Taitelman, Marketing
Tel: +972-72-255 9880
QinetiQ report flags Grey Zone Threats
Posted on Sep 30, 2020

Grey zone attacks exploit the widest range of social, political, economic and military instruments available to achieve maximum effect. They often do not provoke a conventional military response and are sometimes not recognized as formal acts of aggression, leaving nations scrambling to adapt. "Policy makers need to drive an integrated approach, reassess defence budgets, and ensure allocated resource to new information and emerging technologies that can prepare them to manage in this new context,” says Mike Sewart, Group CTO at QinetiQ.

By examining the shifts from traditional open warfare to “grey zone” or sub-threshold tactics, the report provides six strategic defence and security recommendations. This guidance aims to help governments significantly review their defence spending and priorities in ways that will allow them to keep pace with the changing nature of warfare.

The report intends to provoke a new dialogue around how organizations can harness the potential of emerging technology to successfully adapt conventional defence and security capabilities and respond to adversarial grey zone campaigns – be they organized criminal gangs, international terrorist cells, or nation states.

Executive Summary of QinetiQ Report (released 28 Sept 2020)

Read the entire document online here:

The emerging growth of Grey Zone Threats

The supremacy of traditional security and defence systems has driven adversaries towards alternative methods. These ‘grey zone’ approaches include a myriad of new threats described by multiple buzzwords, from asymmetric to hybrid and from 5th generation to sub-threshold. All these make up the “grey zone” and explore the widest range of social, political, economic and military instruments available to achieve maximum effect - but without provoking a conventional response, or even being recognized as formal acts of aggression.

Countering this requires significant change in a number of areas – from risk appetite, to the equipment used, and the skills employed. Technology will play an increasing role in each area as nations adapt to fit the way in which adversaries now behave.

The growth of Grey Zone Campaigning

Understanding what has driven the shift can help us identify how best to adapt to grey zone threats. The first driver is the increasing access to emerging technologies. The accelerating transfer of consumer technology from lab to user lowers the bar for entry, providing adversaries with greater reach and making it easier for them to instigate a challenge. The second driver is the emergence of a new world system. Global norms, rules, accords and institutions face increasing challenges. The third driver is the growth of novel domains. The pursuit of political and territorial supremacy takes place on more fronts today than ever before. Two new domains, cyber and space, are starting to rebalance power between large and small actors.

Six major Grey Zone Challenges

Grey zone tactics reveal capability gaps in both security and defence disciplines, which need to be addressed through an integrated strategy dealing with six key challenges. Below we have explored the most pressing challenges that grey zone campaigns pose.

The first is creating the information advantage. Traditional strategies dealt with conventional conflict, but now adversaries use knowledge-based tactics. Separating truth from “fake news” and creating effective counter narratives are now a priority.

The second challenge is improving cyber resilience, which remains one of highest priorities for all organizations. There are well known international aggressors online, but a significant and faster-growing threat is serious organized crime.

The third challenge is improving threat detection. The nature of grey zone campaigns is that they are disguised, so organizations can be targeted without even knowing it.

The fourth challenge is adding sophisticated capabilities. As threats become more clandestine, organizations need to increase their ability to expose hostile tactics from adversaries.

The fifth challenge is adapting at pace. Organizations struggle to react quickly enough to the changing nature of threats. Current procurement processes don’t help, with the scale and bureaucracy proving a hindrance.

The sixth and final challenge is introducing new skills. Grey zone competition is perpetual and unpredictable. In this environment, training must be linked to real operations to ensure that its always relevant.

Emerging technologies under-funded: Commercial sector continues to outspend on R&D

A report by PwC states that whilst aerospace and defence invested about $25bn in 2018, computing and electronics industries invested almost six times as much. And last year Amazon alone invested $22bn on R&D, nearly 20 times more than the nearest defence company.

Five modes of Grey Zone Hostility

Although the combinations and permutations of grey zone tactics are legion, we have grouped them into five ‘modes’. The first mode is deniability and central to grey zone competition. Adversaries may seek to sabotage a rival’s critical infrastructure with methods that can’t be traced to the instigator. The second is information operations. There are two separate but complementary elements in an information operations strategy namely the collection and the dissemination of information. The third mode is the use of proxy forces where an aggressor may leverage another nation’s forces to achieve its aims. Fourth is economic coercion; there are many ways to exert economic power, or limit that of its rivals. Lastly is territorial encroachment by offering resources to a country under false pretences or even being welcomed in as peacekeepers before gaining control.

Adapting emerging technologies to meet Grey Zone challenges

Whilst the nature of grey zone attacks is constantly evolving, QinetiQ’s research suggests that there are ten front line technology capabilities that need to be developed in order to mitigate threats.

  1. AI, analytics and advanced computing – The ability to process massive volumes of data at pace enhances situational awareness. By drawing and fusing data from multiple sources, AI can be used to identify locations and model behaviours.
  2. Cyber and electromagnetic activities – The cyber domain is a vital front in grey zone competition. Less discussed is the vulnerability of the electromagnetic spectrum. Communications signals, including Wi-Fi and GPS, can be jammed or spoofed for service denial or misdirection.
  3. Novel weapons, systems and effects – There are a wide range of alternatives to kinetic weapons, but in the context of the grey zone, directed energy is the most relevant.
  4. Power sources, energy storage and distribution – Most frontline capability relies on electricity. In some cases, this can be drawn from the grid, but other scenarios require highly specialised energy storage and power delivery systems.
  5. Robotics and autonomous systems (RAS) – In the grey zone, the collective power of multiple systems to provide more granular situational awareness and expand the user’s sphere of influence.
  6. Secure communications and navigation – Communication lies at the epicentre of virtually all grey zone operations. Moving information around is fundamental to building a detailed picture.
  7. Sensing, processing and data fusion – The key to grey zone advantage is awareness: of adversaries’ locations, their activities and intent, of public and political sentiment, and of the physical and digital domains in which grey zone competition takes place.
  8. Advanced materials and manufacturing – The grey zone’s rapidly shifting nature means new capability must often be fast-tracked into service in response to emerging and evolving threats. The ability to manufacture quickly and at scale is therefore crucial.
  9. Human protection and performance – New capabilities cannot be introduced safely or effectively without first understanding how humans may interact with them. Unexpected human responses can undermine the advantages of technology.
  10. Platform and system design and assessment – The primary role of large platforms is to act as a deterrent against aggression. However, there is an apparent tension between their long service life and the need to adapt them quickly to tackle changing threats so their core capability must be readily augmented to serve a multitude of roles.

Multimillion-dollar defence remains important as a deterrent, but in the grey zone, it must form part of a suite of tactics. Sometimes it provides little advantage against low-cost improvised devices, or other grey zone threats such as cyber-attacks. This asymmetry is laid bare by the case in 2017 when a $3m Patriot missile was used to shoot down a $200 consumer quadcopter drone.

Shifting mindsets to counter grey zone threats

There are some underpinning principles on which to base the implementation of emerging technologies to adapt to grey zone campaigns. If adopted, they will assure these changes for operational use and accelerate the ability to deal with grey zone threats.

Develop an integrated approach: Grey zone threats don’t discriminate, they just seek to achieve their means through whatever channels are most vulnerable. Innovation underpins this approach, requiring a systemic approach to testing and experimentation with a continuous cycle of learning, development and adoption.

Make innovation mission-led: Today’s innovation process often leaves the end user without significant input, and the end result fails to deliver. A mission-led approach ensures that all new ideas are driven solely by mission outcomes.

Practice ‘positive experimentation’: This requires a shift in mindset, one which stimulates a more systemic approach to innovation. A continuous cycle of learning, development and adoption is needed.

Make testing perpetual and dynamic: To match the pace at which threats change, a more dynamic process of testing and evaluation is required.

Encourage an open architecture environment: The current architecture makes it impossible to quickly modify existing assets in order to adapt to grey zone threats. Open architectures could provide the ability to ‘plug and play’ with new innovation.

Embrace a new training philosophy: Training should be a constant process, not a set piece activity. This allows organizations to continuously adapt to changes in the environment and incorporate new skills into operations.

Read the entire document online here:

 Grey zone attacks exploit the widest range of social, political, economic and military instruments available to achieve maximum effect. They do not, however, usually provoke a conventional military response and are sometimes not recognized as formal acts of aggression. 

Canada receives new search and rescue aircraft
Posted on Sep 25, 2020

Today, the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) marked the arrival of the first aircraft of its future fixed-wing search and rescue (SAR) fleet. The Government of Canada is equipping the RCAF with the modern and effective aircraft it needs to continue its critical life-saving search and rescue missions across Canada’s vast and challenging territory.

The Airbus aircraft, designated CC-295 for Canada, landed at its home base on 17 September and is the first aircraft to be delivered on a $2.4 billion contract (including taxes) for 16 new CC-295 fixed-wing search and rescue aircraft to replace Canada’s fleets of Buffalo and Hercules H aircraft. The contract, awarded to Airbus Defence and Space in December 2016, is for a period of 11 years, with the option to extend up to an additional 15 years of in-service support. Airbus has formally delivered three aircraft to date, the second of which is scheduled to arrive in Canada in the coming weeks. Deliveries will continue until 2022.

The new fleet will be called Kingfisher. The kingfisher has long been recognized among the First Nations of the Northwest for its speed and agility, as well as its keen searching and hunting skills. Found all across Canada, the kingfisher well represents the abilities of search and rescue crews to accomplish their lifesaving role.

The first CC-295 lands at 19 Wing, Canadian Forces Base Comox, in British Columbia on 17 Sept 2020  (Photo © Garry Walker)

Specifically designed to perform search and rescue missions across Canada, the Airbus CC-295 aircraft is equipped with integrated sensors that will allow crews to locate persons or objects from more than 40 kilometers away, even in low-light conditions. Its communications systems will increase interoperability with other search and rescue assets, such as the CH-149 Cormorant. The fleet of 16 aircraft will be replacing the CC-115 Buffalo and CC-130H Hercules fleets in their search and rescue role at four locations across Canada, and represents a value of $2.4 billion.

The aircraft received earlier this month will remain at 19 Wing Comox while the RCAF completes aircrew training, followed by operational testing. During the transition period and while the CC-295 Kingfisher is being operationalized, fixed-wing search and rescue services will continue through existing fleets, along with the CH-149 Cormorant and CH-146 Griffon helicopters.

The delivery of this aircraft marks an exciting new chapter in Canada’s long and proud search and rescue history, and this project has created hundreds of new jobs for Canadians. The CC-295 contractor, Airbus Defence and Space, continues to make investments into the Canadian aerospace and defence industry through the Industrial and Technological Benefits Policy. Strategic work packages directly related to the aircraft continue to provide Canadian companies with opportunities to participate in global supply chains and create high-value jobs.

This first aircraft, tail number 501, was formally accepted by Canada in Spain on 8 December 2019, and was delivered to Comox following additional testing and evaluations.

The maintenance trainer aircraft shown above arrived at 19 Wing Comox, B.C. in February 2020. This aircraft was disassembled upon arrival, and reassembled inside the new training centre (Photo: Airbus Defence & Space).

The CC-295 Kingfisher will be based across southern Canada in Comox, Winnipeg, Trenton, and Greenwood. The aircraft will arrive in phases as crews are trained in turn at each location.

Part of this project includes the construction of a new training centre that is being built in Comox by Canadian training leader CAE. Due to be inaugurated later this year, the centre will be used to train both maintainers and aircrews. The design include ten classrooms and sophisticated training devices such as a full-flight simulator, a cockpit procedures trainer, a sensor station simulator, and an aircraft maintenance trainer. CAE is responsible for providing the complete aircrew and maintenance training solution that will populate the new fixed-wing search and rescue training centre.

Canadian company AirPro will provide day-to-day management of all in-service support for the provision of engineering, logistics, maintenance, training, IT systems, infrastructure and materiel support throughout the contracted CC-295 life cycle.

Canada’s Industrial and Technological Benefits (ITB) Policy applies to this contract, ensuring that Airbus Defence and Space invests an amount equal to the value of the contract in the Canadian economy. Significant high-value jobs have been and will continue to be generated from this contract with Canadian companies such as PAL Aerospace, Pratt and Whitney Canada, CAE, and AirPro.

Marking the arrival of the first Fixed Wing Search and Rescue C295 at the Canadian Forces Base Comox, Airbus Defence and Space Chief Executive Officer, Dirk Hoke commended (by video statement) the "excellent collaboration with Canadian officials" that allowed the company to overcome COVID-related challenges to deliver the aircraft. "Despite the current pandemic, we are confident of achieving the program target of six deliveries by the end of this year. We look forward to our continued collaboration and to the C295 Canada.”

Meggitt Training Systems wins Middle East contract
Posted on May 2, 2020

Quebec-based Meggitt Training Systems has been awarded a $78 million contract to design and equip a sophisticated, multi-mission, indoor and outdoor training facility in a Middle Eastern country incorporating the latest virtual and live-fire equipment.

“As the global leader in virtual and live-fire small-arms training, Meggitt Training Systems is ideally suited to deliver this program for the benefit of our Middle Eastern customer and its forces,” said company president Jeff Murphy. “We are committed to delivering a world-class training experience across multiple domains and lifelike settings through the best solutions from Meggitt and our subcontractor partners.”

The training facility will include multiple indoor and outdoor shooting ranges, combat training centers, virtual simulators and physical mockups.

“Meggitt Training Systems is honored to be chosen to lead development of this crucial national training asset,” added Andrea Czop, vice president of strategy, sales and marketing. “This win validates our strategy of pairing our live-fire and virtual portfolio of products with a global presence supporting our customers in the Middle East and elsewhere. Meggitt’s enduring success in small-arms training is built on this unique combination of customer knowledge and expertise derived from decades of employee subject matter experts in military and law enforcement experience.”

The training facilities will include a mix of Meggitt’s Stationary Infantry Targets, Moving Infantry Targets, LOMAH (location of miss and hit) systems, Range Control Systems, Special Effects Battlefield Simulators, Training Information Management Systems, plus a variety of virtual reality special warfare simulators, overhead carriers, ballistic walls and bullet traps.

As the prime technology contractor, Meggitt will also assume responsibility for the integration of all training equipment from other suppliers.

Canadian Coast Guard uniform contact awarded
Posted on Mar 12, 2020

Public Services and Procurement Canada (PSPC) has awarded a long-term Managed Clothing Solution Contract (MCSC) to Unisync Group Limited (UGL), for the provision of uniforms and related accessories to the Canadian Coast Guard. This contract also includes management services including but not limited to uniform design, manufacturing, inventory management and warehousing, ordering, distribution and on-line web-based ordering and program data management services.

Initially estimated at $1.6 million per annum, the MCSC is for an initial term of three years with two two-year extension options.

The Canadian Coast Guard (CCG) helps ensure the security and prosperity of Canada through essential services to the marine community. Such services include waterways management, aids to navigation, search and rescue, environmental response, icebreaking (escort and flood control) and marine communications and traffic services. The CCG plays an important role in maritime security and provides and operates the federal government’s civilian fleet.

A Special Operating Agency under the umbrella of Fisheries and Oceans Canada, the Canadian Coast Guard is a significant symbol of Canadian Sovereignty, especially in remote northern areas. The CCG carries out its responsibilities with a workforce of approximately 6,000 employees, including approximately 3,500 uniformed personnel who provide services at approximately 107 staffed shoreside locations, aboard 118 ships and 4 Air Cushion Vehicles, numerous smaller vessels and 22 Helicopters.

Unisync Group​ is a  North American enterprise with exceptional capabilities in garment design, domestic manufacturing, and off-shore outsourcing, including state-of-the-art web based B2B ordering, distribution, and program management systems. Unisync operates through two business units: UGL and Peerless Garments LP (“Peerless”).

Unisync Group​ provides full-service, managed apparel programs for major corporations and government-related entities through operations across Canada  from its head office in Mississauga, and has recently expanded into the US marketplace through the establishment of a 45,000 sq. ft. distribution and service facility in Henderson, Nevada, and a sales and service facility in Lakewood, New Jersey. The Nevada facility is now staffed and distributing new uniforms for the launch of its first major US based airline account which is currently rolling out its new designs to employees. UGL’s customer base includes a broad list of North American iconic brands as well as municipal and provincial agencies across Canada.             

Winnipeg based Peerless specializes in the manufacturing and distribution of highly technical protective garments, military operational clothing, and accessories for a broad spectrum of Federal, Provincial and Municipal government agencies in Canada.

First RCAF C295 shows off final livery
Posted on Oct 8, 2019

Le français ci-dessous

The first Airbus C295, purchased by the Government of Canada for the Royal Canadian Air Force’s (RCAF) Fixed Wing Search and Rescue Aircraft Replacement (FWSAR) programme, rolled out of the Airbus facility paint shop in Seville, Spain, today. The aircraft will now go through the final preparation phase before its delivery to the customer, planned to take place in Spain before the end of the year.

The photo above shows the first Canadian C295, to be designated CC-295 by the RCAF, in its distinctive Search and Rescue colours.
Following the tradition defined in the 1970s for Search and Rescue aircraft, the aircraft adopts the high visibility yellow paint scheme for those in the air and on the ground. This is especially important in stormy conditions when visibility is typically compromised.

After more than a decade of stagnated efforts, progress has been swift since the final iteration of the requirements was released. The contract, awarded to Airbus in December 2016 by the Government of Canada, includes not only the 16 C295 aircraft, but also all In-Service Support elements, including: training and engineering services; the construction of a new Training Centre in Comox, British Columbia; and maintenance and support services.
The aircraft will be based where search and rescue squadrons are currently located: Comox, British Columbia; Winnipeg, Manitoba; Trenton, Ontario; and Greenwood, Nova Scotia.

According to Airbus, the first aircraft is due to be delivered in Spain in the coming months; another six aircraft are either completing flight tests or in various stages of final assembly; and seven simulators and training devices are starting up preliminary acceptance tests.
RCAF crews started training a few months ago at Airbus’ International Training Centre in Seville, Spain.

La livrée finale du premier C295 de l’Aviation royale canadienne dévoilée

Le premier Airbus C295, commandé par le gouvernement du Canada pour le programme d’aéronefs de recherche et sauvetage à voilure fixe (ARSVF) de l’Aviation royale canadienne (ARC), est sorti de l’atelier de peinture du site d’Airbus à Séville, en Espagne, où sa livrée finale a été dévoilée. L’avion entrera dans la phase de préparation finale en vue de sa livraison au client prévue avant la fin de l’année, en Espagne.

La photo ci-dessus nous montre le premier C295 canadien peint dans les couleurs distinctives de recherche et de sauvetage, qui sera désigné comme le CC-295 par l’ARC. 

L’appareil adopte le schème de peinture jaune suivant la tradition établie dans les années 1970 pour les appareils de recherche et de sauvetage, offrant ainsi une grande visibilité aux avions dans les airs et au sol.
Le contrat, attribué en décembre 2016, porte sur 16 avions C295 et sur tous les éléments de soutien en service, notamment des services de formation et d’ingénierie, la construction d’un nouveau centre de formation à Comox, en Colombie-Britannique, ainsi que des services de maintenance et de soutien.

Les avions seront basés aux mêmes endroits où se trouvent actuellement les escadrons de recherche et sauvetage, soit à Comox, en Colombie-Britannique, à Winnipeg, au Manitoba, à Trenton, en Ontario, et à Greenwood, en Nouvelle-Écosse.
Depuis son annonce il y a deux ans et demi, le programme ARSFV a connu des progrès considérables : outre le premier avion qui sera livré prochainement en Espagne; 6 autres avions sont en train de compléter leurs essais en vol ou sont à différentes étapes de leur assemblage final; puis sept simulateurs et appareils d’entraînement débutent des tests de validation préliminaires.
Le premier équipage du programme ARSFV a commencé son entraînement à la fin de l’été 2019 au Centre international d'entraînement d'Airbus à Séville, en Espagne.

Gov't awards contracts for SAR illumination flares
Posted on Mar 18, 2019

Last Friday, the Honourable Carla Qualtrough, Minister of Public Services and Procurement Canada, announced three contracts totalling $48 million awarded to Magellan Aerospace Corporation, based in Winnipeg, Manitoba, for LUU-2 illumination flares.

“These contracts provide the highly trained members of the Royal Canadian Air Force with the equipment they need to respond quickly and safely in potentially life-saving, night-time search and rescue operations and help bring Canadians home," Minister Qualtrough said. "This critical procurement is another example of how our government is building a more agile and better-equipped military, while creating jobs and economic growth in Canada.”

Critical to operations, these flares will be used by the Royal Canadian Air Force to illuminate the sky during night-time search and rescue operations. The flares descend from aircraft by parachute and produce 1.8-million candlepower of light for a five-minute period. 

“Search and rescue services are incredibly important to Canadians, and a core mission of our Canadian Armed Forces," said Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan. "The Canadian Armed Forces flies approximately 1,000 search and rescue missions each year, and it is critical that we provide our women and men in uniform with the equipment they need to provide this life-saving service to Canadians. These contracts will ensure the Royal Canadian Air Force is well equipped and able to succeed day or night.”

The three contracts provide a combined 10,000 units of the illumination flares over a five-year period, as well as non-recurring expenses related to manufacturing.

Alongside the Canadian Coast Guard, the Canadian Armed Forces responds to more than 9,000 search and rescue calls annually, approximately 1,000 of which result in the launching of search and rescue air assets.

Magellan Aerospace Corporation has 585 employees in Winnipeg, and these contracts will create or sustain approximately 20 jobs.

Hexagon and Frequentis partner on Integrated Control Rooms
Posted on Mar 6, 2019

Technology and Innovation

After two decades of informal collaboration, two industry leaders have now formally partnered to deliver an integrated solution for public safety control rooms in the UK.

The partnership between Hexagon and Frequentis allows emergency services to deploy a proven, best-of-breed solution at the heart of their critical control room ecosystem, which promotes innovation and constant evolution, while avoiding supplier lock-in.

More than 30 public safety agencies in the UK and Europe already use Frequentis control room communication solutions with Hexagon’s computer-aided dispatch (CAD) system, and North America is taking notice.

Control room demo setup.

The challenges of keeping society safe have never been more visible – or felt more acutely – than in the critical control room environment. The new control room solution features superior integration by design coupled with unsurpassed industry experience.

Operational staff demand timely actionable information and insight to make the right decisions and deliver the right response yet multiple data sources, while offering opportunity and insight, risk confusion and unmanageable complexity. The quicker a situation can be visualized, the faster it can be acted upon. It is the overwhelming ambition of the Chief Information Officer to deliver this situational awareness.
Frequentis is a specialist in safety-critical communication and information solutions with more than seventy years of cross-industry experience in civil aviation, defence, public safety, maritime and public transportation markets. It is now the market leader in the provision of UK Public Safety control room communication solutions for First Contact and Despatch.
“We are pleased to partner with Hexagon to combine our expertise and experience in the market and deliver safety-critical control room solutions that put the operator back in control, enabling enhanced situational awareness and a faster emergency response,” said Andy Madge, Frequentis UK Managing Director. “We intend to provide the best information available to those who make the key decisions in critical scenarios. Our Emergency Services can then deliver an effective service to the public.”
Hexagon is the world leader in the supply of incident management solutions and is unique in the UK in providing these to customers across all three emergency services as well as roadside rescue. Its broader portfolio: notably asset management, mobility, analytics, major event planning and crisis management underpins Safe City initiatives around the world.
“Suppliers must offer open solutions possessing superior integration characteristics while focussing on their core competencies,” said Pete Prater, Managing Director of Hexagon Safety & Infrastructure in the UK.  “The best way to support the ambition of the emergency services is to recognize that an ecosystem of suppliers – offering a combination of superior components – is the key to critical ICT provisioning.  The latest integrated solution from Frequentis and Hexagon delivers on this ambition.”

Control room demo setup.

PAL Aerospace extends search capabilities
Posted on Feb 21, 2019

– St. John’s, Newfoundland, Canada

Canada's PAL Aerospace has confirmed its collaboration with Australia’s Sentient Vision to offer customers the revolutionary Visual Detection and Ranging (ViDAR) optical radar. Under this agreement, PAL will operate a specially configured ViDAR array within the AIMS mission system currently provided through its subsidiary, CarteNav.

Based in Newfoundland, PAL Aerospace is a world leader in aircraft special mission operations, having accumulated more than 250,000 flying hours of experience across 35 years of surveillance operations in fisheries monitoring, defence and security operations, search and rescue, pollution detection, drug interdiction and environmental and ice management.

“PAL Aerospace believes the incorporation of this world leading optical search system is a meaningful complement to the capacity of our recently launched Force Multiplier special missions’ aircraft,” said PAL CEO Brian Chafe. “PAL is committed to providing flexible solutions that meet the needs of our customers and adding ViDAR’s unique capabilities enhances that capability.”

ViDAR is a wide area optical search system capable of operation unaffected by environmental obstacles, such as whitecaps, which detrimentally affect traditional technologies. The system is unique in its ability to detect objects as small as fishing buoys and people in the water over significant areas, allowing aircraft operators to map vast swaths of the ocean in real time. ViDAR autonomously locates objects on the surface of the water, transmits a thumbnail and location coordinate back to the AIMS mission system and prompts the operator to investigate further.

Both ViDAR and AIMS have extensive records of accomplishment and are in operation on multiple continents across multiple environments in both military and civilian application.

Sentient will work with PAL on the integration of ViDAR into the AIMS mission system. “Blending these leading edge technologies into a combined offering marks a significant step forward in providing a game changing ocean surface search solution to customers. Whether it is search and rescue, fisheries surveillance, counter narcotics or border protection, ViDAR provides an optimal solution to address these complex mission requirements,” said Simon Olsen, Sentient’s Director of Business Development, Strategy and Partnerships.

PAL Aerospace COO Jake Trainor confirms that PAL has worked with Sentient for many years, originally on the implementation of the Kestrel Moving Target Indicator (MTI) feature into AIMS, and most recently on integrating ViDAR. “AIMS provides an intuitive interface from which operators can take advantage of the capabilities of the ViDAR persistent wide-area maritime search,” he said.

Sentient Vision Systems develops and deploys computer vision solutions for defense and civil applications. The company specializes in video analytics with a primary focus on the development of automated detection software for full motion video. With more than 1,700 systems deployed, Sentient’s solutions enhance the performance of EO/IR operations for many agencies and forces worldwide.

With its focus on intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) solutions, PAL Aerospace has been recognized by governments and militaries for reliability and on-time/on-budget delivery. This track record of success has led to on-going operations around the world, and PAL’s collaboration with Sentient confirms its commitment to collaboration and long-term growth in the Australian market.