Air Force

RCAF chooses Poseidon

The federal government confirmed today that it plans to procure at least 14 Boeing P-8A Poseidon surveillance aircraft to replace its Lockheed CP140s through a government-to-government agreement with the U.S. The CP-140s are a 1950s design which entered service with the RCAF in 1982 and is now scheduled for retirement in 2030. The RCAF has consistently defended the Boeing platform as the only currently available option with delivery expected to start in 2026. [node:read-more:link]

L3Harris focusing on security

Florida-based L3Harris Technologies, which has a long-standing relationship supplying surveillance technology to the Canadian military, announced November 27 that it will sell its commercial aviation business to a New York private-equity firm. Contingent on regulatory approval, it would enable the company to focus more on national security and technology while paying down debt. [node:read-more:link]

Reapers’ Arctic potential limited

A planned $5-billion RCAF procurement of General Atomics MQ-9B Reaper armed drones for Arctic deployment has been delayed until at least 2028. DND cites a need for “significant development work” on links to aerial and orbital communications as well as training [node:read-more:link]

F-35 sustainment challenge

Stalled talks between Lockheed Martin and the U.S. Department of Defense about a new F-35 sustainment program have prompted the DoD to consider a temporary fix through to at least the end of 2024. “That’s just to ensure that we have the necessary framework and support in place to sustain currently fielded F-35s and operations globally,” says Assistant Secretary of Defense Christopher Lowman. [node:read-more:link]

The Ghosts of Acquisitions Past

A major maritime patrol requirement was slowly progressing through the Definition phase, potentially heading toward Implementation, and most insiders believed there was only one real contender to replace the 40-year-old Aurora aircraft. Could Canada's Bombardier muscle in on a major defence procurement without a working prototype? Why not? It's been tried before, but with decidedly limited success. [node:read-more:link]

First trek for Canada's new Husky

The first of five used Kuwaiti Airbus A-330-200s, purchased for RCAF VIP and other transport roles last year and rebadged as a CC-330 Husky, completed the first leg of its inaugural mission November 15. Officially designated Airbus 02, it carried Prime Minister Trudeau and his entourage to San Francisco for the latest Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit. [node:read-more:link]

Boeing maintains AWACS role

NATO has opted for an off-the-shelf approach to replacing its fleet of 14 Boeing 707-based E-3A Sentry surveillance platforms with an initial six E-7A Wedgetails, the first of which is expected to be operational by 2031. NATO says the new aircraft is “the only known military-off-the-shelf/non-developmental system currently capable of fulfilling the strategic commands’ essential operational requirements […] within the timeframe required.” [node:read-more:link]

Last Buffalo out to pasture

The RCAF’s last de Havilland CC-115 Buffalo is being reassembled at the Canada Aviation & Space Museum in Ottawa after delivery on six flatbed trucks. Purchased in the late 1960s, the fleet provided medium tactical transportation and search and rescue services at home and abroad, eventually focusing on SAR mission out of Comox, B.C. [node:read-more:link]

RCAF major charged with weapons offence

Kendrick Barling, an RCAF major who recently wound up a five-year U.S. posting, faces a battery of criminal charges after the Canada Border Services Agency found prohibited weapons in his household effects. The CBSA's Ontario Firearms Smuggling Enforcement Team executed search warrants at residences in Kingston and Petawawa. [node:read-more:link]

Champagne mum on CP-140 replacement

Boeing’s P-8A Poseidon, a variant of its 737-800 civilian jet, evidently doesn’t have a lock on the proposal to replace the RCAF’s CP-140 Aurora surveillance platform. Addressing calls by Bombardier and General Dynamics for an open-source bid, Innovation, Science & Industry Minister François-Philippe Champagne now is declining comment. “There is no decision,” he said November 7. “In military acquisitions, it is rarely very, very fast; it's complex, too.” [node:read-more:link]

RCAF helicopter threatened by China

A Chinese fighter pilot’s decision to dispense missile-deterring flares close to an RCAF CH-148 Cyclone helicopter recently was a risky move which could have disabled the aircraft. The incident in international airspace, which occurred October 29 over the South China Sea when the helicopter was deployed from HMCS Ottawa, was the second that day. [node:read-more:link]

P-8 decision disputed

Bombardier and General Dynamics Mission Systems say Boeing had an unfair advantage in the competition to provide replacements for the RCAF’s CP-140 Aurora patrol aircraft. In a letter to Public Services &Procurement Minister Jean-Yves Duclos, they say the government’s approach favoured the P-8 Poseidon. [node:read-more:link]

Canadians in Lebanon on their own

More than 17,000 Canadians in Lebanon have registered with their embassy in Beirut for evacuation as an Israeli-Hesbollah conflict escalates. However, Global Affairs Canada says they should not count on a military airlift. The GAC notice October 30 echoed comment a week earlier by Foreign Affairs Minister Mélanie Joly. [node:read-more:link]

Hornets losing their sting

The RCAF’s remaining Boeing CF-188 Hornet squadrons are suffering from low morale, instructor losses and a technicians shortage, according to a commissioned analysis by the Royal United Services Institute. The researcher who wrote the British think-tank’s report says “urgent action must be taken now, before the decline becomes completely irreversible.” [node:read-more:link]

Problems with RCAF plan?

With the government involved in discussions about a planned $8-billion procurement of Boeing P-8s as replacements for the RCAF’s ageing Lockheed Martin CP-140 Aurora surveillance platforms, it’s reported that the U.S. Government Accountability Office expressed concerns a year ago about spare parts and basic aircraft reliability. [node:read-more:link]


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