Friday, October 30, 2015

Liberal Defence Plan: Lose/Move 1,000 NDQH "Managers"

Liberal MP Andrew Leslie (right) produced a study suggesting National Defence headquarters was top-heavy. He advised Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau (left) on defence matters.
Liberal MP Andrew Leslie (right) produced a study suggesting National Defence headquarters was top-heavy. He advised Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau (left) on defence matters. Photo: Canadian Press
Article by David Pugliese, Ottawa Citizen 
The Department of National Defence wants to eliminate the positions of around 1,100 managers in the Ottawa area as it tries to create what it calls a “lean headquarters.”

The initiative, based on recommendations from former Lt.-Gen. Andrew Leslie, now the Liberal MP for Orléans, is expected to take several years.

The managers in question, both public servants and those in uniform, aren’t expected to lose their jobs. Instead, they would be moved to front-line positions or employment in priority areas.

DND estimates it has 5,200 “managers” as part of its headquarters in the National Capital Region. Under the plan, that number would drop to 4,087.

DND spokesman Dan Le Bouthillier said that for the purposes of the initiative, the term “manager” was used in its most generic sense. It refers to any manager, military or civilian, at any level who supervises the work of subordinate staff, even a single person.

The “lean headquarters” initiative originally talked about reducing the managers starting in 2014, with the process ending in Spring of 2016. But no reductions have been made yet.

“No changes to personnel have been implemented from the Lean HQ initiative to date, as we are still completing the analysis phase of this initiative,” said Le Bouthillier.

A consulting firm is currently analyzing three headquarters-based groups as part of a pilot study for the initiative. It is unclear when decisions on the employee moves would be made.

But Le Bouthillier said the initiative is complex and is expected to take several years.

A 2011 report by Leslie found that the size of the military and DND had gone from 112,377 in 2004 to 132,870 in 2010. Most of the growth was in headquarters jobs.

Leslie also outlined how DND’s presence in the National Capital Region jumped from 13,199 in 2004 to 18,168 in 2010. That was a 38-per-cent increase, with most of that going to headquarters positions. Leslie went on to become an adviser to Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau.

Trudeau has said that his government will move ahead with the recommendations from Leslie’s report so the military will have “more teeth and less tail.”

“We will reduce the size of administration within the Department of National Defence and the Canadian Armed Forces,” notes the Liberals’ defence platform, released during the election.

DND launched its defence renewal process in the fall of 2013 as it followed up on some of Leslie’s recommendations.

“By rationalizing the number of managers at headquarters and modernizing management practices National Defence will become leaner, with fewer layers and bureaucratic blockages, the decision making process will be expedited and staff will be more empowered to accomplish their assigned tasks,” the department’s defence renewal plan says.

The employees affected by the renewal efforts would be moved to priority initiatives and new military capabilities. For instance, the department and military is interested in expanding its capabilities in cyber security and space operations.

In an October 2011 appearance before the Senate defence committee, Leslie, by then retired, explained the importance of reducing headquarters overhead.

“Just under 20,000 people are paid by DND in the National Capital Region,” he said. “The size of the Royal Canadian Navy is under 20,000. We have more people in Ottawa doing headquarters and headquarters-like activity than we have in the entire Royal Canadian Navy.”

He noted that the navy was short about 1,000 sailors. “We know where they are; they are here in Ottawa,” Leslie said. “They are working in staff jobs.”

The renewal initiative has caused unease among the department’s main union.

John MacLennan, national president of the Union of National Defence Employees, has pointed out that more than 1,000 civilian jobs have been eliminated so far because of cuts ordered by the Conservative government.

In 2012, Prime Minister Stephen Harper told then-defence minister Peter MacKay to further reduce overhead in the department and the Canadian Forces, while not affecting military readiness.

But union officials pointed out that many of the jobs that were cut were jobs needed to support military operations. They included firing range safety officers, defence scientists, weapons specialists, radiation safety advisers. In addition, jobs held by lower-paid workers such as clerks, cleaners and kitchen staff were also eliminated.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Dassault Aviation Congratulates Trudeau and Pitches Rafale

In the days following the 2015 Federal Election, and the election of a Majority Liberal Government, there were congratulations pouring in from around the world for Prime Minister-Elect Justin Trudeau.

One of those letters came from the Chairman of Dassault Aviation, Eric Trappier who in his congratulations letter pitched the Rafael fighter jet as a potential replacement to Canada's aging fleet of CF-18s. While it is considered by many highly unlikely that Canada will buy a non-America fighter jet - many see the Dassault Rafael as a contender. Many, including me, see a built in Canada Rafael as the ideal replacement. It is cheaper than the F-35, combat proven, and has a dual-engine; something that is essential when operating in remote locations like Canada's arctic region.

While the Rafael is a little more expensive than purchasing new(er) F/A-18 Super Hornets from Boeing, the Rafael is a new aircraft, and Boeing will only pitch the F/A-18 to keep its assembly line open. If the assembly line is closing, that should be an indication that the aircraft is out of date.

Dassault has already agreed to export the Rafael to Egypt, Qatar (sale not final), and India (sale not final). They are hopeful that next year they will also sell to Belgium, Switzerland, and the United Arab Emirates.

A French Air Force Rafael in action over Libya in 2011. 
When the RAFALE programme was launched, the French Air Force and French Navy published a joint requirement for an omnirole aircraft that would have to replace the seven types of combat aircraft then in operation.

The Rafael aircraft is now able to carry out a very wide range of missions:

- Air-defence / air-superiority;
- Anti-Access/Area Denial;
- Reconnaissance;
- Close air support;
- Dynamic Targeting;
- Air-to-ground precision strike / interdiction;
- Anti-ship attacks;
- Nuclear deterrence;
- buddy-buddy refuelling.

These requirements were taken into account from the start of the RAFALE’s development, leading engineers to invent an aircraft which goes beyond the needs of each type of mission.

Versatile and best in all categories of missions, the RAFALE is a true “Force Multiplier”.

The RAFALE has exhibited a remarkable survivability rate during the latest French Air Force and Navy operations, thanks to an optimized airframe and to a wide range of smart and discrete sensors. It is slated to be the French armed forces prime combat aircraft until 2040 at least.  That would give Canada at least 20 years of a combat ready aircraft - and it will be capable to fly well past that date. 

Thanks to its outstanding reliability, the RAFALE has lower maintenance costs. Its unique maintenance concept results in a lighter scheduled maintenance plan with less man-hours and a smaller number of maintenance technicians.

For all its service life, the RAFALE does not have to leave its operational base for maintenance purposes. It does away with costly and time-consuming airframe and engine depot level inspections required on other types of fighter aircraft, with “shop replaceable units” (SRUs) the only items to be shipped for maintenance / repair.

Here is the original article about Dassault's pitch to Trudeau.

Below Written by Pierre Tran of 

PARIS — Dassault Aviation Chairman Eric Trappier said Thursday he had written a letter of congratulations to Justin Trudeau, the newly elected Canadian prime minister, and pitched an offer of the Rafale fighter if Ottawa pulled out of the US F-35 program.

“We have to wait and see what he decides now he is in office,” Trappier told the association of aerospace journalists. “I wrote a letter to congratulate him and to remind him that if the F-35 were canceled, the Rafale would be potentially proposed." The letter was sent in the last two days.

Dassault sees India as the next export client for the Rafale, he said.

We’re on the right track, discussions are going well,” he said.

The French aircraft builder hopes a deal for 36 Rafales will be sealed with India by the end of the calendar rather than the financial year.

“We’re coming fast to the end of the calendar year but I remain hopeful for the end of the calendar year,” he said. “But I am a major optimist.”

Negotiations have moved relatively swiftly on a government-to-government level, and there is agreement on an industrial offset with local Indian partners to comply with the Make in India drive. Under the proposed deal, Dassault would be free to choose the local partner rather than accept the government’s pick, although New Delhi will likely ask for its right to approve the selection, he said.

Dassault could also set up joint ventures in India, which could help the Rafale gain additional orders, as the Indian Air Force is keen to acquire 126 aircraft rather than settle for 36. Russia is also active in the Indian market.

Qatar, which in May signed an order for 24 Rafales, has still not paid a deposit for the €6.3 billion (US $7 billion) deal but the payment is in the process of being made, he said.

Dassault does not expect any “specific announcements” at the upcoming Dubai Air Show, he said. Dassault has sold Mirages in the Arabian Gulf, an important region for fighter sales, and hopes to sell twin-engined Rafales as a replacement.

Talks are continuing with the United Arab Emirates, which is engaged in combat in Yemen, with the UAE Mirages being flown in that conflict, he said. Dassault is getting close to local industry to help provide support. Egypt and Qatar are the two foreign clients of the Rafale, and the order from Cairo surprised Dassault as the first customer.

Belgium and Switzerland are among long-term prospects, he said. Dassault opened a Belgian office last year and is seeking local partners for an expected fighter competition for when Belgium replaces the F-16.

Switzerland, which canceled a pick of the Saab Gripen, still must eventually replace its F-5s and also the F-18. The family-controlled aircraft builder sees the multirole Rafale as fitting the requirements for replacing two types of aircraft.

Dassault expects a “snowball effect” in foreign orders and the company hopes to sign more deals in coming months. But it looked less likely a fourth client would sign this year, he said.

The company, in anticipation of further export sales, has agreed with Tier 2 subcontractors to increase output by the end of 2018 to deliver three aircraft per month from the present one per month, with the line closed for the month of August for an annual holiday.

“We’re taking a risk, a measured risk,” he said. If there were a lack of foreign orders, then production will return to the current production rate.

A speeded up dispatch of the first six Rafales for Egypt came out of the slots intended for the French Air Force, which is keen to see a return of delivery as the service is forming a second nuclear squadron, as confirmed in the revised multiyear budget law, he said.

Malaysia is another export prospect, Trappier told Defense New. Low oil prices weakens the budget for Kuala Lumpur, but “it will be a political decision.”

On the proposed European medium-altitude, long-endurance (MALE) drone, Dassault would accept an appointment of Airbus as prime contractor.

“It could be Airbus, there’s no problem for us,” he said.

A key factor in the project is the mission payload with electro-optics, radar, and datalink, he said. Thales is a key supplier of these systems.

Spain and Poland have shown interest.

Laurent Collet-Billon, head of procurement office Direction Générale de l’Armement, told the defense committee of the National Assembly lower house Oct. 7 that Germany will hold just over 30 percent of the European MALE UAV project, with France, Italy and Spain each holding 23 percent. A technical study contract is due to be signed by March.

Airbus, Dassault and Finmeccanica pitched the MALE UAV project to France, Germany and Italy, and French Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian has backed the plan.

Le Drian “more than helped” on the Rafale exports, Trappier said. There were geopolitics, a fading US influence in the gulf, direct and indirect support from the French armed forces, and the president's influence. A 20-25 percent fall in the euro/dollar exchange rate also helped.

“There is the minister who works the relations, on which Jean-Yves Le Drian served well,” he said. Once the French companies saw the close bilateral ties, they could focus the sales effort.

“The minister does not interfere in the sale, he leaves that to us. That’s fundamental,” he said.

Dassault is happy to see Thales improve its profitability and welcomed the acquisition of a US cybersecurity firm, a key area for the defense electronics company, he said.

“Thales is a company that we follow with close attention, and in which we will stay for a long time," he said. Dassault is the industrial shareholder in Thales and is pleased with its investment in a high-technology company with a large international reach.

On Wednesday, Thales reported a 74 percent rise in orders in the July-to-September quarter, with the defense and security orders jumping 43 percent. The third quarter sales were stable at €2.79 billion compared with €2.72 billion a year ago.

Project Resolve: RCN will have option to purchase iAOR

The Asterix is now in the Levis, Quebec shipyard, and has started its 17-month long conversion from a 1,700 TEU Boxship into an Auxiliary Oil Replenishment (AOR) vessel which will be leased to the Royal Canadian Navy from 2017-2021.

While an official contract between the Federal Government and Davie Shipbuilding has yet to be signed. Currently the Government is in Caretaker Mode after the Election; which will last until at least November 4, 2015; and therefore cannot officially proceed. Davie announced earlier this week that the Asterix (currentley being labled by some as the Resolve-Class) interim AOR (iAOR) will be made available to the RCN until both Queenston-Class AORs are operational; which is currently estimated at some point in 2021.

Following the five year lease to the RCN, Davie announced that it will the offer to sell the vessel to the Navy. Davie also offered to convert a second Boxship into an iAOR for the Navy, and have it operational by late 2018, according to the Navy - they are not interested in a second iAOR (despite the 50% reduced cost associated with the iAORs compared to the AORs)

For now, we wait until the new Government is formed. Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister-Elect will announce his cabinet on November 4, 2015 - and from there everything could change. Perhaps the Navy will consider a second iAOR, and save on leasing a Spanish or Chilean AOR during the 2017 calendar year. Currently a Spanish AOR will serve on the East Coast at some point in 2016 with the RCN.

Monday, October 26, 2015

Possible FWSAR Training Center at CFB Comox

Industry insiders have informed the Ottawa Citizen's Defence Watch, that both Alenia Aermacchi and Airbus; who are the two firms that are expected to directly compete for the CAF's FWSAR replacement of the Buffalo Aircraft, are leaning towards establishing a FWSAR Training Center at 19 Wing Comox as part of their bidding process. Bids are due by January 2016 (in the latest attempt to purchase a replacement for the CC-115 Buffalo FWSAR that are nearing 50 years of age.) A replacement for the aircraft was due in 2009 - but the project has been shelved and delayed several times already.

Below is the Original Article published by David Pugliese. 

Representatives of Team Spartan, including Alenia Aermacchi director Roberto Leva and Ian McIntyre, training solutions specialist for DRS Technologies, recently announced the team’s plans to establish a FWSAR training centre at 19 Wing Comox as part of its bid for the Fixed Wing Search and Rescue project.

The team is offering the C-27J Spartan for the RCAF’s fixed wing search and rescue project. Bids are to be submitted by January.
An industry mock-up for the C-27J Spartan in CAF SAR colors 

Team Spartan noted that the request for proposals pointed out that any of the CF bases used for fixed wing search and rescue could house the operational training unit. Team Spartan is still flexible – if need be -on where the training centre could go but it has been working towards the approach that it will be established at 19 Wing Comox.

Airbus Defence, which is offering Canada the C-295 for FWSAR, is also leaning in that direction.
An industry mock-up for the C-295 in CAF SAR colors 
“We’ve not finalized that element of our bid yet, but Comox is currently the preferred location,” spokesman Michael Powell told Defence Watch.

HMCS Chicoutimi, HMCS Vancouver and HMCS Calgary Part of TGEX

In the waters of Southern California, the Royal Canadian Navy has three active vessels partaking in the US Navy's Task Group Exercise.

Victoria-Class Submarine HMCS Chicoutimi; and Halifax-Class HMCS Vancouver, and HMCS Calgary  are all taking part.  The exercise started on October 20, 2015.

The CAF is limited in what it can say about this exercise because it still considers itself in the “election/writ period” until a new government is sworn in on Nov. 4, according to military and DND officials. (This policy is designed so that statements from federal departments or organizations don’t influence the outcome of the Oct. 19 federal election. Canadian military and DND officials were at a loss to explain how this exercise would affect an election that has already happened).

Therefore, US Navy released this statement from RCN Cmdr. Julian Elbourne, commanding officer of Calgary:

“The Royal Canadian Navy frequently participates in training exercises such as this with the U.S. in order to provide mutually beneficial realistic and relevant training which is necessary for the proper integration of units from various nations to work as a cohesive task group.” \

U.S. Navy participation includes Commander, Expeditionary Strike Group (ESG) 3, Commander, Amphibious Squadron (CPR) 1, amphibious assault ship USS Boxer (LHD 4), amphibious transport dock ship USS New Orleans (LPD 18), and dock landing ship USS Harpers Ferry (LSD 49).

“We are excited to have the opportunity to work with the Royal Canadian Navy,” Capt. Keith Moore, CPR 1, currently embarked on Boxer, said in a statement. “Operating with our [Canadian] counterparts during this exercise will facilitate a quicker and smoother integration into the coalition environment during our upcoming deployment.”
HMCS Chicoutimi docked, during part of TGEX-2015. Photo: 
The U.S. 3rd Fleet exercise serves to train units in amphibious warfare, air defense, anti-submarine warfare, surface warfare, and maritime interdiction operations, while also building a strong working relationship between the maritime forces of the U.S. and Canada.

The U.S. and Canada regularly participate in exercises together, the most recent being Pacific Partnership and Trident Fury.