Industry Notebook

© 2012 FrontLine Defence (Vol 9, No 5)

Airbus Military has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Discovery Air in Yellowknife to offer a joint Canadian Fixed Wing Search and Rescue (FWSAR) aircraft. Discovery Air, as primary Canadian partner, would provide in-service support. Brian Semkowski, Discovery Air’s CEO said, “We are very excited about the C295 aircraft; a proven and reliable SAR platform that has been sold all over the world with over 110,000 flying hours toits credit. With proven, state of the art search capabilities, it offers a low-risk, low-cost solution, high in Canadian content.”

Antonio Barberan, senior vice president of Airbus Military said the C295 FWSAR is a reliable aircraft and “has the lowest life-cycle costs in its class, and compared to competitors could save Canada up to $1 billion in fuel costs alone over the life of the airframe.” Other Airbus Military partners include Pratt & Whitney Canada, CAE, L-3 Wescam and Vector Aerospace.

At Euronaval 2012, DCNS is unveiling its new concept-ship, SMX 26, a small submarine designed to operate in littoral zones (very shallow waters) that are not usually accessible for conventional submarine operations. It can remain on the sea bed for long periods, continuously monitoring its environment, before attacking its target with appropriate assets. Its shape ensures precise, safe progress in very shallow waters, enabling operation in water less than 15 m deep. It is extremely manœuvrable and can remain in a stabilized position near the bottom or just under the surface in swell for discreet surveillance.
 
DRS Technologies Canada and SELEX Elsag, both Finmeccanica companies, were recently awarded a contract worth approximately $11 million Canadian dollars by the Department of Public Works and Government Services Canada for upgrading the Canadian Navy’s HALIFAX Class Frigate Internal Communications System (ICS). The System will be based on Terrestrial Trunked Radio (TETRA) technology. Delivery of the equipment is expected to begin in 2013, to be completed by the middle of 2015. All communications within the ship and external voice communications are controlled through SHINCOM (a Shipboard Integrated Communications System). As part of SHINCOM, ICS includes internal wireless communications technology that facilitates non-wired communications between damage control teams, flight deck crews and 50-caliber gun teams during mission-critical operations. Additional applications include supporting non-mission critical operations and conducting maintenance activities where wireless communications among maintainers are required.

The latest addition to Pelican Products’ ProGear HardBack line, the P1075 Pistol and Accessory Case, is designed to protect and transport revolvers, compact pistols and clips. When the company learned that customers in the field were customizing the 1075 case with foam to protect their side-arms, it created P1075 customizable foam solution. The shock-absorbing P1075 case weighs 1.54 lbs (0.7 kilograms), and features a nylon shoulder strap. More information at www.PelicanProGear.ca.
 
For some Canadian Forces personnel, the helicopter action sequences in the new James Bond film, ‘Skyfall’ will look like another day at work because the new ­production features AgustaWestland’s AW101 helicopter. In Canadian Forces Search and Rescue service, the same helicopter is known as the CH149 Cormorant and features in many daring, real life adventures. For ‘Skyfall’, AgustaWestland test pilots flew the helicopters in close proximity to both the film’s set and the camera helicopter. In all, 15 hours of flight time was needed to rehearse and shoot the action scenes.
 
In a recent weapons test over the Utah desert, Boeing and the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) Directed Energy Directorate, successfully demonstrated the Counter-electronics High-powered Microwave Advanced Missile Project, or CHAMP.  Missile-mounted equipment, during a pre-programmed flight, emitted bursts of high-powered energy and knocked out data and electronic subsystems on the ground.

CHAMP allows for selective high-frequency radio wave strikes against numerous targets during a single mission. The goal is to disrupt an adversary’s communications and make friendly forces ‘invisible’ to their radar, and one advantage is that it causes little or no collateral damage.
 
MDA (MacDonald Dettwiler & Associates) has won a $13.4 million, two-year contract to repair and upgrade Route Survey Systems it provided the Royal Canadian Navy’s Kingston-class Maritime Coastal Defence Vessels in 1999. The company will repair, upgrade or replace the various elements of the deployable sensor systems. The core of the Route Survey System is a towed sensor that provides a sonar image map of the sea floor. Crews can maintain a database of the maps the system generates and, in conjunction with other sensor systems, detect and identify any suspect objects on the sea floor. Royal Canadian Navy diving teams use Route Survey System mapping to support undertaking harbour inspections, ordnance disposal and sea mine clearance.

CAE announced a series of military contract wins in October, with a total value of about $200 million: a contract with the United States Navy to develop a KC-130J full-mission simulator for the Kuwait Air Force under a foreign military sale program; the United States Air Force exercised the option for a third-year of KC-135 tanker aircrew training services in addition to contract modifications to perform a range of KC-135 simulator upgrades; and, a long-term training services contracts with an Asian military customer.

Viking Air, the British Columbia manufacturer of Twin Otter Series 400 aircraft, has signed a 10-year General Terms Agreement with Pratt & Whitney Canada for PT6 engines. More than 49,000 of the PT6 engines have been sold around the world and they are in use with 7,000 operators. The Twin Otter, initially built by de Havilland Canada and first flown in 1965 is one of the world’s most successful small commercial aircraft. Viking Air now has an order backlog of $400 million for Twin Otters and has made sales to operators in 16 countries.

Rheinmetall Canada has won a $205 million contract to work on the Tactical Armoured Patrol Vehicle (TAPV) project which was awarded to Textron Systems Canada and its partners in June 2012. The project calls for the manufacture of 500 Canadian Forces TAPVs with options for up to 100 more. The overall contract is worth more than $600 million, with an additional five-year in-service support contract of more than $100 million CAD. During production, Rheinmetall will perform final assembly and vehicle test and integrate essential sub-systems such as the Remotely Controlled Weapon Station, the Vehicle Navigation System and the Driver Vision Enhancement System.

A Lockheed Martin F-35A conventional take-off and landing aircraft has completed an in-flight weapons release of a 2,000 pound GBU-31 BLU-109 Joint Direct Attack Munition (JDAM. The aircraft, known as AF-1, jettisoned an instrumented GBU-31 over the China Lake test range from the left internal weapons bay.

The presentation, by Sperry Marine and Northrop Grumman, of a Mark IV gyroscope to the Canadian Naval Memorial Trust has brought HMCS Sackville, the world’s last surviving Second World War corvette of its type, one step closer to its 1944 wartime configuration. “The Sperry MK 14 was the most widely built gyro of World War II and was found on virtually every allied vessel around the world,” Alan Aitken, director of Sperry Marine told an audience at DefSec 2012. “The HMCS Sackville Naval Memorial Trust originally approached Sperry Marine with a request for help in locating a Mk14 during the DEFSEC show in 2010.” Sperry Marine unsuccessfully searched its global facilities, only to have two units turn up at Georgian College in Owen Sound, Ontario.

The first attempt to move one of the units to Halifax ended in failure when the commercial transport company destroyed the Mark IV in transit, “which only goes to prove that if you want something done right, you need the defense industry!” Aitken said. “As a result, I and another Sperry employee, Don Barnes, drove to Owen Sound from Halifax and personally transported the remaining gyro back to Halifax on the back of a pickup truck.”

The Canadian Naval Memorial Trust, with the Waterfront Development Corporation and the Maritime Museum in Halifax, is working to put Sackville in a permanent, covered berth, in a complex where the ship is now berthed. “It is our intention that the structure will be of a visually compelling, iconic, form that will define Halifax in the same way that the Sydney Opera House defines that city. You will hear more of this in the months to come. We are in the final stages of preparing a project brief and we expect to initiate a National Architectural Design Competition this Fall.”

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© FrontLine Defence 2012

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