IN THE NEWS

IN THE NEWS

Jun 05, 2020

Italy and France agreed 4 June to equally share the costs of new technologies launched by Naviris, the joint venture launched last year by their leading shipyards. Computer-aided engineering, vessel lifecycle simulation, energy efficiency and fuel cells are among the technologies being assessed. 

Jun 05, 2020

President Donald Trump has indicated he is backing down on his threat to deploy federal troops to states or cities which refuse the option for suppressing widespread protests about the recent death of a black man in police custody. ““I don't think we'll have to,” Trump said in a televised interview 3 June, conceding that National Guard units, which under dual federal-state control, could be as effective.

Jun 05, 2020

Even as the RCAF plans to continue operating its updated Lockheed Martin CP-140 maritime surveillance aircraft into a “2030 timeframe”, the U.S. Navy has retired the last of its P-3 Orions on which the CP-140 is based. After six decades of service, the Orions are being replaced by P-8 Poseidons, a militarized version of the Boeing 737.

Jun 05, 2020

Reported musings by President Donald Trump about using nuclear weapons to disrupt evolving tropical storms evidently at the reason for draft legislation introduced in the House of Representatives by a Texas Democrat. Sylvia Garcia says her Climate Change and Hurricane Correlation and Strategy Act would not only require the White House to advise Congress in general about its strategies but also would prohibit the mooted nuclear option.

Jun 04, 2020

The Department of National Defence is being accused by New Democratic Party defence critic James Bezan of using the COVID-19 pandemic an excuse for withholding information. DND suggests that there is a timeliness issue arising from having staff working remotely with limited access to files.

Jun 04, 2020

In a program watched closely by Canada and other allies, the U.S. Air Force Special Operations Command has budgeted $106 million in 2021 for the first five of a proposed procurement of up to 75 light attack aircraft for ground support. They would replace the current AFSOC fleet of U-28 Dracos, modified Pilatus PC-12 single-engine turboprops.

Jun 04, 2020

An updated Russian policy permitting a nuclear response to a conventional strike against government and military infrastructure has been endorsed by President Vladimir Putin. It reflects concerns about U.S. potential to knock out key assets with convention weapons.

Jun 04, 2020

Counting on increased demand by European and Asian militaries for more sophisticated digital communications, Rafael Advanced Defense Systems of Israel is offering its latest software-defined radios. Partnership programs in Indian and Germany set the stage for similar market pushes elsewhere, including Britain.

Jun 04, 2020

A newly-released report to the UN Security Council that some elements of the Taliban maintain ties with the al-Qaeda terrorist network is seen as evidence of the fragility of the U.S. peace talks with the Taliban. Among other things, the report states that “Al-Qaida has reacted positively to the agreement, with statements from its acolytes celebrating it as a victory for the Taliban’s cause and thus for global militancy.”

Jun 04, 2020

The 2020 Canada Army Run set for September has been cancelled due to COVID-19. Organizers have given entrants until 12 June to decide whether to participate in a “virtual” race or defer to next year.

Jun 04, 2020

President Donald Trump’s threat to deploy active duty military personnel to crack down on public protests has been openly challenged by Secretary of Defense Mark Esper. The former infantry officer said 3 June that invocation of the Insurrection Act must be “a matter of last resort and only in the most urgent and dire situations.”

Jun 04, 2020

Former U.S. Secretary of Defense James Mattis has denounced President Donald Trump’s threat to deploy Army personnel to quell protests in several U.S. cities. “We must reject and hold accountable those in office who would make a mockery of our Constitution,” the retired Marine General writes. Mattis quit the cabinet in 2018 over Trump’s policy on Syria.

Jun 03, 2020

A contract valued at $35 million was awarded to Zodiac Hurricane Technologies for the acquisition of 30 new multi-role boats. In a press release, Defence Minister Sajjan said the "new multi-role boats represent an important investment in our Navy and the women and men who serve Canada.”

Jun 03, 2020

A Canada-U.S. team has completed recovery of the RCAF CH-148 Cyclone helicopter which crashed 29 April in the Ionian Sea, killing all six personnel aboard. In a statement on 3 June 2020, RAdm Craig Baines said that “multiple pieces” of the aircraft as well as “some remains” had been retrieved from a depth of more than 3,000 metres, using a remotely-operated vehicle provided by the U.S. Navy. The remains are to be sent to Toronto for forensic examination to confirm the victims’ identities. Click for full statement.

Jun 02, 2020

The RCAF deployed two CF-188 Hornets and a CP-140 Aurora and the RCN sent the supply ship Asterix and the frigate Ville de Quebec to a joint exercise off the east coast last week with the U.S. Northern, Space, Transportation and Strategic commands. Designed to test their response to an attack on the U.S., with a USAF B-1B bomber playing the role of enemy infiltrator, the four-day exercise ended 31 May.

Jun 02, 2020

NATO is being accused by Russia of conducting “provocative” exercises near its borders and has proposed that each side scale down activities for the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic. The accusation follows recent NATO maneuvers in the Barents Sea which Russia says emulated strikes on its territory and the interception of ballistic missiles. Russia also cited what it says are increasing flights by USAF B-1B strategic bombers in other border areas.

Jun 02, 2020

Lower unit costs are being reported in the costliest single military procurement in U.S. history, the Lockheed Martin F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, but there are concerns about ongoing support and upgrades for the stealthy aircraft. The latest annual Pentagon assessment shows development and procurement costs have been trimmed by 7.1% to $397.8 billion, but the bill for lifecycle operating and maintenance is projected to rise 7.8 per cent to more than $1.18 trillion.

Jun 02, 2020

A series of often violent protests in several major cities following the death of another black man in police custody in Minneapolis prompted President Donald Trump to insist 1 June that state governors call out their National Guard units to resolve the situations. “If a city or state refuses . . . I will deploy the United States military and quickly solve the problem for them.”

Jun 02, 2020

Legal experts are parsing President Donald Trump’s threat to deploy the U.S. military to put down continued and sometimes violent protests in several cities after the death of a black man in police custody. Even though the 1878 Posse Comitatus Act precludes that kind of intervention, the 1807 Insurrection Act does give the President authority to deploy federal forces in states unable to put down an insurrection or where federal law is being defied. The exports do agree that legal challenges are inevitable and some state governors are calling Trump’s move an overreaction

Jun 01, 2020

A new European Union budget plan would restore most of the bloc’s defence priorities once COVID-19 has been addressed. The European Defence Fund and the Military Mobility initiative would receive €8 billion and €1.5 billion respectively, over the next seven years. Lower than earlier proposals for €13 billion and €6.5 billion, the latest revision is an improvement from recent negotiations involving EU members hit hard by the pandemic.

Jun 01, 2020

A suggestion by U.S. President Donald Trump that Russia rejoin the G7 Summit group of nations has been flatly dismissed by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. “Russia was excluded from the G7 after it invaded Crimea a number of years ago,” he said 1 June. “Its continued disrespect and flaunting of international rules and norms is why it remains outside of the G7, and will continue to remain out.”

Jun 01, 2020

In a preliminary report released on 1 June, DND’s Airworthiness Investigative Authority noted that while there has not yet been a final determination of the Snowbirds crash that killed Captain Jenn Casey, detailed analysis of video footage shows one bird “in very close proximity” to the starboard engine air intake shortly after takeoff from Kamloops, B.C.

Jun 01, 2020

Transport Minister Marc Garneau says Canada and four other countries are “pressing” Iran to release the flight data and cockpit voice recorders from Ukraine International Airlines Flight 752, shot down by Iranian missiles minutes 08 January shortly after takeoff fom Tehran airport. They had been promised by 25 March, which essentially coincided with a COVID-19 eruption in Iran.

Jun 01, 2020

Injured military veterans were waiting an average of more than eight months at the end of April to learn whether were eligible for financial assistance from the government. The 34.5-week average was two weeks longer than at the beginning of 2020, when there were more than 46,200 backlogged applications. Veterans Affairs has not said whether COVID-19 is a factor as staff process applications while working from home.

Jun 01, 2020

The 1,657 Canadian Armed Forces personnel sent to long-term care homes in Ontario and Quebec as part of the COVID-19 response are eligible for the same benefits as those serving overseas, says the Chief of the Defence Staff. Gen Jonathan Vance says designation of the assignment as a “specialty operation” during the pandemic “ensures that members have the timeliest access to disability and pension programs."

Jun 01, 2020

The first privately-operated spacecraft ferrying crew to the International Space Station docked 31 May some 19 hours after liftoff from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The success of the SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule, which carried two U.S. astronauts but was completely automated, sets the stage for more U.S. missions later this year rather than continuing to rely on Russian launch capabilities.

May 29, 2020

Navantia, a Spanish state-owned shipbuilder, has formed a joint venture with Northern Ireland’s Harland & Wolff to pursue a contract for up to three logistics ships which would support the Royal Navy’s new Queen Elizabeth-class aircraft carriers. The British defence ministry cancelled the program last year, saying initial bids did not represent value for money, but is expected to restart the procurement in September.

May 29, 2020

Three contracts worth a combined $1.425 billion for upgrades to Kuwait’s Patriot missile defence system have been approved by the U.S. Defense Security Cooperation Agency. Still subject to congressional endorsement and then negotiation of details, the upgrades are described as necessary for “greater security for its critical oil and natural gas infrastructure.”

May 29, 2020

Italian Defence Minister Lorenzo Guerini is rejecting calls on his government to cancel its procurement of Lockheed Martin F-35 fighters. Responding to calls by another political party which wants funds redirected to rebuilding the country’s economy in a post COVID-19 environment, he counters that cancellation would damage an industrial sector which offers “very significant economic returns to our nation.”

May 28, 2020

An initial round of some 6,700 layoffs by the Boeing Co. will have its greatest impact on the aerospace giant’s commercial aircraft division but only a minimal effect on its military development and manufacturing divisions. “The ongoing stability of our defense, space and related services businesses will help us limit overall impact, and we will continue hiring talent to support critical programs and meet our customers’ evolving needs,” a spokesman said 27 May.

May 27, 2020

In the early morning of 27 May 2020, a combined Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) and United States Navy (USN) search and recovery team deployed a remotely-operated vehicle at the crash site and quickly located the remains of fallen CAF personnel and a large piece of the fuselage at a depth of 3,143 metres.

May 27, 2020

Canadian Armed Forces personnel deployed to help civil authorities with long-term care facilities during the COVID-19 crisis have confirmed conditions in facilities which critics say have been known for some time. A CAF report states that personnel found that equipment was used on both infected and non-infected patients without being disinfected, and that a disregard for basic cleanliness had resulted in insect infestation and rotten food.

May 27, 2020

Russia says the U.S. administration’s impending withdrawal from the Open Skies Treaty will erode global security by making it more difficult for governments to interpret the intentions of other nations. President Donald Trump’s justification for the decision has been that Russian violations made it untenable for the U.S. to remain involved.

May 27, 2020

The U.S. public is being asked to comment on the White House’s strategy for controlling the evolution of fifth-generational telecommunications networks. The administration and the Department of Defense are pushing for the removal of what they see as “foreign adversaries” from the 5G supply chain, notably China’s Huawei telecom giant.

May 27, 2020

Hundreds of Taliban prisoners were released 26 May by the Afghan government in what is described as the single largest release since the U.S. and Taliban leaders signed a peace agreement earlier this year. The government announced it would release 900 prisoners as a three-day ceasefire was drawing to an end.

May 27, 2020

Glenn Fine, deputy inspector general in the Department of Defense, resigned 26 May after he had been effectively removed as head of a special board auditing the government’s $2.2-trillion COVID-19 economic relief package. His departure is the latest in a series of what are seen as political moves by the administration to curb its critics.

May 26, 2020

Billie Flynn, the former RCAF pilot who has been a test lead on Lockheed Martin’s development of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, was at the controls during two flights which damaged the aircraft’s stealth coating and tail. The incidents raised concerns about the F-35’s supersonic capabilities but Flynn has opted to set the record straight.

May 26, 2020

Initial height requirements for prospective pilots has been scrapped by the U.S. Air Force in a bid to encourage more female candidates. The long-standing policy, applicable for all types of aircraft, essentially limited candidates to between 5′4″ and 6′5″ standing or 34-40” seated. The new type-specific approach will use “anthropometric screening” as a first step.

May 26, 2020

The global simulator giant, CAE Inc., has reported a 44.3 percent drop in net income in its latest quarter because of travel restrictions and closures related to COVID-19. CAE President and CEO Marc Parent said military work was particularly affected.

May 26, 2020

A six per cent increase in its defence budget for 2020, to the equivalent of $178.2 billion from last year’s $167 billion is China’s lowest annual hike in nearly three decades.

May 26, 2020

The same day the U.S. warned vessels in the Persian Gulf against approaching within 100 yards of its warships, it demonstrated its defensive capabilities by having a Lockheed Martin AC-130W “Stinger” gunship conduct a live-fire exercise. The threat perimeter was announced after Iranian gunboats carried out “dangerous and provocative” approaches to several USN and Coast Guard vessels.

May 26, 2020

ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems has announced that it will buy a shipyard in southern Brazil to build that country’s new Tamandaré-class frigates. The German company heads the Águas Azuis consortium, which is building an initial four ships.

May 26, 2020

President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw the U.S. from the multinational Open Skies Treaty could a pose a strategic challenge for Canada, according to Rob Huebert, who teaches political science at the University of Calgary. He says Canada can either stick to its long-standing policy of supporting such agreements or risk looking “like a toady” by following Trump’s lead.

May 26, 2020

The first of five Iranian tankers loaded with gasoline arrived safely in Venezuela over the weekend with the others expected this week. The U.S. had signalled its displeasure and both countries breaching sanctions but there were no signs of interference with the initial traffic.

May 26, 2020

The prospect of having to deal with an estimated 900,000 pieces of debris in low-earth orbit when planning future space missions has prompted the UK Space Agency to set aside £1 million for research grants on how to sense and track objects which could be a threat.

May 25, 2020

Russian hackers are suspected of spreading COVID-19 pandemic disinformation about the Canadian-led NATO battle group in Latvia. “Definitely not true,” the task force commander, Col Eric Laforest, says of recent reports in some Baltic and Eastern European media that there was “a high number” of cases among the CAF at Camp Adazi near the capital city Riga.

May 25, 2020

A directed energy weapon developed by Northrop Grumman has been tested successfully against an unmanned aerial vehicle. The Laser Weapon System Demonstrator was fired from the amphibious transport dock ship USS Portland last week at an undisclosed Pacific location.

May 25, 2020

The Venezuelan military says it is preparing to protect five tankers expected to deliver Iranian gasoline despite U.S. sanctions on both countries. The minister of defence, Gen Vladimir Padrino López, says the tankers will be “welcomed” into Venezuela’s 370-kilometre offshore economic management zone.

May 25, 2020

Some 400 Winnipeg-based employees of Boeing are to be laid off due to the impact of COVID-19 on the manufacturer's global supply chain. The workers were told May 22 about the plan, which is part of a company-wide response to the pandemic and affects mainly the production of parts for Boeing commercial aircraft.

May 22, 2020

On Sunday, 24 May 2020, a homecoming ceremony for Captain Jennifer Casey will take place. A motorcade procession will travel from the Halifax Stanfield International Airport, through the city of Halifax, to the Atlantic Funeral Home. Spectators are requested to wear red and white.

May 22, 2020

Zhang Yesui, a spokesman for the National People’s Congress Foreign Affairs Committee, says China will firmly defend its interests “if the U.S. insists on a Cold War thinking, and carries out strategies to contain China.” Meeting with reporters in Beijing ahead of the upcoming parliamentary session, he said his country “never flinches when trouble comes its way.”

May 22, 2020

There has been a significant jump in the number of Canadian Armed Forces personnel who have tested positive for COVID-19 while working in long-term care facilities in Ontario and Quebec. As of 21 May, 28 service members have tested positive compared with only five the previous week.

Pentagon reverses COVID-19 policy
May 22, 2020

A Department of Defense directive that would have permanently blocked recruitment of any person who had tested positive for COVID-19 has been reversed by Matthew Donovan, the Undersecretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness. Recruitment of affected persons will remain suspended until they test negative for the coronavirus.

May 22, 2020

A $17-billion Indian Air Force plan to introduce 114 fighters is being delayed by discussion of “final nitty-gritties” but a veteran analyst says the new aircraft definitely will be manufactured domestically, albeit with foreign technology transfers.

May 22, 2020

The U.S. and Russia have had arms-length discussions of an updated nuclear arms control treaty, hoping to have face-to-face talks once the COVID-19 pandemic subsides. Moscow had indicated a month ago that it is willing to include some of its latest weapons in the current treaty if the U.S. agreed to extend it. The 2010 New START treaty is set to expire next year.

May 22, 2020

The U.S. administration has been pressing the United Nations and France for the leading role in the French-led UN peacekeeping mission in Mali. President Donald Trump’s administration has questioned the value and utility of the peacekeeping effort for more than three years and its push for leadership is seen as a prelude to a gradual reduction.

May 22, 2020

Zalmay Khalilzad, the U.S. peace envoy, visited Kabul earlier this week in a bid to reboot power-sharing talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban. Among other things, in a climate of escalating violence blamed on Daesh militants, he said too much time has been wasted in getting the two sides together.

May 22, 2020

The presidential appointment of Kenneth Braithwaite, a former ambassador to Norway, has been endorsed by the Senate. His predecessor, Richard Spence, was forced out of office due to his attempted intervention in a USN legal case. Braithwaite. a former anti-submarine warfare pilot, left active service in 1993 to enter the private sector.

May 21, 2020

The Commonwealth War Graves Commission is offering to personally lay tributes at graves and memorials in Normandy on behalf of relatives and veterans who cannot travel. Tribute requests received before 31 May will be placed in time for 6 June, the anniversary of the D-Day landings. Submissions received before the closing date on 7 June will be placed in the following two weeks. 

May 21, 2020

Lockheed Martin has selected the Florida subsidiary of CAE to design, develop and manufacture three C-130J Super Hercules full-motion training simulation platforms for U.S. Air Force Special Operations Command.

May 21, 2020

The 2002 Open Skies Treaty, a landmark 35-country accord designed to facilitate international transparency about military activities, is about to be abandoned by the U.S. Senior administration officials expect President Donald Trump, who has complained steadily about Russian violations, to formally announce the decision 22 May.

May 20, 2020

RCAF Captain Jennifer Casey died in the tragic accident of a Snowbird during take-off on Sunday, 17 May 2020. While members of the Casey family continue to work through their grieving process, they recognize that they share this terrible loss with many people across Canada. Read bilingual statement from the family. 

May 20, 2020

A remotely-operated vehicle will be used by Canada in an attempt to find and recover the Sikorsky CH-148 Cyclone maritime helicopter crashed in the Ionian Sea during a NATO exercise, killing six Canadian Armed Forces members on 29 April.

May 20, 2020

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says “very good questions” are being asked about the safety of the RCAF Snowbirds demonstration team in the aftermath of a weekend crash in B.C. that resulted in the death of one team member. The team lost one of its aircraft to a crash in the U.S. last October, prompting calls for their retirement but the team’s leader, LCol Mike French has pointed out that the vintage single-engine Tutor jets are effectively rebuilt every couple of years.

May 20, 2020

Two types of Lockheed Martin stealth fighters have crashed in Florida in the past four days. An F-35A Lightning II crashed on landing at Eglin Air Force Base 19 May while an F-22 Raptor had crashed earlier on a training range northeast of the base.

May 20, 2020

The U.S. Navy warned 19 May that it will take “lawful defensive measures” against any vessels that come within 100 metres of its vessels in Middle East waters. The main challenge lately has come from Iranian gunboats in the Strait of Hormuz and while the USN response has included warning shots, this the first time it has set a specific boundary line for more aggressive action.

May 20, 2020

Iranian naval forces say they will continue operations “in accordance with professional principles” in the Persian Gulf despite U.S. Navy warnings of possible armed response to any threats to gunboats which come too close to USN ships. The heightened U.S. security follows a recent confrontation with 11 Iranian vessels displayed “dangerous and provocative” behaviour by closing on U.S. ships in the Gulf.

May 19, 2020

The Indian navy’s need for new ani-submarine helicopters evidently was so critical that it was able to jump the Sikorsky MH60R Sea Hawk production line. A company spokesman has confirmed that the U.S. Navy agreed to change its own delivery schedule so that India could have three USN platforms modified to Indian requirements for delivery next spring rather than in 2023.

May 19, 2020

The X-37B space plane developed by Boeing for the U.S. Air Force was launched on its sixth mission 17 May. Its mostly military missions are generally classified, but the USAF has disclosed that its experiments this time includes microwave delivery of solar power to the Earth’s surface and a test of how seeds used for food products are affected by radiation and the zero-gravity environment.

May 19, 2020

The Canadian Center for Vaccinology at Dalhousie University has received Health Canada approval for the first domestic clinical trial of a potential COVID-19 vaccine. In announcing the development, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said the National Research Council will work with the Italian developer to ensure Canadian production if the trial succeeds.

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