Friday, January 22, 2016

CAF Urban Warfare Training in Laval

JAN 22, 2016

Exercise QUORUM NORDIQUE 2016 (Ex QN 16) is urban winter warfare training involving 600 reservists of the Montreal Territorial Battalion Group from January 22 to 24, 2016. The exercise will take place in an urban setting, in Laval, Quebec.

The Montreal Territorial Battalion Group is a team largely made up of reservists from 34 Canadian Brigade Group (34 CBG) units. This multidisciplinary team is responsible for supporting national operations in urban settings for the purpose of territorial defence in the event of a crisis.

Over the weekend, soldiers will practice military manoeuvres and combat procedures related to defence scenarios. Soldiers will have a chance to work as a team with units from Western Quebec. This combined arms training will help the units to enhance their ability to conduct operations. ·

This urban military exercise aims to hone the skills of participating soldiers by exposing them to varying environments and training conditions. These conditions ensure that Army members are flexible and ready for deployment at the request of the Government of Canada.

The reservists take active part in these kinds of activities to prepare for every eventuality. They contribute to Canada’s defence and security and provide vital support for the regular forces.

34 CBG is an army reserve formation of 2nd Canadian Division, headquartered in Montreal, Quebec. The reservists are part-time soldiers from diverse professional and academic backgrounds. Owing to the variety of their experience and skills, they enhance the professionalism and versatility of the Canadian Army. Ex QN 16 provides an additional opportunity to put their know-how to use.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Canada Not Alone in Being Left out of ISIS Meeting

By David Pugliese, Defence Watch 

The hand-wringing among Canadian defence analysts and opposition critics continues over the decision by the U.S. not to invite Canada to a meeting over developing strategy to combat the Islamic State.

The United States, France, Germany, Britain, Italy, Australia and the Netherlands were at the meeting.

Canada wasn’t invited, prompting speculation by quite a number of commentators that this was a sign that Canada no longer mattered because of its plan to withdraw fighter jets from the coalition.

Former Conservative Defence Minister Peter MacKay took that a step further, telling CTV that the lack of invitation represented the view that Canada’s role, not only in the Iraq mission, but in its presence in the entire world, had diminished.

Who else wasn’t invited to the meeting?

Other nations who have taken part in the coalition bombing campaign against ISIL – Belgium, Denmark and Turkey as well as key Middle East allies Jordan, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

Denmark had withdrawn its aircraft last year to give its crews a rest but is putting them back in the war this coming spring.

RCAF & the CH-146 Griffon: Upgrade and Replace

 2015 FrontLine Defence © (Vol 12, No 6)

Back in 1992, the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) bought the Bell CH-146 Griffon helicopter, a version of the Bell 412EP, as a replacement for three earlier Bell platforms – CH-136 Kiowa light observation, CH-118 Iroquois search and rescue (SAR) and CH-135 Twin Huey tactical and utility – as well as, for some operations, early models of the Boeing CH-147 Chinook tandem-rotor heavy lifter.

However, even before the sole-source procurement contract to Bell Helicopter Textron Canada(BHTC) was ­confirmed, there was criticism that it was politically motivated. Moreover, the one-size-fits-all approach meant that the Griffon, fundamentally designed as a light utility helicopter, was compromised from the get-go. Among other things, it was disparaged as “a civilian […] aircraft with a coat of green paint.”

But the government forged ahead, ordering 100. They were delivered between 1995 and 1997 in two configurations: the Combat Support Squadron (CSS) version for SAR work, and the Utility Tactical Transport Helicopter (UTTH). While it can be fitted with 13 seats for a crew of three with 10 passengers, weight ­constraints generally resulted in a combat load of eight troopers or even fewer, depending on the fuel and armaments.

The concern arises when you compare the anticipated delivery timelines specified in the Defence Acquisition Guide. Could the expense be better managed?

The CAF still has 85 Griffons in service and their crews have acquitted themselves well in the couple of decades they have been in service at home (SAR, surveillance and reconnaissance, casualty evacuation, drug interdiction and security) and abroad. They have been central to international humanitarian relief operations in many countries because they easily transportable, rotor blades removed, by the RCAF’s Lockheed Martin CC-130J Hercules or Boeing CC-177 Globemaster IIIs.

The highest-profile overseas deployment, other than on relief missions, was Canada’s participation in the 2001-2014 NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan. The first six arrived aboard a Globemaster at Kandahar Air Field just before Christmas 2008.
SAREX 14 participants work as a team to carry a mock casualty from a CH-146 Griffon helicopter at Wing Goose Bay, Newfoundland and Labrador. (Photo: Cpl Manuela Berger, 4 Wing Imaging)
Griffon crews from tactical helicopter squadron were tested in a broad spectrum of roles duringOperation Athena, including flying in pairs as gunship escorts to Chinook troop transports, providing top cover for ground convoys, and inspecting roadways for improvised explosive devices.

They mostly were flown at altitudes below the surrounding mountains – they simply could not be flown “hot and high” if they were to carry useful loads. Even though the Griffon has a service ceiling of about 6,000 metres, that’s achievable only under ideal conditions. At higher altitudes, the pitch angle of the rotor blades has to be increased, resulting in increased drag which more than offsets any increase in lifting capacity. Its hover ceiling is only 3,109m, again under ideal conditions.

General Rick Hillier, the Chief of the Defence Staff from February 2005 to July 2008, was among those who criticized their deployment to Afghanistan because of the power-deficiency issue. However, Peter MacKay, who held the defence portfolio from 2007 to 2013, defended the Griffon as “a superior helicopter . . . that serves our interests both in Afghanistan and for purposes here in Canada.”

While arguably suited to domestic operations, its shortcomings in Afghanistan were cited at a United Kingdom coroner’s inquest into the death of a British army officer, along with two Canadian troopers, Corporals Pat Audet and Martin Joannette, in a Griffon crash in July 2009. It happened at Forward Operating Base (FOB) Mescall, 1,550 metres above sea level in southern Zabul province. A dense dustball whipped up by the rotor blades on takeoff meant that the command pilot had to rely on instruments. The helicopter drifted sideways, struck the FOB perimeter wall and caught fire after falling about two metres to the ground. Both pilots and a fifth Canadian survived.

A senior officer from the UK Defence Helicopter Flying School at Royal Air Force Base Shawbury testified at the inquest that operating a loaded Griffon at that altitude and in high ambient temperatures meant that it was inappropriate for the mission. The coroner eventually concluded that the command pilot had “suffered a loss of situational awareness during the takeoff due to the rapid and numerous changes in his focus during the 10 seconds prior to impact as he attempted to stabilize the aircraft and climb away.”

In a heavily-redacted report, a CAF Board of Inquiry concluded that the condition of the landing zone and the pilot’s technique were “direct” factors in the crash and that incorrect application of aircraft performance charts and exceeded engine temperature were “indirect” factors. Even though the report also faulted pre-deployment training, the Board concluded that the mission had been “appropriately tasked and authorized”.

During and after the Afghanistan deployment, various Canadian military websites have been flooded with often negative observations about the Griffons’ suitability for the ISAF mission and, by extension, any theatre of operations where with hot and/or high conditions are unavoidable.

In January 2011, a $640-million repair and overhaul contract went to BHTC of Mirabel, Quebec, where they were built, with some work going to Bell’s Calgary facility as well as other companies in the supply chain.
Aug 2014 – Griffon pilot talks with members of 1 Canadian Ranger Patrol Group, as members of the Royal Canadian Navy disembark on Baffin Island, Nunavut, during Operation NANOOK. (Photo: MCpl Johanie Maheu, 14 AMS Wing Imaging)
Officially known as the CH-146 Optimized Weapon System Support (OWSS) contract, it combined three previous contracts for Bell to provide engineering support, repair and overhaul, and supply support. The 10-year contract was intended to keep the helicopters flying through to potential retirement in 2021 and possibly push that out to 2025. It included some management services, engineering and technical publications, aircraft maintenance services and spare and consumable parts.

Some 16 months after the Bell award, L-3 WESCAM of Burlington, Ontario, secured a 3-year contract for up to $10 million, with two optional 1-year extensions, for routine maintenance, repair and overhaul of the fleet’s electro-optical and infrared (EO/IR) imaging sensors which enable the Griffon to operate as an escort or support Army operations day or night surveillance, a key factor during Operation Athena in Afghanistan.

At the time, then Prime Minister Stephen Harper described the contract as not only “great news” for BHTC but also would help to “strengthen the aerospace industry” in Quebec and Alberta.

But back to the question of directing scarce resources towards propping up old platforms for a two-year gap rather than speeding up procurement of newer alternatives that are better suited to extreme flying conditions. The current plan will see more funding for 20-year-old helicopters that can’t keep up with the RCAF’s 16 new F-model Chinooks (which cruise at 130 knots to the Griffons’ 118, and an even wider top-speed differential of 170 knots to 139!). Why slow down a transport, when it’s essential to get troops on the ground quickly, so that the escorts can keep up?

A simple answer is that Canada’s Air Force has a long history of being forced to fly assets longer than originally intended but one has to wonder if the new Liberal government will be looking at more efficient ways of getting the job done.

The Griffons are undeniably due to be retired; they will be obsolete and unable to operate out of the country by 2021. By then, NATO interoperability issues and compliance with aviation authorities’ requirements for higher fidelity navigation in the avionics will surely be a problem.

At a cost of $500 million to $1.5 billion, DND is planning that the Griffon Limited Life Extension In-Service Support (GLLE), will, among other things “replace obsolete cockpit instrumentation and radios with components that are supportable to 2030 and possibly beyond.” The final delivery, according to the 2015 Defence Acquisition Guide, is expected to be 2024 (three years after obsolescence and facing ever-increasing operations and maintenance costs due to the age of the platform).
Special Operations personnel prepare to fast-rope onto a CFB Petawawa practice tower. 427 squadron provides ­tactical airlift of troops and equipment, casualty evacuation and logistical support, and supports SAR operations in central Canada as required. (Photo: Ken Pole)
On the other hand, the Tactical Reconnaissance Utility Helicopter (TRUH) program, which is intended to replace the aging Griffons with more capacity and capabilities, at a cost of more than $1.5 billion, has the Definition Approval date set for 2021, and specifies the first delivery in 2026.

Fleet commonality is important to reduce costs, however, there will be a 5-10 year transition period where both aircraft are in service. But there are ways to benefit. One option would be to start the TRUH program earlier, even immediately, while undertaking GLLE for part of the Griffon fleet. In this way, DND can maintain operational capability with the Griffon while moving to a more capable platform. The money saved with a partial GLLE could be applied towards the new platform.

That new helicopters would cost more than $1 billion, is undeniable. But, as a former federal finance minister put it, “short-term pain for long-term gain” is an economically sound model.

Ken Pole is a contributing editor at FrontLine.
© FrontLine Defence 2015

Dunne: Why RCN Should Consider Nuclear Submarines

 2015 FrontLine Defence © (Vol 12, No 6)

It’s no secret that Canada has problems with military acquisition. While DND and its partner departments arguably do a good job selecting the right major equipment purchases for a bona fide requirement that has been vetted through the policy deliberation process, the Westminster parliamentary system effectively shut all opportunities for senior public servants and military officers to engage in meaningful dialogue with the public about these issues. The inevitable consequence is a misinformed and unsupportive Canadian public. Some of the more high profile examples that come to mind include the proposal to purchase nuclear submarines, the botched maritime patrol helicopter project; and most recently, the F-18 Fighter Replacement program.

Feb 2015 – HMCS Victoria returns home through the Straits of Juan De Fuca, after operations with the United States Navy. (Photo: LS Zachariah Stopa, MARPAC Imaging Services)
Canada’s top four defence priorities, enumerated in the Defence White Paper, Defence in the Seventies, and articulated by then Defence Minister Donald S. McDonald in his address to the Empire Club on 7 October 1971, are: first, the defence of Canada, including the surveillance of our own territory and coastlines, and the protection of our governmental institutions; second, the defence of North America in cooperation with the United States; third, collective defence under NATO; and,fourth, such international peacekeeping roles as we may undertake. While the fourth appears to have become a victim of transformative, worldwide geopolitical changes, the first three are still relevant, particularly #1 – the defence of Canada.

With her Navy convinced of the need for submarine capability for surveillance and defence, why does this discussion keep being swept aside?

A compelling case study of a lack of clear communication leads us back to the 1987 proposal to purchase 10 to 12 nuclear-propelled submarines, which is a starkly naked example of the perennial Canadian approach to defence: always a day late and a dollar short.

Newest Nuclear-powered Submarines
  • Astute Class (BAE Systems), the latest in service with the British Navy, first launched in 2007.
  • Virginia Class (General Dynamics Electric Boat), the latest SSN in service with the United States Navy, first launched in 2003.
  • Yasen Class (Malakhit Central Design Bureau), the latest SSN in service with the Russian Navy, first launched in 2010.
  • Barracuda Class (DCNS), the latest SSN for the French Navy, the first will be commissioned in 2017.
  • Kalvari Class (Mazagon Dock Limited), the latest SSN for India, the first of six is expected to be commissioned in 2017.
  • Type 095 (Chinese designation: 09-V) is a proposed class of third generation nuclear-powered attack submarines for China’s navy.
  • The Brazilian Navy signed detailed contracts in late 2009 with the French naval manufacturer DCNS. These contracts included technology transfers and construction assistance for four Scorpene-class diesel-electric attack submarines, as well as one nuclear powered vessel. Construction of the first SSN is planned to end in 2023 with entry into service slated for 2025.
The Submarine Story

Germany’s wartime efforts constituted a guerre de course, or commerce warfare. Her strategic efforts to stop the flow of military equipment and supplies across the Atlantic by torpedoing merchant ships at night during the Battle of the Atlantic (1939 to 1945) should have been a significant learning experience for Canada about the essential value of submarines.

Canada played a critical role in reducing the submarine threat and forcing the German navy back from the Atlantic shipping lanes, however, fighting the U-boat threat came at a huge cost. Despite the best efforts of the Allies, the Merchant Navy lost more than 30,000 men, and around 3,000 ships in more than 100 convoy battles. The cost for the Germans was equally tragic, losing 783 U-boats, and 28,000 sailors. The Royal Canadian Navy (RCN) sank, or assisted in the sinking, of 31 enemy submarines at a cost of 14 warships to U-boat torpedoes and 8 ships to accidents in the North Atlantic. A majority of the 2,000 Canadian sailors who perished in maritime combat died at sea at the hands of their adversary. Canadian merchant seamen suffered much heavier losses. One in ten of the 12,000 who served in Canadian and Allied merchant vessels perished.

In his history of the Canadian Navy, The Sea is at Our Gates, Retired Commander Tony German describes the difficult birth of the post-war Canadian submarine service. “Post-war training needs had been inadequately met by borrowing from the RN [Royal Navy] and USN [United States Navy].” The RN permanently stationed three boats of the 6th Submarine Squadron in Halifax under Canadian operational command, and anti-submarine warfare training was contingent on USN generosity.

Canada’s early submariners served in British submarines to learn the vital skills necessary to operate these vessels safely and effectively. According to retired Navy Captain Norman Jolin, an RCN officer with experience in submarine operations, Canada paid for the services of British submarines (Sixth Submarine Squadron) operating from Halifax, Nova Scotia in the 1950s and 1960s.

It wasn’t until 1960 that a Canadian submarine service was approved and Canada began to search for a suitable boat for the fledgling service. Initial exploration looked at the possibility of acquiring American conventional Barbel Class submarines and six American-designed Thresher Class nuclear boats that could be built in Canada, but the price tag was too high. Instead, USS Burrfish, aBalao Class submarine, was loaned to the RCN in May 1961 after being decommissioned and laid up in 1956. Commissioned in Canada and renamed HMCS Grilse, she was operated by the RCN until 1969. USS Argonaut, a Tench Class boat had operated in the Mediterranean as late as 1968 before joining the RCN and renamed HMCS Rainbow in 1968. She was returned to the US in 1977 and later scrapped. With extensive British training under their belt by the time Canada procured her own submarines, the boats were crewed entirely by Canadians.

In the meantime, in 1963 the Canadian government approved the purchase of British-built Oberon Class submarines that were quiet, effective and cheaper. HMCS Ojibwa, Okanagan, and Onondagawere operational from the late 1960s to the late 1990s. Two others, Olympus and Osiris, were procured much later for use in harbour training and spare parts respectively.

Challenge & Commitment

As the Oberons aged, discussions for their replacement began. The Defence Minister at the time was longtime MP "Yukon Erik" Nielsen. Recognizing the importance of protecting ice-covered waters in Canada's North, Nielsen asked the ADM(Materiel) group, who were briefing him on conventional submarines, whether such subs could stay under ice. After being informed that only nuclear boats could perform such missions, he then asked why they they weren't being considered. According to sources, the response was that the Canadian public "probably wouldn't be supportive" and that they would be expensive. Nevertheless, Nielsen asked the Materiel group to look at nuclear submarine options and determine whether there were any that could be more affordable.

When Perrin Beatty took over the portfolio in 1986, the project was important enough to be included in the June 1987 defence white paper, Challenge and Commitment: A Defence Policy for Canada. “A program of 10 to 12 [nuclear submarines] will permit submarines to be on station on a continuing basis in the Canadian areas of responsibility in the northeast Pacific, the North Atlantic and the Canadian Arctic,” the report suggested.
Los Angeles Class nuclear-powered attack submarine USS Memphis (SSN_691) heads out to sea following a brief port visit at Souda Bay, Crete, Greece.
Even today, almost 30 years later, the result of that initiative is memorable. Much of the promise of the White Paper went unfulfilled, and the submarine program was still-born after an abortive competition between the British and French competitors to sell their submarine technology to Canada. With Gorbachev’s policies of Glasnost and Perestroika, the fall of the Iron Curtain in 1989, and the long-awaited collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, the purchase was repeatedly seen as unnecessary.

Canada’s three Oberon class submarines, already 20 years old when Challenge and Commitment was released, were extended a further 10 to 12 years and retired between 1998 and 2000, with no immediate replacement.

The 1994 Defence White Paper indicated an interest in Britain’s four Upholder Class boats built byVickers Shipbuilding and Engineering between 1983 and 1993. They were put on the auction block in 1994 when finances forced the Royal Navy to convert to a nuclear-powered submarine force. The UK could not afford to operate both a conventional and a nuclear submarine program, Jolin underscored. And with the procrastination that typifies major military acquisition programs in Canada, the government announced the Submarine Capability Life Extension Project on 6 April 1998, in which the four Upholders would replace the three Oberons.

The submarines underwent a reactivation refit before they were passed to the RCN and renamed the Victoria Class. A tragic fire on the voyage back to Canada was the first of many setbacks, however, they were put through a rigorous Canadian refit, notably to replace the British fire control systemswith Canadian fire control systems designed to fire the MK 48 torpedo previously used in the Oberons, and install Canadian communications equipment, and were eventually integrated into the RCN fleet, seeing service in the Atlantic and Pacific oceans and as far away as the Caribbean and the coast of Africa.

Now a quarter of a century old, they need to be replaced in the coming years. But the question is, with what?

The Future Canadian Submarine

Today’s submarines are designed to be principally anti-submarine vessels with integrated covert intelligence gathering resources. The submarine that replaces the Victoria Class boats “must be able to operate in Canada’s area of responsibility,” notes retired Capt(N) Jolin. “This means there is a need for an open ocean capability for the Atlantic and the Pacific, as well as near the ice edge, to deny access to the Arctic archipelago to a potential adversary.”

This requires a blunt discussion about propulsion systems for a class of submarine that must operate in the world’s most hostile and unforgiving maritime environments. It includes, not merely near the Arctic ice edge, but also beneath it, because it is a foregone conclusion that there are submarines beneath Canada’s polar ice cap, and they are not ours.

There must be a realization that Canada shares Arctic borders with three other nations, the United States, Denmark (at Greenland), and Russia, and the latter has proven to be an avaricious and pugnacious neighbour. Russia’s President Vladimir Putin declared that the dissolution of the Soviet Union was “the greatest geopolitical catastrophe” of the 20th century. He is intent on returning Russia to its former position of global power.

Putin carved out Abkhazia and South Ossetia from Georgia, and invaded Georgia in 2008 over control of the two territories. Russia is seen as the source of a 2014 breakaway movement in Crimea and eastern Ukraine that gave Russia the pretext to annex the region. Although now collaborating to fight ISIS, it is doubtful that any such partnerships are anything more than strategic necessities, and will not change Putin’s end game in any way.

Canadians should use these events to form a new prism through which to watch the Kremlin, and to interpret several significant events in the Arctic. In the 17 January 2014 edition of the Globe and Mail,columnist Mark MacKinnon notes that the Kremlin has identified the Arctic as a priority. MacKinnon identified two noteworthy events:

Russian explorer Artur Chilingarov planted a Russian flag on the sea floor at the North Pole on 1 August 2007;

In October 2013, Captain Valentin Davydyants, captain of the 25,000-tonne nuclear[-powered] icebreaker Fifty Years of Victory, established a speed record carrying the flame for the Sochi Olympics to the North Pole.

In 2010, the Norwegian Barents Observer’s Arctic watcher, Atle Staalesen, asked Russian President Dmitry Medvedev about a NATO presence in the Arctic. “[T]he Arctic can manage fine without NATO.” He went on to say that the Arctic is part of the Russian common wealth, which does not have any relation to military objectives. However, former veteran CBC political correspondent Brian Stewart warned, in a 2 November 2015 report, that “Russia is not Canada’s only concern, but Russia is special.” Stewart writes that President Putin “has made a priority of the Arctic, where huge amounts of untapped oil and gas reserves are expected to become extractable as ice caps melt, and where strategically advantageous shipping lanes could yet open to fleets of Russian and Chinese icebreakers.”

Saying it has plans to deploy 80,000 troops to the far north in a crisis, Russia recently set up “Arctic Joint Strategic Command North,” consisting of two motorized brigades and Pantsir-S1 anti-air missiles, and held the largest Arctic military exercise with more than 35,000 Russian troops, 50 ships and submarines, and 110 aircraft.

In the face of Putin’s apparent aspirations regarding the Arctic, it is time for Canada to get serious about military security, particularly maritime security, and about Arctic security even more so.

SSN – Ship Submersible Nuclear-powered

If there are submarines under Canada’s polar icecap, as retired Capt(N) Jolin asserts, the only vehicle that can respond to that incursion is a nuclear-powered boat, which is the only proven power source that is capable of prolonged operations under the Arctic ice. Anti-nuclear advocates encourage Canada to look at air independent propulsion (AIP) systems that do not require access to the surface atmosphere to generate power. However, these systems are simply not yet at the level of maturity or effective operation to offer the capability of prolonged under-ice operations. All AIP systems need to carry liquid oxygen in heavy, bulky tanks, which limit the boat’s ability to operate as well as its habitability.

A submerged conventional-powered submarine must recharge its batteries and clean its atmosphere by running its diesel generators at periscope depth with a snorkel (or snort) mast raised. Not only does it have to slow down for this, it increases the possibility of detection as radar can detect a snorkel, and diesel exhaust can be seen for miles, depending on the weather. And so, the need to snort compromises its most important attributes, stealth and speed. It also completely rules out sustained under-ice operations, as the boat must have the ability to come up to periscope depth in ice-free waters to snort.

AIP systems permit a submarine to generate power without having to snort for limited periods of time, but these systems do not have the endurance to permit under- ice operations for prolonged use. Submariners would still be confined to the ice edge and could operate at 20 knots and higher, but only very short bursts, often only for minutes at a time.

Present-day AIP systems have been developed for navies with different operational and tactical circumstances than Canada. A non-nuclear AIP system that can provide power comparable to a nuclear power plant simply does not exist.

The reactors of nuclear powered vessels are fuelled once and can then operate between 25 to 33 years, depending on the reactor. According to National Defence’s Cost Factors Manual (2015 edition), the budgeted annual cost of fuel for a single Victoria Class submarine is just under $1 million. Critics suggest that SSNs are out of financial reach – are they considering the $20-$35 million plus in fuel and operational savings over its lifespan?

The greatest advantage of a nuclear powered boat over its diesel-electric cousin is its endurance, able to remain submerged for an unlimited time within the life span of its nuclear core. Its reactor can manufacture the air for vessel operation and life support. The only limitations would be imposed by the habitability requirements of the crew. A nuclear boat is virtually invisible to its adversaries and friends alike. They can become an essential component of Canada’s naval fleet mix.
May 2015 – A dolphin jumps in front of Virginia Class attack submarine Pre-Commissioning Unit John Warner (SSN 785) as the boat conducts sea trials in the Atlantic Ocean. (U.S. Navy photo courtesy of Huntington Ingalls Industries, by Chris Oxley)
What Submarines Do

Nuclear-powered vessels are strategic resources that, when submerged, anti-submarine warfare crews have to be either extremely lucky or have intelligence on the approximate search location, or face a very long, expensive and exhausting search. So, what do submarines provide to its navy and to its nation?

Intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR): An SSN can remain on station for unlimited periods and covertly trail other submarines and surface ships. As a “force multiplier,” its multiple sensors allow monitoring of surface and sub-surface military, fisheries, commercial and criminal activity, providing early and covert detection of suspicious or threatening activities. As a “force enabler,” it gives pinpoint directions for over-the-horizon friendly forces. And, as an intelligence vehicle, it positions prior to a conflict to conduct ISR activities, map the geospatial features of an operational area, observe the patterns, doctrine, tactics and capabilities of an enemy, and remain until hostilities have ceased.

Power projection: It can use maritime force within and outside its own waters to meet a threat, or to influence activities or events within its purview. Its weapons can include torpedoes and submarine-launched cruise missiles (SLCM) through vertical launch silos or their torpedo tubes.

Sea control: A single submarine can deny area access to an adversary, both surface and undersea to the seabed below. This allows a navy to protect sea lanes; deny access to aggressor ships, submarines and aircraft; and deliver land forces ashore.

Sea Denial is a critical component of sea control. Deploying a submarine into an operational environment dramatically changes how opposing naval forces conduct their operations. Locating a submerged boat diverts ships, aircraft and other submarines from other missions, and consumes incredible quantities of resources, making its search and pursuit a strategic decision.

During the 1982 Falklands War, Britain deployed 2 aircraft carriers, 11 destroyers, five nuclear submarines, one diesel-electric submarine and 25 helicopters to anti-submarine warfare. They depleted much of their sonobuoys and anti-submarine weapons, and asked the United States to replenish the British inventory, all against one small Argentinean diesel-electric boat, the ARA San Luis.

In 2004, the two-day search for an old and noisy Chinese Han Class nuclear submarine in Japanese waters required an entire U.S. Navy P-3 Orion maritime patrol aircraft squadron, Japanese Defence Force P-3s, a number of nuclear submarines, and surface ships and a T-AGO surveillance ship with towed sonar.

In response to the 5 April 1986 fatal bombing of Berlin’s popular “La Belle” nightclub, the U.S. launched Operation El Dorado Canyon, and U.S. air strikes against Libya began 10 days later. US Navy submarines deployed into the area during the pre-strike and post-strike positioning of the U.S. Sixth Fleet, confined Libya’s fleet of six Soviet-built diesel submarines to port.

Operational stealth: Submarines conduct non-conventional military operations such as mining, clandestine mine reconnaissance, placement of maritime mines, and stealthy insertion and extraction of special forces. It remains virtually invisible to all but the best (and luckiest) anti-submarine forces.

In 1977, the Argentinean government was pressing the British government to pass over control of the Falkland Islands. Britain deployed two frigates and a submarine, but only the submarine was able to get near the islands while the frigates remained more than 1,600 km away. The British submarine used its full range of ISR, giving the British government the options of employing the boat’s combat capabilities or recall it as circumstances dictated.

Operational endurance: One of the nuclear-powered submarine’s most strategic attributes is its ability to remain on station, submerged, silent and invisible, for long periods to observe and develop options to respond to tactical and operational situations and unforeseen opportunities.

Freedom of movement: The ability to covertly move with relative impunity into and within the area of operations, including where surface vessels and aircraft cannot go.
Yasen Class submarine, the latest SSN in service with the Russian Navy, first launched in 2010.

Flexibility: The submarine has a wide range of sensor and communications equipment, a potential wide array of weapons, and an ability to operate in stealth, secrecy and silence across the spectrum of maritime operations.

New Technologies

Submarines have always carried torpedoes, but they can now carry and launch cruise missiles against land targets up to 2,500 km away. There are many new and enhanced technologies being integrated and retrofitted into submarines that give submarines a variety of futuristic characteristics and capabilities. For instance, the Royal Navy’s new Astute Class nuclear submarine, and the USNVirginia Class submarines, are designed for the full spectrum of blue-water and littoral missions, each equipped with telescoping masts that do not penetrate the pressure hull.

The Virginia Class twin AN/BVS-1 telescoping photonics masts replaces the traditional periscope. Eliminating the periscope tube that protrudes from the steel pressure hull, increases watertight integrity and limits the risk of water leakage in the event of damage. The photonics mast exchanges the mechanical, line-of-sight periscope with high-resolution cameras, light-intensification and infrared sensors, an infrared laser rangefinder, and integrated electronic support measures. Information from these sensors is carried through fibre optic data lines to the control center with visual data displayed wirelessly on LCD monitors. The Virginia boats use pump-jet BAE Systems propulsors that reduce cavitation and are quieter than traditional bladed propellers; a fibre optic fly by wire vessel control system; and an updated AN/BSY-1 integrated combat system by General Dynamics AIS (previously Raytheon).

Globally, some 40 nations employ more than 400 submarines of all types. A resurgent Russia has its eye on the resource-rich Arctic, and with China’s growing interest in the area, it is time that Canada recognize the need for these specialized vessels with their suites of technologically sophisticated weapons, information and detection systems.

Capt(N) Jolin, whose experience included Oberon Class submarine operation on Canada's East Coast and the UK, did warn that while a nuclear-powered submarine is cost effective to operate, the shore-based facilities, training and supply chain to service and support these vessels “can be eye-wateringly expensive.” Perhaps frank and serious discussions with our American allies could induce them to allow Canada to piggy-back on existing USN infrastructure.

Another, albeit unlikely, way of addressing maintenance and repair facilities would be to negotiate with allied nations who wish to operate SSNs, and agree to jointly fund these services on the Atlantic and Pacific oceans as common-use facilities. All participating nations would pay their share and the bills for their own use.

Convincing our U.S. cousins to admit us to the naval nuclear club may not be easy as the U.S. would then have to allow Canada access to some of their most closely-guarded technologies, capabilities and strategies. It will require long, hard and difficult negotiation and debate about common interest, mutual defence, and acknowledgement that we would be the junior partner in the arrangement – and that we would have to play by rules already established by the U.S. Navy.

NATO calls on its members to devote two percent of its GDP to defence. It’s been a long time since Canada has met that objective, but perhaps it’s time that we re-evaluate our defence spending in view of our neighbour, where the Canadian North meets the Russian North.

Tim Dunne is based in Dartmouth.

Defence Minister Sajjan visits NORAD headquarters

Frontline Defece News announced today, that Defence Minister Harjit S. Sajjan paid his first visit to the North American Aerospace Defense Command Headquarters (NORAD) at Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado yesterday. During his visit, he met with Admiral Bill Gortney, Commander of NORAD and U.S. Northern Command, and Canadian Lieutenant-General Pierre St Amand, Deputy Commander of NORAD.

Discussions focused on a number of issues important to the Canad-U.S. defence relationship, including continental defence, new challenges to North American aerospace defence and NORAD's continuing evolution to meet those challenges. The Minister toured the NORAD facilities and had an opportunity to speak with a number of Canadian and American military personnel who serve at its headquarters.

Minister Sajjan released the following statement at the conclusion of his visit:

“My visit to NORAD was a great opportunity to discuss the important work being carried out by this unique binational defence partnership to protect North America from potential airborne and seaborne threats. I want to thank Admiral Gortney and Lieutenant-General St-Amand, and their dedicated team, for their ongoing leadership and cooperation, which is essential for the defence and security of North America now and for the future.”

Is the Answer to ISIS to Create Sunnistan?

Published by the CDA Institute, Blogger - David Law

CDA Institute Security & Defence Blogger David Law, a Senior Associate/​Fellow at the Security Governance Group/​Centre for Security Governance in Kitchener, comments on proposals of creating a Sunni state (Sunnistan).

On 25 November 2015, John Bolton, US representative to the UN from 2005–2006, neo-​con par excellence, published a piece in the New York Times that advocated the creation of a Sunni state in those areas presently occupied by the Islamic State.

There is very little that Mr. Bolton and I share politically but on the issue of the future of this region, we have some common ground. I share his concern that Iraq and Syria are Humpty-​Dumpty states that may not be possible to put back together again. The former ambassador argues for the creation of a Sunnistan once IS has been defeated. My approach would be to consider its creation as part of the process of defeating IS.

I am generally not in favour of separating communities and splitting states. The world now counts over 200 statal actors, roughly six times more than at the beginning of World War I. This has allowed many communities, previously cosseted in structures that they had not become part of by choice, to establish their own jurisdictions – and bravo for that that. But we may be close to a point where the benefits to be gained by creating new states designed to resolve identity conflicts are becoming counterproductive. Working with 200-​odd states in the international community is difficult enough. Pretty well all of them have significant minorities in their midst. It probably makes more sense to think more creatively about how to deal more effectively with the relationships among states rather than creating new ones.

That said, there come times when it becomes necessary to accept that a state has outlived its usefulness and needs to make way for a new statal structure. For example, while the disappearance of Yugoslavia was a tragic event in a great many respects, there was an objective need, for example, to end Serbia’s control over Kosovo. The Belgrade of the erstwhile Serbian leader Milosevic wanted to maintain its domination over the territory of Kosovo, lands that had been in Serb hands for centuries, but it did not want to accept the Albanian population residing there as people deserving equal treatment with their Serb co-​citizens.

The situation in Iraq and Syria is not dissimilar. Syria’s President Assad has relinquished any right to continue to preside over his country. He has lost the allegiance of most of its many ethnic and religious entities. He has made it crystal clear through four years of civil war and over a quarter of a million deaths that his prime objective is to maintain the grip of the Alawite community on the Syrian system of governance. This is what unleashed the peaceful protests in the first place, to which he responded with unbridled force. So, he expects that a minority of some 15 percent of the population can continue to prevail over the vast majority of the rest? There are, of course, minority national and religious communities in Syria that have traditionally enjoyed the protection of the Alawi-​dominated government but the overall arithmetic behind the Assad approach is obscene.

The situation in Iraq needs nuance. After decades of dominance of the Sunni minority over the country’s Kurds and Shiites, the former enjoy a more or less functioning administration of their own while the latter preside over the central government of Iraq. Shiite-​dominated Bagdad is politically schizophrenic, on the one hand sucking up to Tehran, using the Shiite militias it sponsors to bolster its dominance, on the other, recently bending to US pressure to accept policies that have the potential of giving Sunnis a renewed stake in the country.

The situation in the currently-​embattled Ramadi is instructive. This is the main city of Iraq’s Anbar province. Fewer than a hundred kilometres from Baghdad, Ramadi is 90 percent Sunni, the historical heartland of Saddam Hussein’s Iraq, and hence that part of Iraq most viscerally opposed to the American intervention. The Iraqi army, in a joint effort with local Sunni tribesmen and US aerial firepower, seems now to have succeeded in dislodging IS from the city. But note that in this battle Baghdad agreed not to employ Shiite militias supported by Iran in the campaign, in response to Washington’s concern that their presence would scuttlebutt the effort to roll back the IS.

Assuming that the battle for Ramadi has been won, the decisive question now is whether Baghdad will allow the local Sunni actors that have opposed IS to assume responsibility for the city’s administration. Whether it does or not will send signals across that large part of Sunni Iraq presently under IS occupation.

The bottom line is that Iraq, if it is to survive, needs to move towards a federalist arrangement among its Shiites, Sunnis, and Kurds. I fear, however, that the victory in Ramadi is too little, too late. For Iraq, the train may have already left the station.

So, my take is that in certain respects John Bolton is spot on. Syria and Iraq may very well be done states. Have a look at the current situation in Afghanistan and see how the Taliban has made major inroads as the NATO coalition reduced its responsibilities and cut back on its fighting forces. After almost fifteen years of engagement in this beleaguered country, the Western project has been declared bankrupt by events on the ground. The budget for this has been over seven hundred billion USD for the United States alone. To expect one can do better with many fewer resources in Syria and Iraq does not convince.

The West has to do a serious rethink of its role in Syria and Iraq. One needs to find convincing arguments for keeping intact structures whose borders were drawn about a hundred years ago on the back of an envelope by the British and French diplomats, Sykes and Picot. This did not necessarily condemn these states from the outset but their failure to develop adequate power-​sharing arrangements for their constituent parts in the interim and the colossal violence this has now engendered may well spell their downfall.

A further consideration is that if the West were to come out in favour of the creation of a Sunnistan, it might just put a fox among the pigeons. The fox would be the idea of an alternative to the IS-​championed notion of an international caliphate that would solidify Sunni supremacy not only over other Muslims but over also those of other faiths. The pigeons would be the different groupings that populate the areas currently under IS control. These are essentially three: former Baathists, Sunni tribal groups and the tens of thousands of diaspora jihadists that have joined the ranks of the would-​be world caliphate. While some of the Baathists and tribalists may have now accepted the IS discourse, I expect that a broad majority of them just want to step out from under the Alawite domination perpetuated by Damascus or the Shiite one championed by Iraq. They do not need an international caliphate to do so.

Assuming this analysis is correct, where do we go from here? If Damascus and Bagdad fail to adopt formulae giving their main minority communities an effective share of power, the West should profess support for a reordering of statal realities in the region. It should commit itself to helping the new states that would likely emerge – Sunnistan, one or more Kurdish states, an Alawi-​dominated entity on the future former Syrian soil – to assume their sovereignty with as much grace and justice as can be assumed under the conditions prevailing in this part of the world, supporting consensual formation of borders, protection for minorities, universal suffrage, and all those other good things that the West has been historically identified with. This would not be a simple or short or easy struggle. But it could be the least painful one.

David Law, a former Head of the NATO Policy Planning Unit, is currently a Senior Associate with the Kitchener-​based Security Governance Group, and a Senior Fellow with its sister organization, the Centre for Security Governance. (Image courtesy of Daily Mail.)

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Canada’s Weapons exports grew more than 89 per cent under Harper

Written by Elizabeth Thompson, iPolitics 

Canada’s arms exports shot up while Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s Conservative government was in office, fuelled by higher sales to countries like Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Mexico and Austria, an analysis by iPolitics has found.

Between 2006 and 2013, the last year for which numbers are available, Canada’s exports of military goods to countries outside the United States rose 89 per cent. However, that number is likely to hit a new high once figures for 2014 become available and a controversial $15 billion General Dynamics armoured vehicle sale to Saudi Arabia is added to the totals.

While the United Kingdom was the top destination outside of the United States for military equipment manufactured in Canada when the Liberals left office in 2005, that title now goes to Saudi Arabia, whose human rights record — particularly the recent beheading of a Shiite cleric — has made the armoured vehicle deal a target for opposition critics, including the Conservatives who approved of it in government.

During the election campaign, Harper defended the deal, saying that while Saudi Arabia may have committed significant human rights violations, it is an ally in the fight against the Islamic State and cancelling the deal would punish Canadian workers.

The Liberal government has said it has no plans to cancel the deal.

The Middle Eastern country accounts for near a quarter of the military goods exported by Canada to countries other than the U.S. in 2013. In 2012, a year that Canada set a record for arms exports with $1 billion worth of sales, Saudi Arabia accounted for 40 per cent of military exports.

Ken Epps, a policy advisor to Project Ploughshares, a peace group that monitors Canada’s arms sales, says the destination of Canada’s military exports has shifted.

“In recent years it is clear that the government has been trying to promote arms exports to outside of the more typical markets of the U.S and Europe and NATO in particular because defence spending has declined in both the U.S. and Europe and in order to try and sustain the Canadian arms industry new markets have been sought,” he said.

“In the case of the Conservatives, they were almost indiscriminate in the markets they were seeking because they were looking at the Middle East, they were looking at Latin America, they were looking at South Asia and in many cases at countries where there are very legitimate concerns – either about regional security or human rights violations."

Christyn Cianfarani, president of the Canadian Association of Defence and Security Industries (CADSI) agrees that sales to Europe and the U.S. are down – in part because of Buy America policies and budget sequestration in Washington. However, she disagrees that there has been any loosening of the rules in selling to countries with questionable records.

“The export regime has been in place and is quite vigorous,” said Cianfarani. “So the rules, to my knowledge, have not changed and they have not loosened with respect to the countries where we have been allowed to sell controlled goods to.”

She adds that it’s a mistake to say that because other areas were softening that the government was more lackadaisical on the export regime. “We certainly haven’t seen any evidence of that whatsoever.”

The Trudeau government is taking a closer look at Canada’s arms sales, trying to determine what steps Canada must take to accede to the United Nations Arms Trade Treaty. The landmark multilateral treaty, which entered into force in December 2014, seeks to regulate the international trade in conventional weapons.

Former Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s government refused to sign the treaty, making Canada one of only a handful of countries — and the only NATO member — that wasn’t a signatory.

Foreign Affairs Minister Stéphane Dion’s ministerial mandate letter calls for him to take the steps necessary to accede to the treaty and Tania Assaly, spokesman for the department of Global Affairs, says that is underway.

“Before acceding to the treaty, Canada must ensure that it has put in place domestically all legislation or regulations that would be required to ensure that we can fully meet the obligations under the treaty,” she wrote. “Officials are currently undertaking internal legislative and policy reviews in order to identify those changes that might be necessary before Canada accedes to the ATT.”

Epps believes that the shipments of military goods to Saudi Arabia, including the $15 billion armoured vehicle deal, could be called into question if Canada accedes to the arms trade treaty.

“Our view is that the provisions of the arms trade treaty, if interpreted correctly, would require Canada to reassess and even deny sales of armoured vehicles to the Saudi National Guard,” he said.

If political parties are reluctant to touch the Saudi deal, it could be in part because of the role the defence industry plays in Canada’s economy.

A 2012 study by the accounting firm KPMG commissioned by CADSI estimated Canada’s defence and security industries generated $12.6 billion in revenue in 2011 and employed 71,000 Canadians. While nearly half of the goods and services produced remained in Canada, 50.4 percent or $6.4 billion was exported.

The federal government’s Report on Exports of Military Goods from Canada lists a far more modest number — $1.04 billion for 2012 and $681.4 million for 2013. However, the report does not include sales of military goods to the United States, which the government estimates account for half of Canada’s military exports each year.

Cianfarini points out that the federal government numbers also don’t include Canada’s growing service support industry.

“Traditionally, things that end up getting collected under the controlled goods regime are of a product nature because they’re trackable. What people don’t understand about the defence industry in Canada is that it has a very large service component which has been growing over the past 10 years as Canadian industry diversifies its business.”

For example, the government’s statistics wouldn’t include contracts Canadian companies have to service and maintain military aircraft from countries like Mexico where the aircraft is flown to Canada for maintenance, she said.

Exports by Canadian defence manufacturers also benefit Canada in other ways as well, Cianfarini pointed out. Foreign sales of equipment lead to lower prices for the Canadian Armed Forces and many innovations or new developments in military equipment can have non-military applications that also create jobs.

While the numbers can vary widely from year to year because of the nature of defence contracts, figures show that Canada’s exports of military goods has crept steadily upwards since 2005 when sales totaled $322 million under former Liberal Prime Minister Paul Martin’s government. The exports reached a high of $1 billion in 2012 before slipping down to $681.3 million – the third highest level since 2003 when exports under former Liberal Prime Minister Jean Chrétien reached $723.5 million.

One of the countries where Canadian military exports rose the most during Harper’s government was Jordan – a country whose human rights record has been questioned by groups like Amnesty International. Military exports jumped from only $6,580 in 2006 to $15 million in 2011 before falling back to $888,467 in 2013 — the year that Harper named the head of his RCMP security detail, Bruno Saccomani, as Canada’s ambassador.

According to government figures, Jordan’s biggest buys are in imaging equipment.

Sales to Mexico also grew during those years. In 2006, when Harper came to power, Mexico’s purchases of military goods had dropped to $15,573 from $1 million in 2003. By 2012, military exports to Mexico had risen to $1.2 million before dropping back to $889,854 in 2013. Mexico’s biggest spending is on ground vehicles and imaging equipment.

Austria, which was already a strong customer for Canadian military goods, had the third largest rise between 2006 and 2013 – particularly during the last two years, when it jumped to $11.3 million then $88.6 million. According to federal government figures, the growth was in guns and ground vehicles.

Sales to a number of other countries, however, have declined. For example, Greece, which bought $8.4 million worth of military goods in 2006 dropped to a fraction of that amount the following year and in 2013 it only bought $56,875 worth of goods – much of it aircraft equipment. Oman, which imported $3.5 million in Canadian military goods in 2006 and $24 million in 2008, spent only $266,512 in 2013 – largely for simulators.

The top five buyers for Canada’s military goods also changed almost completely from 2006 to 2013. In the Liberals last year in power in 2005, the United Kingdom led the list, buying aircraft and parts, followed by Australia buying ground vehicles, France, South Korea and Singapore.

By 2013 the top buyers came from Saudi Arabia, principally purchasing ground vehicles, then the United Kingdom shopping for aviation and imaging equipment, followed by Austria, Italy and Germany.

Cianfarini says Canadian defence manufacturers have been shipping goods to Saudi Arabia since the 1990s and consider it a good market.

“Canada has nurtured a long-standing relationship with Saudi Arabia, because the Middle East is particularly important to us – not only from an oil perspective but also from a regional politics perspective going way back,” she said. “You’re seeing that from a Canadian business community point of view — it has a relatively open market, in that there aren’t great impediments. If you put those two together it’s logical that it would be perceived by Canadian companies as a market that has opportunity for us.”

Hélène Laverdière, NDP foreign affairs critic and a former Canadian diplomat, says Canada needs more transparency and consistency in its reporting on military exports.

“It is absolutely essential that parliamentarians and Canadian have that information,” said Laverdière.

Laverdière would like to see the Liberal government make public the evaluation that would have been done before the Conservative government agreed to allow armoured vehicles to be sold to Saudi Arabia. She also wants Canada to accede to the arms trade treaty.

“We will continue to push the Trudeau government to assure that we do that as soon as possible. We are the only NATO country that hasn’t signed.”

Conservative Foreign Affairs Critic Tony Clement has not yet responded to requests for an interview.

CAF to Conduct Arctic Warfare Training

DND Press Release

Soldiers from the 3rd Canadian Division will take part in Exercise ARCTIC RAM 2016, in Resolute Bay, Nunavut next month. Troops from 3rd Battalion, Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry will parachute into Resolute Bay on Feb. 11. Soldiers from 38 Canadian Brigade Group will also take place in the exercise.

A CAF member from Charlie Company of 1 PPCLI keeps watch during a platoon attack during ARTIC RAM 2012: Photo: DND - Combat Camera: RE2012-0007-026
Meanwhile, Exercise RAFALE BLANCHE 2016 is also underway. It will end on February 19 and is being held in the Valcartier training areas and in the municipalities of Nicolet and Bécancour, Que. 5 Canadian Mechanized Brigade Group (5 CMBG) units based in Valcartier are taking part. The exercise will enable 5 CMBG members to conduct military manoeuvres in winter conditions, the Canadian Forces noted in a news release.

More details from the news release:

Foreign troops and numerous reservists will also contribute to the training. About 20 Polish soldiers will take part in the exercise with their counterparts from 3 Battalion Royal 22e Régiment (3 R22eR).

A portion of Exercise RAFALE BLANCHE 2016 will take place in the municipalities of Nicolet and Bécancour from February 4 to 7, where the members of 12e Régiment blindé du Canada (12 RBC) will perform manoeuvres in civilian areas in partnership with Primary Reserve units, 430 Tactical Helicopter Squadron and 5 Field Ambulance.

Many Reserve units will participate in Exercise RAFALE BLANCHE. To name a few, units from Trois-Rivières, Sherbrooke, Montreal and Gatineau will support 12 RBC in Nicolet from February 5 to 7.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Was Canada Snubbed From ISIS Meeting?

OTTAWA — Canada has not been invited to a meeting of defence ministers in Paris this week to discuss the fight against ISIL militants, media reports say.

Jan 20th Globe and Mail Cartoon

Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan’s office has confirmed to CBC News and the Globe and Mail that he won’t attend Wednesday’s meeting.

The reports say defence ministers from the United States, Britain, Germany, France, Italy, Australia and the Netherlands will take part in the talks.

Sajjan spokesman Renee Filiatrault told the Globe that Canada’s plan to pull its CF-18s from the fight against ISIL had nothing to do with Canada’s exclusion from the meeting.

Omar Alghabra, the parliamentary secretary to Foreign Affairs Minister Stephane Dion, told the CBC it wasn’t a surprise as those seven countries meet regularly without Canada and the only thing different this time it that defence ministers will be there.

But Conservative defence critic James Bezan said the apparent snub shows Canada is no longer seen as a valuable ally.

Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan is brushing off suggestions Canada was snubbed from an anti-ISIS coalition meeting that several other countries, including Australia and the Netherlands, were invited to attend on Wednesday in Paris.

“Meetings happen all the time,” Sajjan told reporters Tuesday in Saint Andrews, N.B.

However, sources inside the Department of National Defence told CTV’s Mercedes Stephenson they were surprised by the lack of an invitation, initially thinking it was a mistake.

Retired Maj.-Gen. David Fraser told CTV’s Power Play he believes the lack of an invitation is a result of the Trudeau government’s plan to pull Canada’s CF-18 fighter jets from the mission against ISIS in Iraq and Syria.

“The United States are the ones who determine who comes to the meeting and (we’re) considered now, apparently … not a significant contributor and they don’t want to hear what we have to say,” he said.

Fraser said the Americans view Canada’s current contribution of CF-18s “as very significant,” adding that they are currently making a difference on the ground.

“If you don’t come to the game standing shoulder to shoulder, sharing the burden and the risk of the hard fighting, you will not be included in the conversation,” he added.

Former defence minister Peter MacKay told Power Play he sees the lack of an invitation as “downgrading of Canada’s perception and our role in the world.”

“Any way you want to try and spin it, it signals a diminished role for Canada in this mission and in the world,” he said.

MacKay urged the Liberals to “put aside the partisan campaign promise” to pull the six jets.

Conservative defence critic James Bezan said earlier Tuesday that the omission was “predictable,” because of the Liberals’ promise to pull CF-18 fighter jets from the bombing mission against ISIS.

“It is important that Canada be part of these discussions,”Bezan told CTV News Channel Tuesday. “We have a role to play and we have things to say, but unfortunately, under this government, nobody is taking us seriously.”

Conservative interim leader Rona Ambrose echoed Bezan’s comments in a speech to the Manitoba Chamber of Commerce.

“Six months ago we hosted the (anti-ISIS coalition) meeting,” she said. “Enter Trudeau, we’re not even invited to the meeting.”

“These kinds of signals matter.”

Ambrose told reporters after her speech that it’s “obvious” why Canada wasn’t invited.

“When you’re not a full partner, you don’t get invited to the table,” she said. “We were asked to join by the United States and other partners and now we’ve said we’re pulling out of that bombing mission,” she added.

“I’ve called on the prime minister to keep our CF-18s in the fight against ISIS and stand resolutely with our allies,” Ambrose said.

But Sajjan brushed off suggestions that Canada has been sidelined in the fight against terror.

“Meetings happen all the time,” Sajjan told reporters Tuesday in Saint Andrews, N.B.

Although Canada won’t participate in Wednesday’s meeting, Sajjan said he is actively engaged in anti-terror talks and will be discussing ISIS with Canada’s allies at two other upcoming meetings.

That includes another coalition meeting of defence ministers on Feb. 11.

Sajjan also said that Canada is contributing to anti-terror efforts around the globe, including the aftermath of the November attacks in Paris and the more recent attack in Burkina Faso.

“We are actively participating on a meaningful basis,” he said. “We’re not just looking at the current situation in Syria and Iraq, we’re actually looking at the overall threats around the world as well.”

But Bezan said that the Liberals have been sending “confusing messages” about Canada’s role in the fight against ISIS. Despite the promise to withdraw fighter jets from the bombing missions in Iraq and Syria, a timeline has not yet been given.

Bezan said the Tories “firmly believe” that Canada’s CF-18s should stay in the battle. The party also supports a more robust training mission for local troops on the ground, he said.

“Prime Minister Trudeau wants to talk about his sunny ways and that Canada is back on the international scene, and quite the opposite is true,” he said.

“We should be sitting at the table. We have made significant contributions until now.”

The Globe and Mail reported that Wednesday’s meeting is for “significant contributors” to the anti-ISIS coalition, including the United States, Britain, Germany, France, Italy, Australia and the Netherlands.

RCAF Tries to Persue JUSTAS (Drone) Program...Again

Public Services and Procurement Canada has released another “request for information” to the defence industry for the Joint Unmanned Surveillance Targeting and Acquisition System (JUSTAS) project.

Industry has been down this route before, with various Canadian Forces attempts at JUSTAS going on for a decade or so now.

An earlier version of JUSTAS was supposed to have the unmanned aerial vehicles (aka drones, UAVs, UAS, etc) operating as early as 2010. That was pushed back to early 2012. In 2012 a letter of interest on JUSTAS was released to industry but that went no where.

Over the years the Canadian Forces tried other means to buy a fleet of longer-range UAVs. In 2007 the CF tried to push a sole source purchase of Predators but the Conservative government decided against that proposal.

During the Libyan war in 2011, senior Canadian defence leaders pitched to the government the idea of spending up to $600 million for armed drones to take part in that conflict. That proposal was also declined.

For the Afghan war, the CF had purchased the Sperwer, which had its issues, and later leased the Heron UAV fleet from MDA for missions in Kandahar.

This latest request for information to industry talks about options for the acquisition of an interim JUSTAS capability as well as a full JUSTAS capability. But it also emphasizes this is just a request for information and there is no guarantee of a contract.

A contract would be awarded – if the government decided to proceed on this course – in the 2018/2019 timeframe.

If that comes about – a big if – then that latest schedule is a little bit ahead of past milestones. According to an RCAF spokesman; long range RCAF plans envisioned a JUSTAS contract awarded between 2019 and 2020.

Monday, January 18, 2016

Lockheed Martin Admits it didn't enter CC-130J for FWSAR

Four days ago David Pugliese published an article in The Ottawa Citizen that said Lockheed Martin didn't bid on the RCAF's FWSAR program; despite having indicated in June 2015 that it would. 

Today, Pugliese's Defence Watch published the following article about Lockheed admitting it did not bid. 

Lockheed Martin has decided to reverse its questionable public relations strategy and finally confirm what was reported last week – that it did not submit a bid for the Canadian government’s fixed wing search and rescue (FWSAR) program.

Defence Watch, as well as Skies magazine, published the news last week that Lockheed Martin didn’t submit a bid.

But at the time Lockheed Martin was still sticking to its media line: “Out of respect for the procurement process, Lockheed Martin does not comment on competitive tenders that are underway.”

As noted earlier, this statement, which LM had been repeating for months, is laughable. Companies love to talk about their products to the news media and LM’s competitors have been holding press conferences and briefings on their FWSAR submissions.

In fact, for the last couple of years, Lockheed Martin officials had been highlighting how great their C-130J would be for the FWSAR program.

All that changed and the “out of respect for the procurement process” media line materialized when Lockheed’s proposal ran into trouble.

So with the bids in, and news reports from Defence Watch and Skies magazine that Lockheed Martin was a no-show for FWSAR (and queries also coming in from the U.S. media), the firm has decided to change its message.

“Lockheed Martin participated in the FWSAR procurement process as a potential bidder,” the company noted in a new statement Monday to Defence Watch. “After following an extensive and thorough analysis of the RFP’s requirements, we decided to not submit a formal response to Canada’s FWSAR RFP. We remain fully committed to supporting the RCAF and its CC-130J fleet as it continues to perform the tactical transport role in Canada for decades to come.”

Lockheed Martin, however, has not explained why it didn’t bid. But its competitors have toldDefence Watch the firm decided against bidding because the in-service support costs for the C-130J are extremely high, making a proposal a non-starter.

Embraer, Alenia and Airbus all bid on the $3.1 billion FWSAR program.

Joint-Task Force Ukraine gets New Commander

DND Press Release

Today, Lieutenant-Colonel Tim Arsenault assumed command of Joint Task Force-Ukraine (JTF-U) from Lieutenant-Colonel Jason Guiney during a ceremony which took place at the International Peacekeeping and Security Centre in Starychi, Ukraine, as part of Operation UNIFIER, Canada’s military training mission in Ukraine.

As commander of JTF-U, Lieutenant-Colonel Tim Arsenault commands approximately 200 Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) personnel. JTF-U includes soldiers conducting training with the Ukrainian Armed Forces in areas such as Small Team training, Counter Improvised Explosive Device training, military police training and medical training.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Canada in Iraq: RCAF Target ISIS East of Mosul

In a statement on it's OP IMPACT webpage, DND announced that on, 15 January 2016, while taking part in coalition operations in support of Iraqi security forces, two CF-18 Hornets successfully struck an ISIS fighting position east of Mosul using precision guided munitions.