CAE USA awarded contract to support space research
Posted on Jun 30, 2022

CAE today announced CAE USA has been awarded a prototype contract from the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) Space Vehicles Directorate’s Simulation & Technology Assessment Branch. The prototype is part of an initiative with the Space Technology Advanced Research – Fast-tracking Innovative Software and Hardware (STAR-FISH).

Under terms of the three-year contract, CAE USA will develop a prototype to support testing, training, evaluation, and the development of tactics and systems for the Joint Warfighter. The prototype will be a software emulator that incorporates artificial intelligence (AI) to enhance the White Force Cell supporting the US Air Force Distributed Mission Operations Center (DMOC). This enables accurate presentation and interaction of synthetic forces and capabilities across a multi-domain environment to the DMOC training audience.

“CAE has long been an industry leader providing modeling and simulation solutions, and we are excited to be working with AFRL,” says Leonard Genna, Vice President & General Manager of Mission Systems, CAE Defense and Security. “Our simulation expertise and adaptive learning solutions help provide a secure environment to test tactics and scenarios that ultimately support informed decision-making.”

As part of the STAR-FISH initiative, CAE USA will develop prototype software that enables simulation of current and future capabilities operating across a multi-domain environment.  The software will simulate a range of capabilities and threats to include physical and digital environments the DMOC White Force Cell would normally have to replicate themselves or provide verbal/written injects to the training audience.  Thus, the prototype software will enable the White Force Cell to free limited personnel resources and create more realistic interactive combat scenarios.

“Supporting the rapidly advancing multi-domain capabilities requires more synthetic and mixed-reality training environments where air, land, maritime, space and cyber are integrated holistically for multi-domain operations,” says Dan Gelston, Group President, CAE Defense & Security. “We have 75 years of experience and expertise in modeling and simulation that can provide our warfighters an unparalleled training experience in digital ecosystems that will enhance readiness.”

CAE’s Defense & Security business unit is at the leading edge of digital innovation providing training and mission support solutions across multi-domain operations – air, land, maritime, space and cyber.  Its training and operational support solutions support customers in complex, high-stakes environments where mission readiness and successful outcomes are critical.  The company's acquisition of L3Harris’ Military Training business in 2021, including Link and Doss Aviation, has enabled CAE to create the world’s leading pure play, platform agnostic training and simulation company serving the global defence market.

Volatus to provide RPAS training to Moose Cree First Nation
Posted on Jun 29, 2022

Moose Cree First Nation signs ground-breaking Remotely Piloted Aircraft System (RPAS) technical skills training agreement with Volatus Aerospace on 27 June 2022.

The training activity will take place in the Moose Cree community and Volatus will mentor to develop critical skills and infrastructure for a robust RPAS business servicing the community.

“Working with Moose Cree First Nation to establish an in-community base of trained RPAS operators is a very important first step in forming a foundation for a successful RPAS business” states Rob Walker, Volatus COO. “We envisage Moose Cree’s RPAS capability developing into future cargo delivery, hot spot fire mapping, ice flow surveillance, search and rescue activities, and various infrastructure inspection capabilities.”

Moose Cree Director of Economic Development, Stan Kapashesit stated: “We chose to work with Volatus and Indigenous Aerospace because of their broad knowledge base in all things RPAS. Their demonstrated expertise in pilot training, regulatory obligations and safety systems will prove invaluable as we look at our future growth into cargo operations, mapping, inspections, and search and rescue missions. We are proud to launch our RPAS initiative which will serve our community and build our knowledge and capacity to support growth and economic success.”

Volatus Aerospace Corp. is a leading provider of integrated drone solutions throughout Canada, the United States, and Latin America. Operating a vast pilot network, Volatus serves commercial and defence markets with imaging and inspection, security and surveillance, equipment sales and support, training, and design, manufacturing, and R&D. Through its subsidiary Volatus Aviation, Volatus carries on the business of aircraft management, charter sales, and cargo services using piloted, remotely piloted, and autonomous aircraft.

Sikorsky scores major contract
Posted on Jun 28, 2022
Lockheed Martin delivers economic benefits in Canada
Posted on Jun 12, 2022

Lockheed Martin announced it has successfully completed the contracted Industrial and Regional Benefits (IRB) obligations associated with three Canadian programs.

The investment obligations, valued at just over $425 million, have created robust economic activity for a wide range of academic institutions and small-and-medium sized businesses – 93 Canadian organizations in total.

These programs include:

  1. Canada’s Halifax Class Modernization Design and Build program for the Royal Canadian Navy. (Economic impact valued at over $1.14 Billion)
  2. Canada’s procurement of the P-3 Aircraft Service Life Extension Program (ASLEP) for the Canadian Forces’ CP-140 Aurora aircraft fleet. (Economic impact valued at over $265 Million)
  3. Canada’s procurement of the Advanced Multi-Role Infrared Sensor (AMIRS) to upgrade the Canadian Forces CF-18 aircraft fleet. (Economic impact valued at over $160 Million.)

“These investments made across Canada demonstrate how defence procurement serves as a catalyst for innovation, research and economic development,” said Lorraine Ben, chief executive, Lockheed Martin Canada. On the AMIRS program alone, the economic impact, valued at over $160 Million, overachieved the Industrial and Technological Benefits (ITB) contract obligation six-fold.

Across the country, small-and-medium sized business benefited from their inclusion in the projects mentioned above by providing a wide range of services – either through direct involvement across the supply chain or through investments made by Lockheed Martin.

  • For ASLEP this includes detailed parts assembly, software assurance and other manufacturing needs. The University of New Brunswick, Conestoga College, the University of Northern British Columbia, the University of Toronto and the British Columbia Institute of Technology are among the academic institutions that benefited from research investments made by Lockheed Martin.
  • For AMIRS this includes procurement of a diverse array of products from Canada including precision castings, electro-optical turrets, satellite payloads, ruggedized embedded computers, laser detector chips, underwater robotics, and more. Quebec and Atlantic province firms were outstanding suppliers and enabled Lockheed Martin to exceed its quota for these commitment categories. 

Canada’s original IRB Policy, which later evolved to Canada’s Industrial and Technological Benefits (ITB) policy, applies to all defence and Canadian Coast Guard procurements over $100 million that are not subject to trade agreements, or for which the national security exception is invoked. The ITB policy, which includes the Value Proposition, leverages defence and Canadian Coast Guard procurements to contribute to jobs, innovation and economic growth across the country. It contractually requires companies that are awarded defence procurement contracts to undertake business activity in Canada equal to the value of the contracts they have won.

Stoeger Canada to deliver sniper rifles
Posted on Jun 10, 2022

Defence Minister Anita Anand announced today that 229 new cutting edge multi-calibre bolt-action sniper rifles are on their way to the Canadian Army. Final deliveries are expected to be completed by the end of this year.This successful procurement milestone represents the final major piece of Canada’s Sniper Systems project. The contract, valued at $2.6 million was awarded on 11 August 2021 to Stoeger Canada.

The SAKO TRG M10 bolt-action sniper rifle, being dubbed the C21 in Canada, is a multiple-calibre, manually operated and magazine-fed system. The magazine will hold between 8 and 10 rounds depending on calibre and include both regular and armour-piercing rounds. ​The C21 has a proven effective range of 1200 metres, and is "very capable" beyond that distance.

According to a company press release, "its fully adjustable stock and interchangeable barrel/bolt system, among other features, make it a multi-functional system in a single weapon, suitable for any operational situation. The rifle includes ambidextrous controls and tactile indicators for different calibres. Furthermore, its action frame and barrels are cold hammer-forged from special alloyed steel for extra rigidity. The rifle underwent extensive and arduous testing by the DND during trial phases, passing all tests and showcasing the performance that has earned SAKO its worldwide reputation."

The Canadian contract covers 229 C21 sniper rifles and associated accessories such as suppressors and cleaning/maintenance kits. These new weapons are part of a wider project to equip sniper teams with new clothing, equipment, and weapons to improve our soldiers’ ability to operate effectively in various environments and under a range of conditions.

Sniper rifles provide accurate direct fire on targets beyond the capacities of most small arms such as the C7 rifle. The new C21 sniper rifle will replace the current C14 and C3A1 sniper rifles and provide Canadian Army snipers with a next generation weapon with a proven effective range of 1200 metres. Deliveries of the C21 are expected to be completed by the end of 2022.

The overarching Sniper System project has delivered items such as in-line night vision devices, load carriage system, personal protective equipment, environmental clothing, C20 semi-automatic sniper rifles, ammunition and ballistic calculators used to help plot a firing trajectory to target.

According to a DND press release, the C21 will provide the following improvements over the Canadian Army's current C14 and C3A1:

  • multi-calibre (7.62x51mm and .338 Lapua Magnum),
  • lighter, with a 60% longer barrel life,
  • adjustable, with a folding stock to make it easier to transport and to accommodate various user types,
  • adaptable for in-line night vision devices to increase operational effectiveness,
  • fully interchangeable with a design that allows whole fleet management and faster/easier repairs with simple part replacement.

Providing the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) with the modern equipment and specialized tools they need is a priority for the Government of Canada and a principle tenet of Canada’s defence policy, Strong, Secure, Engaged.

Saudis may purchase Israeli defence systems
Posted on Jun 4, 2022

Saudi Arabia has expressed its interest in the immediate purchase of some Israeli made air defence systems. According to an Israeli senior defence source there are advanced negotiations about some of the systems.

Israeli Defence Minister Benny Gantz and the past two heads of the Mossad have visited Saudi Arabia in recent years, Israeli daily Israel Hayom reported on Sunday.

In recent weeks, media coverage of Israel's ties with Saudi Arabia has increased ahead of US President Joe Biden's possible visit to Saudi Arabia during his Middle East visit in late June.

Previous to this, then-Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met with then-US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in Neom, Saudi Arabia, in November 2020.

The Saudi interest in some very advanced Israeli-made air defence systems increased significantly immediately after the 2019 Houthi attack on the Aramco oil facilities in Saudi Arabia.

According to Yemen's Houthi rebels, their drones attacked two major oil facilities inside Saudi Arabia, damaging facilities that process 95% of the country's crude output, and raising the risk of a disruption in world oil supplies.

In recent weeks, the talks about a possible purchase of Israeli-made air defence systems have accelerated. However, in response to an inquiry for confirmation, a spokesperson of the Israeli ministry of defence explained they "do not discuss negotiations with customers for Israeli made defense systems."

A senior defence source says the Saudis are also showing great interest in the Iron Dome and Spyder made by Rafael and the Barak MX made by Israel aerospace industries (IAI). He says the Saudis were "very impressed" by the results of the recent test of an upgraded version of the Iron Dome, which was put through a range of complex scenarios and successfully intercepted and destroyed targets simulating existing and emerging threats, including the simultaneous interception of multiple UAVs as well as a salvo of rockets and missiles.

The Saudi interest in the IAI BARK MX in particular was boosted when Morocco signed a contract to purchase the system.

The Barak-MX is a modular air defence system that is designed to address missile and aircraft threats. It operates on both marine platforms and land, and is capable of simple integration with any existing legacy or sensors. All of its Land Deployable components (BMC, Launchers with interceptors and Radars) can be operated from static infrastructure or can be truck mounted and deployed to temporal operational sites.

According to the developer, Barak MX’s innovative, software based modular approach offers "exceptional flexibility in operation and power build up and ensures simple adaptation to future threats, making it one of the most powerful, all weather, day & night solutions" for today’s most challenging threats.

Professor Uzi Rabi, an Israeli senior expert on Middle East and Gulf issues, told FrontLine that the big interest of the Saudis in Israeli defence systems is a direct outcome from their understanding the Iran with a bomb will also reflect of their proxies like the Houthis. "This new phase in the relations between Saudi Arabia and Israel is in the interest of the U.S." adds Prof Rabi. "I will not be surprised if, in the planned visit of president Biden in the Middle East, a formal White House announcement will be released about the establishment of new relations between Riyadh and Jerusalem."

Arie Egozi is a defence journalist based in Tel Aviv.

HMNZS Te Mana modernization completed
Posted on May 31, 2022

31 May 2022 – Her Majesty’s New Zealand Ship (HMNZS) Te Mana left Canadian Forces Base Esquimalt to begin the long voyage home today after completing refit and modernization at Seaspan’s Victoria Shipyards in British Columbia.


Arriving in Canada on 12 March 2019 to start her combat management system upgrades, Te Mana was the second New Zealand Navy ship to arrive in Canada for refit. Te Kaha had previously undergone a 10-month refit that began in March 2018. 

As the prime systems integrator, Lockheed Martin Canada was responsible for installation of upgraded systems on both Anzac Class Frigates for the New Zealand Navy – HMNZS Te Kaha and HMNZS Te Mana. Equipped with Lockheed Martin Canada’s Combat Management System CMS 330, integrating modern sub-systems and supported by a Combat Systems Trainer, these upgrades provide the ship’s crew with advanced protection and superior capabilities for a variety of modern naval operations.

Lockheed Martin Canada has worked closely with New Zealand’s Ministry of Defence, which led the project throughout. “From the start of installation work on the first ship in 2019 to this milestone departure of Te Mana for Aotearoa New Zealand, the upgrade has required a major logistical effort from everyone involved,” said Jon Finderup, the Ministry’s Director Maritime Domain. “Staff and personnel from Canada and New Zealand worked together to deliver this highly complex project during a time of significant global challenge, and we look forward to welcoming Te Mana and the ship’s crew home.”

CMS 330 is the backbone of the technical solution that integrates various legacy and new subsystems on the Anzac Class Ships. The open architecture design is a core solution that adapts to a variety of subsystems.

“Our partnership with the Royal New Zealand Navy delivers unmatched capability that supports New Zealand’s national interests and strategic naval objectives,” said Glenn Copeland, general manager, Lockheed Martin Canada Rotary and Mission Systems. “Supporting six classes of ships across three different navies, the CMS 330 Canadian pedigree and demonstrated interoperability between allied countries also propels further growth for our team and extended Canadian supply chain.”

Lockheed Martin Canada’s CMS 330 is being integrated into three new ship classes in Canada for the next 40+ years –the Canadian Surface Combatants, the Arctic and Offshore Patrol Ships, and Joint Support Ships.

In addition to New Zealand, it is also being included on three Chilean Navy ships, strengthening the partnership and naval interoperability between the Royal New Zealand Navy, the Armada de Chile and the Royal Canadian Navy.

CMS 330 was developed in Canada, by Canadians. It has created and sustained economic opportunities in communities across the country, where a number of jobs are being supported in Ottawa, Montreal, Halifax and Victoria through the software and hardware design, engineering, production, and testing of the advanced technology.

Headquartered in Ottawa, Lockheed Martin Canada is the Canadian unit of Lockheed Martin Corporation, a global security and aerospace company that employs some 114,000 people worldwide. Lockheed Martin Canada has been Canada's trusted defence partner for over 80 years, specializing in the development, integration, and sustainment of advanced technology systems, products, and services. More than 1,400 employees at major facilities in Ottawa, Montreal, Halifax, Calgary and Victoria work on a wide range of major programs spanning the aerospace, defence, and commercial sectors.

Networked, Integrated Air Defence from IAI
Posted on May 31, 2022

Adapting to the rapidly changing challenges of modern air warfare, air defence systems leverage open architecture, modular design, and software-based agility to transform into agile and advanced network-centric Integrated Air Defense System (IADS).

Legacy air defences built in the 1990s and early 2000 were bound to rigid and hierarchical formations and centralized command and control to achieve their mission. The proliferation of such weapons creates an operational paradigm shift of the threat. For legacy systems designed to defeat aircraft, meeting such capabilities requires massive investment in new strategies and expensive upgrades of existing hardware. To remain effective and potent, the IADS must maintain its effectiveness against electronic attack and suppression.

Modern IADS, such as the BARAK MX,  are required to flexibly deploy and provide optimized coverage against all known threats, whether fixed-wing or rotary-wing manned aircraft, unmanned aircraft, ballistic, cruise, and anti-ship missiles, and loitering weapons. Modern IADS are integrated via networks, allowing for seamless data sharing, limited only by commanders’ decisions to delegate roles, responsibilities, and decision-making.

By delegating defensive actions to different elements distributed throughout the defended area, the networked IADS can simultaneously execute multiple kill chains, and thus mitigate uncertainties in battle. Moreover, the networked systems can easily delegate tasks for complex threat mitigation and to overcome the destruction or isolation of particular nodes.

IAI offers the BARAK MX system as a modern IADS and as part of multi-layered air and missile defence system. The system relies on the network-enabled architecture, featuring centralized battle management and independent operation, utilizing the smart-launcher concept. As such, the modular and customized BARAK-MX fire unit can be networked to a central battle management node, operate as a classic battery Fire Unit (FU), or act in a stand-alone mode. It can also merge those modes of operation into a hybrid model.

The system’s agility is reflected by the fire unit (FU) design. The system consists of a Smart Launcher designed for land-based or naval applications. The unit can load a mix of BARAK interceptors – The Medium Range Air Defense Missile (BARAK MRAD), effective up to 35 km, the Long-Range variant (BARAK LRAD) effective at up to 70 km, and the BARAK ER, effective up to 150 km and with additional anti-ballistic missile capabilities. The three missiles maintain a high level of commonality, differing from each other only in elements related to the specific performance of each variant. The Battle Management System (BMS) provided as part of the system or by the customer, manages all smart launchers and interceptors associated with the system, whether local or remote, thus achieving the highest success rate while maintaining the most efficient battle economy.

 IAI - Barak MX Launcher
IAI’s Barak MX Launcher (photo: IAI)

Network-Centric operation enables each node to generate and share a situational picture, receive target allocations and tracks from the battle management center and perform intercepts in a network-centric operation. The sky picture and early warnings are processed and synthesized by the battle manager by fusing all available sensors. This common picture is constantly updated and distributed to each node. When threats are detected, the battle manager allocates targets to each fire unit to pursue, based on tracks provided by local or remote sensors, and according to a battle plan that considers each target data, the location of fire units, state of ammunition and the probability of kill. This coordination ensures optimal use of interceptors, eliminates ‘double booking’ of targets, and ensures all fire units remain loaded to continue the mission. The battle manager function can be distributed and reallocated to different elements, as the situation requires.

BARAK MX leverage the radars developed by Elta Systems, or other radars, including the land-based ELM-2084 MMR or naval MF-STAR. However, to better integrate with existing air defence systems, IAI has streamlined connections with command and control and radar systems the user provides.  The ability to fuse sensors and interceptors into a single system lies at the heart of Barak MX architecture and is a significant element in its attractiveness to clients. As a modular, software configurable system, Barak MX can be upgraded and enhanced to cover more options by software changes, enabling customers to tailor the plan to meet different challenges. 

Such a layout enables air defenders to face attacks from different directions, heights, and trajectories, posing a complex multi-dimensional Anti-Access Area Denial (A2AD) defence capability.

 IAI’s leading air and missile defense system (photo: IAI)

As reflected by current tenders issued by advanced militaries, net-centric IADS systems are becoming the go-to concept, as they provide the highest operational& advantage and cost and benefit, becoming a profound safeguard against evolving threats. But nations are not satisfied with owning such systems; they want to become sovereign in this critical capability. Since BARAK MX was designed entirely by IAI, the company shares sensitive technology with its partners within the guidelines of Israel’s defence systems export regulation, but without restrictions from third parties. Under this policy, IAI is ready to transfer technology and manufacturing know-how to local partners.

CC-295 Kingfisher operationalization update
Posted on May 5, 2022

Search and Rescue (SAR) is a critical component to Canada’s safety and security but existing fixed-wing (FW) SAR aircraft have long been in need of replacement. With a contract currently valued at $2.9B (including taxes), the Government of Canada is acquiring a fleet of 16 new fixed-wing search and rescue sensor-equipped aircraft – the CC-295 Kingfisher – but the operationalization has seen delays.

The initial operational capability of the Airbus CC-295 has recently been delayed from the summer of 2022 to the 2025-2026 timeframe.

Airbus C-295 first flight to Canada in 2019
Airbus C-295 first flight to Canada in 2019.

Government project managers continue to work in close cooperation with Airbus to ensure that the challenges are addressed in a timely manner.

The delays are associated with design and development adjustments due to unforeseen technical issues, as well as the impacts of COVID-19, that have compounded the complexity of the project and the volume of remaining work. While the delay is unfortunate, DND says these types of issues are not unusual given the complexity of the capability being developed.

It is crucial that the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) maintain a SAR capability across Canada, which is why an approach has been implemented to maintain SAR coverage using existing fleets until the new CC-295 capability is operational.

The retirement of the CC-115 Buffalo means an interim solution to fixed-wing SAR coverage is required. To ensure ongoing coverage, the CAF will continue to rely on the existing CC-130 Hercules aircraft until the CC-295 is able to assume SAR operations.

  • Interim Fixed-wing search and rescue coverage in Search and Rescue Region Victoria is being provided by 435 Squadron operating CC-130H Hercules aircraft out of Winnipeg.  Beginning at the end of May 2022, two CC-130H Hercules will deploy to Comox, BC, to be operated directly from there. The interim coverage plan will remain flexible and can be adjusted as required.
  • Search and Rescue Region Victoria will have ongoing support from the CH-149 Cormorant helicopter - a highly-capable SAR aircraft based at 442 Squadron in Comox. For fixed-wing support for missions at sea, in addition to the CC-130, Joint Rescue Coordination Centre Victoria may also call upon the Royal Canadian Air Force’s 407 Squadron CP-140 Auroras and U.S. Coast Guard fixed-wing aircraft to support a Cormorant if needed.

A DND press release said: "We are taking appropriate action to ensure this vital service will continue to be available for those in need, while also taking the time necessary to procure the right aircraft for Canada – not only to deliver the required platforms and capacity to our CAF members, but also to ensure that those capabilities satisfy our operational requirements."

Canada’s modern new CC-295 fleet will allow the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) to conduct more effective search and rescue missions in all weather conditions, including in reduced visibility, and at long range.

This October 2019 photo shows CC-295 in full RCAF livery.

The CC-295 Kingfisher will operate from 19 Wing Comox; 8 Wing Trenton, ON; 14 Wing Greenwood, NS; and 17 Wing Winnipeg, MB. These are the same locations currently providing search and rescue services across the country.

As part of the contract, in addition to providing 16 new aircraft, Airbus has constructed a new simulator-equipped training centre in Comox, BC to provide training, maintenance and support services for the delivered CC-295 aircraft.

Rheinmetall AR training to German Air Force maintainers
Posted on May 4, 2022

The German Air Force has turned once again to Rheinmetall's simulation and training expertise for training its maintainer personnel on the A400M military transport aircraft.

Rheinmetall won the tender in December 2021 from Germany's Federal Agency for Bundeswehr Equipment Information Technology and In-Service Support (BAAINBw) for advanced training rigs and augmented reality (AR) systems for training maintenance and repair personnel for the A400M. The order is worth a figure in the lower two-digit million-euro range.

The plan currently calls for equipping the Technical Training Centre of the German Air Force's Department North at Wunstorf Air Base with several high fidelity training rigs, including an AR capability. Developed specially for this user, they will enable effective, highly realistic training of maintenance and repair personnel, without tying up the actual aircraft. As a result, training operations will not adversely affect the availability and readiness of Germany's A400M fleet.

Rheinmetall's Augmented Reality (AR) maintainer training system

By combining the training rig with supplementary AR, the concept developed by Rheinmetall Electronics enables a comprehensive, integrated approach to training that encompasses the relevant maintenance procedures, including all work steps. It is also possible to use the training rigs without the AR system.

The training rigs are detailed replicas of various parts of the A400M aircraft. Thanks to an integrated concept comprising the training rigs and supplementary AR system, maintenance personnel can practice maintenance procedures just as if they were working on a real aircraft. This includes pre- and post-operational activities in and around the aircraft as well as the actual mechanical procedures. The AR system is able to depict activities that cannot be practiced on the training rig, ensuring better overall comprehension in each training situation, while simultaneously placing tasks conducted on the individual rigs into the proper context.

Instruction conducted with the training rigs is certifiable in accordance with DEMAR, Germany's military airworthiness regulations.

This training concept for the A400M platform is a beacon in the modern training of maintenance personnel pointing the way forward not only for the Bundeswehr but also for the armed forces of other A400M user nations. Moreover, the concept can be adapted for use with other platforms.

Representing a well-aimed expansion of the Group's comprehensive A400M Rear Crew Training product line, the training rigs and AR system significantly widen the spectrum of Rheinmetall training assets.

Besides the training rigs and AR, Rheinmetall supplies additional cargo training devices to various A400M user nations. These include the A400M Cargo Hold Part Task Trainer (CPTT), different advanced Cargo Hold Trainer Enhanced (CHT-E) systems as well as the Load Master Working Station Trainer (LMWST).