For the past few years, we have compiled a list of the top 20 items or exhibits that stood out to us at the CANSEC show. Once again, Esprit de Corps not only had a booth at the exhibition, we also had a full team of reporters and our intrepid photographer, Richard Lawrence, roaming the aisles. In alphabetical order, here are 20 gadgets or exhibitors that made a lasting impression after the last displays had been torn down.
Airbus Canada’s kick-off party
While the company always commissions one of the largest booths and deploys a sizeable contingent of executives and experts, it is their annual reception that sets them apart. Habitually held on the Tuesday afternoon preceding the actual show, the Airbus reception has evolved into the unofficial kick-off party for CANSEC, Canada’s largest defence and security show. The exquisite Courtyard Restaurant in Ottawa’s Byward Market has become the standard locale and attendees are a veritable “who’s who” of the Canadian and international defence industry.
Arktos Evacuation Craft
Although Esprit de Corps readers may now be familiar with this unique vehicle, the fact is that it remains an incredibly impressive and innovative machine. It is basically a go-anywhere articulated tracked vehicle that can conquer rough terrain, ice and water. The Arktos craft is massive in scope, being able to transport up to 52 people. It is particularly well suited for operations in the Arctic as its forward compartment can use its tracks to actually claw its way out of flowing water onto ice, while using the rear portion to provide buoyancy. This incredible machine is also heat resistant, which opens up a whole new world of possibilities such as fighting fires in Alberta’s oil patch.
Atlas Elektronik’s SeaSpider Torpedo
It was announced at the CANSEC show that Atlas Elektronik would be partnering with Magellan Aerospace to develop the SeaSpider anti-torpedo torpedo. The basic concept is that, if a conventional torpedo threat is detected, a warship will fire the SeaSpider torpedo to deliver a “hard-kill” solution. This means that the SeaSpider will use its superior speed to engage and destroy the threat. Magellan will be taking the lead on the underwater rocket propulsion of the SeaSpider.
For those of us old enough to remember the 1970s TV show The
Six Million Dollar Man, the word “bionic” still conjures up futuristic science fiction images. Flash forward to 2016 and Bionic Power of Vancouver is in the development stages of what is essentially a lightweight exoskeleton (pictured) designed to accommodate a soldier’s full range of motion, and to harvest the energy generated into recharging the batteries that have become so essential to all of the future soldier systems. It is of course a long way off from Steve Austin – a.k.a. TV’s bionic man, running at 100 kilometres an hour — but it is still pretty cool.
Boeing’s Tailgate party
Yes, it is true that Boeing had a large booth and a full F-18 Super Hornet simulator in the outdoor display area. However, where Boeing earned its full credit from Esprit de Corps was at the post-CANSEC Commando Hockey Challenge 5 tailgate party (for more on the hockey game go to page 26 of this issue). Approximately 240 guests including Chief of Defence Staff General Jonathan Vance and his wife Kerry enjoyed Boeing’s generous hospitality. Tubs of beer, cold drinks, delicious food and fantastic country singers for entertainment? That’s how Boeing does a tailgate party.
Bombardier’s Recreational Vehicles
While not technically a military product, Bombardier had its Spyder F-3-P police vehicle (pictured) on display at CANSEC. The three-wheeled vehicles provide more stability than a motorcycle, as well as lots more storage room. A hybrid between an automobile and a motorcycle, the Spyder is very popular as a recreational vehicle in Quebec, but it has yet to be seen if there is a market for them among law enforcement agencies. One can envision Mall
Cop’s Paul Blart graduating from his Segway to one of these machines.
Colt Canada’s MRR
No defence show is complete without assault rifles, and the Colt Canada booth drew a constant crowd anxious to see the latest developments in infantry and special forces weaponry. The star attraction was the new modular rail rifle in a variety of different configurations.
Davie Shipyard & Operation Resolve
One of the attractions of the Davie booth was the virtual tour you could experience (pictured). By donning the headset you were transmitted inside Canada’s soon-to-be-newest supply ship. An animated image of Davie executive Spencer Fraser provides the briefing and tour, which concludes with a helicopter ride to view the ship from a variety of different angles. Remove the headset and you realize you never left your chair, and the real-life Spencer Fraser is standing right there … still talking.
Discovery Air Defence Services
While Discovery Air is competing for a potential $1.5 billion contract to provide air services to the RCAF for up to 15 years, the company’s booth was notable for its grounded tranquility. The plush sofas and carpet were a welcoming oasis amidst a bustling trade show floor. They were also the only exhibitor dispensing delicious cupcakes. We are not sure of the connection between advanced aviation services and tasty baked goods, but does there really need to be one?
General Dynamics Land Systems’ CSV
To demonstrate the versatility of its basic Light Armoured Vehicle – Combat Support Vehicle (LAV–CSV), General DynamicsLand Systems – Canada had a display vehicle featuring two different paint schemes. The right half was combat green, while the left side of the LAV-CSV was painted in white with a red cross denoting an ambulance variant. The CSV is based on the success of the LAV 6.0 platform, which is currently in production to provide the Canadian Army with 550 modern armoured personnel carriers.
General Dynamics’ Brew Station
It has become something of a tradition for the General Dynamics booth to dispense coffees and cappuccinos. Of all the other freebies offered, a cup of gourmet caffeine remains one of the most practical, given the early starts, long days and often boozy lunches. Kudos to GD.
HDT Global Shelters
It is one thing for a manufacturer to claim the ease of assembly of their product, but it’s not often one can actually get the hands-on experience to confirm it. HDT Global was generous enough to provide us with one of their shelters for Commando Hockey Challenge 5’s post-hockey tailgate party — providing that the crew at Esprit
de Corps could assemble it. In theory six trained soldiers can put up this massive tent in one hour; in practice, six untrained guys and gals from Esprit de Corps — under HDT supervision — took just 75 minutes to put up the tent complete with lights and power. A very impressive system indeed.
Marc “D-Buckleman” Beaudoin, proprietor of Hudson Supplies, is a larger-than-life character with a heart of gold. His unique products include a wide variety of military-grade fasteners and buckles, including a magnetic chinstrap. As in previous shows, this year’s booth featured a patch swap, wherein military personnel could trade one of their own for a distinctive Hudson patch. Beaudoin is also a proud supporter of Military Minds, a charitable organization dedicated to assisting soldiers affected by PTSD.
INKAS Armoured Vehicles
Always a crowd favourite are the INKAS armoured cars which have tended to be heavily protected but still luxurious VIP transportation vehicles. With the new Sentry armoured personnel carriers, INKAS is looking to attract military forces, SWAT teams and other law enforcement agencies. One unique feature of the Sentry is a removable vehicle-mounted barrier intended for crowd control.
Lockheed Martin – F-35 Simulator
Test pilot Billie Flynn worked tirelessly for two solid days using the LMCO flight simulator to demonstrate to non-pilots just how capable the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter really is. Esprit de Corps’ own Adam Peace – all 6’7” of him, strapped into the cockpit and soared into the blue skies of the simulator monitor to shoot down the bad guys. Mission accomplished.
Everyone at a defence trade show likes things that go ‘boom’ and Nammo has excelled in making such products for generations. Featured at this year at CANSEC was Nammo’s new munitions for the 40mm grenade launchers currently in service with the Canadian Army. The new High Explosive – Dual Purpose (HEDP) rounds feature precision airburst settings that allow the gunner to take out targets even when hiding behind cover. These new rounds can also penetrate 65mm of armour before detonating, making them a lethal threat against lightly armoured vehicles.
Looking like something out of a Mad Max movie, Polaris had two of its special forces off-road vehicles on display at CANSEC. Currently in service in the U.S. and 20 other countries, the lightweight, robust MRZRs are easily air transportable. The original MRZR had a gas power train, with the latest model featuring turbo diesel propulsion. Mad Max would approve.
Pratt & Whitney
On hand at the Pratt & Whitney booth was a scale model of their F-35 jet engine used on Lockheed Martin’s Joint Strike Fighter. Although they are known for their aviation engines, the true strength of the Pratt & Whitney sales force has to be its people. As sponsors of Commando Hockey Challenge 5, the Pratt & Whitney crew — Tim Mercier (far left), Angelo Ricigliano and Biljana Jovanovic (with Esprit de Corps publisher Scott Taylor, right) — attended the post-game tailgate party. When the festivities concluded and the other guests and sponsors had departed, the Pratt & Whitney crew rolled up their sleeves and pitched in with the tear down and clean up. Not many aviation executives would do that. Thanks.
Attendees at CANSEC always appreciate something which they can try out for themselves, and the Rockwell Collins virtual reality (VR) distant training tool (pictured) proved to be very popular with the crowd. Based on the Oculus Rift goggles, the new technology allows students to train for many tasks, such as avionics trouble shooting.
Now that the Tactical Armoured Patrol Vehicle (pictured) has passed the rigorous Canadian Forces’ reliability, availability, maintainability and durability (RAMD) qualification process, Textron Systems is ramping up production of the wheeled vehicle. With the first of the new TAPVs set to enter service later this summer, attendees were keen to view the Canadian Army’s latest acquisition. The same level of interest was generated by the TAPV when Textron executives brought it to the Commando Hockey Challenge 5 post-game tailgate party — and parked it outside the tent. A very impressive piece of kit.