Saturday, April 11, 2015

CAF Most likely Headed to the Ukraine

While DND has yet to release any official plans, the government has not yet announced an expansion of Op REASSURANCE, CTVNews has learned that the CAF is preparing to send Canadian Troops to the Ukraine in a non-combat role, most likely to work alongside US forces in a training role.

CTVNews' source told CTV that "The government is still working out the details, but a training mission is one of the options on the table."

The Conservative government has been hinting at an expansion of Op REASSURANCE for weeks, even stating that its budget (with Op IMPACT's) will be kept quiet for security reasons. Canada is planning this mission to keep up its strong Anti-Putin stance and to help shore up the Ukrainian government.

Canada's Op REASSURANCE is currently comprised of:

Air Task Force:

  • 4 CF-18 Hornet fighter jets, with Military personnel and support staff, deployed from January to April 2015 to Eastern Europe to maintain a Canadian presence among our NATO Allies.
NATO Baltic Air Policing 
  • Stationed in Siauliai, Lithuania, 4 CF-18 Honet's along with 135 personnel and support staff were deployed from September to December 2014. 
  • Part of NATO's peacetime role - to preserve integrity of European Airspace from Air attacks. This is provided for nations not having full range air defence assets of their own ( Albania, Luxembourg, Iceland, Slovenia, Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia)
Air Task Force Romania 
  • Stationed in Campia Turzii, Romania from May to August 2014 - 6 CF-18 Hornet's and approximately 200 personnel and support staff. 
Maritime Task Force: 
  • Task Force HMCS Fredericton - Currently Deployed 
  • Task Force HMCS Toronto - Deployed from July 2014 to January 2015 
  • Task Force HMCS Regina - Deployed from January 2014 to August 2014
Land Task Force: 
Officially Deployed from May to December 2014 - however CAF personnel are deployed in the region under other* operations.
  • Exercise ORZEL ALERT - Western Poland - 45 CAF Members, May 5-9 2014 
  • Exercise SABRE STRIKE - Baltic States - 120 CAF Members, 9-20 June 2014
  • Exercise PEGASUS KORSARZ - Poland - CAF led exercise, 23-27 June 2014 
  • Exercise GNIEZNO - Poland - CAF led exercise, 2-6 July 2014 
  • Exercise STEADFAST JAVELIN II - Latvia - 100 CAF Members, 2-8 September 2014 
  • Exercise ANAKONDA - Poland 24 September to 3 October 2014 
  • Exercise COMBINED RESOLVE III - Germany - 100 CAF Members, 16 September to 12 November 2014 
  • Exercise IRON SWORD - Lithuania - 10 CAF Members  13-15 October and 2-14 November 2014
  • Exercise FALCON - Poland 21-26 November 2014 
  • Winter Warfare Training - Lithuania - 3rd RCR 8-12 December 2014 
  • *Exercise ALLIED SPIRIT I - Germany 45 CAF Members 16-28 January 2015

Canada in Iraq: Two CF-18s Conduct airstrike

On April 9, 2015, RCAF announced that two CF-18's conducted an airstrike against ISIS fighting positions near Sinjar, Iraq. No other details were released.

Friday, April 10, 2015

443 Maritime Sqn Opens new Hanger without Helicopters

DND held a ceremony yesterday for a ribbon cutting and naming of the new 443 Maritime Helicopter Squadron's hanger facility at the Victoria International Airport. The new facility was built to house the new Cyclone Helicopters, but none have been delivered yet.

At a cost of $155 million the new facility will allow 443 Sqn to operate the new CH-148 Cyclone's  with the increase in space, technology and additional capabilities. The new facilities are 215,000 square feet. 443 Sqn currently employs more than 200 military personnel and operates between 4-6 Sea King Helicopters.

The RCAF expects delivery of its first CH-148's to begin in the summer of 2015, according to Defence Watch

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Canada in Syria: CF-18's Conduct First Strike in Syria

DND today informed Canadians that two RCAF CF-18's conducted their first air strikes against ISIS in Syria.

Two CF-18's  used precision-guided munitions to strike an ISIS garrison near Ar Raqqah, Syria. Following the strike, the CF-18s returned safely to their base in Kuwait.

A total of 10 coalition aircraft, including 6 from the US were involved in today's strikes.

DND also released that while this was the first air strike - it was not the first air sortie. Three previous sorties have been flown over Syria.

Lockheed Martin Canada given Arctic Patrol Ship Contract

Lockheed Martin Canada announced earlier today that it has been awarded the subcontract by Irving Shipbuilding Inc. as the command and surveillance integrator of the Royal Canadian Navy's new class of Arctic/Offshore Patrol Ships (AOPS)

Lockheed Martin Canada is now one of the main AOPS Tier 1 supplier for delivering the Irving Shipbuilding Inc. AOPS. With a contract valued at more than $170 million, Lockheed Martin Canada is now responsible for key integration of data and information sources to increase the ships situations awareness, provide better command an control support.

National Sentry Program Begins in Ottawa April 9

DND is inviting Media and the public to attend the opening of the National Sentry Program for the 2015 season, which will run from April 9 to November 10, 2015. (November 11th will be covered by Remembrance Day Ceremonies - Just in case you were wondering!)

Sentries will be a rotation of Royal Canadian Navy, Royal Canadian Air Force and the Canadian Army. They reinforce public awareness that the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier is treated with respect and Dignity.

This year will also be a sad reminder of the attacks that took place on October 22, 2014. The Ottawa Police have agreed to provide security for the ceremonial guard throughout the season.

Event information:

When: April 9 starting at 9 AM
Where: National War Memorial - Corner of Wellington and Elgin in Ottawa
What: The Posting of Sentries for the 2015 Season.

CAF hands over CTF-150 Command

DND announced yesterday that the CAF handed over command of Combined Task Force 150 (CTF-150) to France in a ceremony Manama, Bahrain. This was Canada's second command of one of the Combined Maritime Forces  (CMF); multinational forces that operate in the greater Middle East region.

CTF-150 was part of the deployment under the name OP ARTEMIS, which is the CAF's ongoing contribution to counter-terrorism and maritime security operations. OP ARTEMIS operates across the Red Sea, Gulf of Aden, Arabian Sea, Gulf of Oman, and the Western Indian Ocean. CTF-150 is 1 of 3 CMF multinational naval forces.

Canada commanded CTF-150 from December 4, 2014 to April 6, 2015. The deployment consisted of 24 CAF and DND personnel, stationed mainly in Bahrain. Canada's command was joined by several members of the Australian Defence Forces.

Canada is a long time contributor to CTF-150 - regularly deploying warships and or staff/personnel to the mission since 2001.

To learn more about the mission please click: OP ARTEMIS

Exercise Cutlass Express 2015
A member of the CAF boarding party specialist, deployed to OP ARTEMIS observes Tanzania Maritime Forces practice boarding techniques during Exercise CUTLASS EXPRESS, in January 2015.
 Photo: CF Combat Camera 

Monday, April 6, 2015

CAF's Armoured Patrol Vehicle Delayed

In 2009 the government announced a $1.2 billion program to purchase upwards to 500 new Tactical Armoured Patrol Vehicles (TAPV) for the Canadian Armed Forces. The contract was awarded to Textron, a U.S. based firm, which has since set up offices in Ottawa to help facilitate the purchase.

The CAF was supposed to begin delivery of the Armoured Vehicles in 2014, but testing delays in the vehicles caused an initial delay. Now, a further delay, will add another 15 months to the time table before the CAF begins to take delivery.

The TAPV's are experiencing significant technical problems when it comes to manoeuvrability and handling, which has halted the vehicles testing. That was in August of 2014.

According to information released by the Ottawa Citizen through access to information laws - there are still problems with the vehicles suspension, steering and other items vital to the vehicle.

This is a major problem when the TAPV was purchased to give troops an increase in protection, and a high level of mobility on any battlefield.

The contract allows Canada to decide to purchase an additional 100 TAPV's if we choose. The contract includes building infrastructure for the vehicles, support, and ammunition for its weapons systems.

DND provided no further details, other than the challenges Textron faces redesigning the suspension, and steering of the vehicle so it can provide what is necessary to keep troops safe while keeping a high level of mobility in various environments.

Canada in Iraq: CF-18's Bomb ISIS IED Factory

The RCAF did not take a break over the Easter Weekend in its fight against ISIS. While taking part in a coalition operation with Iraqi forces on the ground, CF-18's successfully targeted an ISIS IED factory near Mosul, Iraq on Saturday. No further details were released by DND.