Friday, April 3, 2015

New CDS Semi-Confirmed

CTV News has reported that the new Chief of Defence Staff will be Lt. Gen. Jonathan Vance, who is a veteran of the War in Afghanistan, where he commanded Canadian troops between 2009 and 2010 before moving to the position of Deputy Commander of the Allied Task Force, Naples Italy. He will replace Gen. Tom Lawson later this fall.

He was later named Commander of the Canadian Joint Operations last September in Canada's fight against ISIS.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Canada in Iraq: RCAF CF-18's Conduct 6 Airstrikes against ISIS


According to the DND Technical Briefing, updating Canada's mission in Iraq and Syria today - RCAF CF-18's have conducted an additional 6 airstrikes in Iraq since the last update.

On March 24, 2015 - Two CF-18's targeted a vehicle born IED, and a Heavy Engineering Equipment being used by ISIS forces.

On March 29, 2015 - CF-18's coordinated two strikes on ISIS weapons cashes near Fallujah, Iraq.

On March 30, 2015 - CF-18's bombed ISIS fighting positions in support of Iraqi ground forces who where under heavy enemy fire. The airstrikes allowed Iraqi's to complete their ground mission.

On March 31, 2015 - CF-18's bombed ISIS fighting positions west of Mosul, Iraq.

To date, 54 airstrikes have been conducted by RCAF CF-18s in Iraq.

The CAF says that it has not yet conducted any sorties over Syria, and are still in the planning stages with Coalition forces.

Kuwait. 9 November 2014 – A Canadian Armed Forces CF-18 fighter jet in Kuwait taxis to takeoff for a morning mission over Iraq during Operation IMPACT. (Photo IS2014-7535-02 by Canadian Forces Combat Camera, DND)
A RCAF CF-18 taxis before take off for a mission above Iraq, as part of Operation IMPACT - November 2014
Photo: CF Combat Camera 


DND revealed yesterday that approximately thirty-five (35) members of the 3rd Battalion of the Royal Canadian Regiment (RCR) based out of Petawawa will be participating in Exercise MOUNTAIN WARRIOR in Trzclaniec, Poland throughout the month of April.

The 3rd RCR is joining in on this exercise with our Polish NATO ally to better develop our mountaineering expertise, says the news release from DND. The exercise will further promote interoperability, collective training and overall operation proficiency.

Exercise MOUNTAIN WARRIOR is a training exercise held every year, hosted by Poland's 25th Air Cavalry Brigade Reconnaissance Company. They regularly operate in the mountain regions, high altitudes and cold weather environments. This training will help prepare Canadian troops for operations in mountainous regions, high altitudes and extreme weather conditions that are usually only found in mountain regions. Each soldier will traverse steep mountain passes while carrying 25kg of cold weather gear and other survival kit.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Canada's Mission Costs Partly Revealed

Following yesterday's announcement that the Conservative Government would classify OP IMPACT and OP REASSURANCE's budget as classified, for the purpose of National Security. This caused both opposition parties to cry foul.

Today, Defence Minister Jason Kenney, announced that Canada's one year extension in Iraq and expansion into Syria will cost tax payers $406 million, and has instructed DND to include the figure in federal budget reports.

But the remaining details for the price of the missions may still be classified - which would be the first time since 1996/97 that such figures have been classified.

OP IMPACT has 600 troops in Kuwait, 6 CF-18s, 1 CC-150 Polaris, and 2 CP-140 Aurora Aircraft.

OP REASSURANCE has seen CF-18s patrol the Baltic's, RCN frigates deployed to the Black Sea and the Mediterranean, as well as several rotations of troops preforming training with Baltic States as well as the Polish Army.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Canada to begin Bombing Campaign in Syria

Yesterday, after several hours of debate in the House of Commons in Ottawa, the Conservative majority voted in favour (142-129) to extend Canada's mission against ISIS for one year (until the end of March 2016) and to expand our aerial campaign into neighbouring Syria.

Much of the debate centred around the international legal issues with conducting bombing in a sovereign country. Canada says it is following the same legal authority the United States is using to bomb ISIS positions in Syria. The opposition NDP, who are against the mission, believe that the campaign will indirectly aid the Syrian dictator in continuing his civil war. The 3rd party Liberals, believe that Canada should be doing more humanitarian aid, and accept another 25,000 refugees. One former Liberal, who was expelled from Caucus late last year, broke ranks with his former party and voted with the Conservatives.

The United Kingdom's Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs praised Canada's actions in the Middle East, and Canada's expansion against ISIS in Syria. He said however, the UK would not be expanding into Syria, as they are conducting the most aerial attacks in Iraq behind the US.

RCAF receives 5th C-17 Globemaster

Yesterday the RCAF accepted delivery of its fifth and final C-17 Globemaster transport aircraft at 8 Wing Trenton.

The acquisition cost of the total project was $415 million. With an initial breakdown in cost per aircraft of between $170 million and $218 million, many people where left wondering why the cost was so high. Both the RCAF and Boeing have refused to comment on the breakdown of the actual costs- saying the total contract was negotiated.

The Conservative government took some flack over the purchase of the fifth C-17 - as its purchase cost was higher than the previous aircraft and higher than several other NATO allies recently received. The increase in cost was attributed to the fact that it was one of the last C-17's Boeing was producing before ending its run.

DND released a little more information yesterday after the C-17 was delivered, saying the final cost included the cost of the aircraft, spare engines, extra equipment, projected costs and the exchange rate fluctuation. An additional $30 million will be spent on service over the next 12 years.

Monday, March 30, 2015

Canada in Syria: Correcting Minister Kenney's Comments

I posted last week - as many other news agencies posted, that the United States had pushed for Canada to join the air campaign in Syria because of our precision-guided munitions that our Arab allies do not have - this is false. Both Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have been deploying precision-guided munitions in Syria against ISIS.

The comments made by Defence Minister Jason Kenney have been shown to be false, and members of DND have no idea why he made them. 

Over the weekend, DND released the following statement, now published on the DND/CF site:

"As stated by the Minister of National Defence, the Royal Canadian Air Force’s precision targeting capabilities make Canada a valuable partner in the fight against ISIL. The weapons that will be employed will be amongst the most advanced precision-guided munitions in the world. These weapons are equipped with laser and GPS guidance systems, giving Canada the ability to strike targets in all types of weather. Currently, only the United States uses these advanced precision-guided munitions in Syria.
Our highly trained pilots can use these advanced precision-guided munitions to strike targets either deliberately, or dynamically. Deliberate targeting occurs where targets are static, while dynamic targets can be identified while flying a mission, and could include, for instance, an ISIL military vehicle or weapon that is moving. This is a significant capability which, currently, only the US employs in Syria.
I applaud the contributions of all our allies in the coalition, and I agree with US Chairman of Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Martin Dempsey’s assertion that our allies operate with skill and precision, and take extensive measures to minimize civilian casualties.
Canadians can be proud of the contribution that their Armed Forces bring to the coalition – both in terms of advanced weaponry, and our expertise deploying it. Our contributions make Canada a highly valued and respected ally in the coalition effort to defeat ISIL."
Statement by:
General Tom Lawson,
Chief of the Defence Staff