By Dave Pugliese
From the October 2015 (Volume 22 Issue 9)
The Department of National Defence tells Industry Watch that testing has already begun on Rheinmetall’s future soldier system.
“The system qualification phase of the acquisition contract, which includes testing of the systems, has started,” noted DND spokeswoman Ashley Lemire.
The military hopes to finish that testing next year and a full contract will be awarded to the firm after that.
In July Rheinmetall was awarded the contract for the first phase of the Canadian Forces’ Integrated Soldier System Project (ISSP). The company’s modular integrated system includes communications and navigation technology and will improve the situational awareness of the individual soldier.
“So the basic elements of the system: a radio, you have a technical interface,” Stephane Oehrli, a vice-president at Rheinmetall Canada, explained to journalists at the news conference at the firm’s facilities at Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Quebec. “It kind of looks like your Smartphone at home.”
The system also includes mapping, tracking and GPS capabilities. “The actual goal is to increase the situational awareness of the soldier on the battlefield — that he knows where he is, that he knows where his buddies are,” said Oehrli.
The equipment can also be integrated into the Canadian military’s Land Command Support System, according to Rheinmetall.
The initial contract is worth $7 million, according to the company. But Rheinmetall is counting that once the Canadian government declares the system fully acceptable in 2016, it will exercise options under the contract to buy up to 4,144 of the systems, and award a second contract for related support. The total value of both contracts could reach $250 million, according to Rheinmetall.
Rheinmetall Canada is supplying the system in cooperation with Saab AB. As prime contractor, Rheinmetall’s Canadian subsidiary is responsible for system development and integration, program management, and integrated logistics.
MAPPS has announced it has been awarded the implementation subcontract by Irving Shipbuilding Inc. for the supply of the Integrated Platform Management System for the Royal Canadian Navy’s Arctic/Offshore Patrol Ships (AOPS).
Under this contract, L-3 MAPPS will complete the design work undertaken during the earlier project definition phase to build, integrate, test and deliver a modern IPMS for the new vessels, the firm announced in a news release.
“Further to our ongoing successful implementation of the Halifax-class frigates’ IPMS upgrade, we are very pleased to be working with Irving Shipbuilding on this new and very important Royal Canadian Navy project,” Ranges Kasturi, president of L-3 MAPPS said in a statement.
In addition, Sagem (Safran) announced it had won the contract from OSI Maritime Systems Ltd to provide the inertial navigation systems for the AOPS.
Each AOPS will be outfitted with two BlueNaute attitude and heading systems from Sagem.
The new-generation BlueNaute system is based on a proprietary Sagem technology, the hemispherical resonator gyro (HRG), the firm noted.
The U.S. Coast Guard had already selected the BlueNaute system in 2015 to modernize its Reliance-class medium-endurance cutters and the Juniper-class seagoing buoy tenders.
In other news, the RCAF is still trying to figure out the next step on its Tactical Control Radar modernization project.
The contract with Thales Canada Ltd. to procure two radar units to supportCF-18 fighter operations in Cold Lake, Alta., and Bagotville, Que., is in the process of being cancelled.
The systems were to replace the RCAF’s TPS-70 tactical radars, which were bought in 1990.
Neither Public Works, the Department of National Defence nor Thales Canada are saying what went wrong with the project that was originally to cost $55 million. The 2011 deal called for the first of two Ground Master 400 radars to be delivered in February 2013.
But DND documents obtained by the CBC show that costs had risen to more than $78 million by 2013. By November 2014, Public Works was deep in negotiations with Thales to resolve the problems, CBC reported.
Public Works now acknowledges to Industry Watch that “in February 2015, Canada and Thales reached an agreement in principle to terminate this contract by mutual consent.”
Thales Canada has declined comment.
At the time of the original contract announcement, Thales noted that its award was building on its “40-years track record of providing world-class sensor systems to the Canadian Forces.”
So how will the federal government proceed with replacing the aging RCAF radars? Will there be a new competition?
“Public Works is working with DND to identify an appropriate path forward to meet their long-term capability needs on this project,” stated Public Works spokeswoman Jessica Kingsbury.
So what about the existing radars? How long can they keep operating? Will the cancellation of the contract have an impact on RCAF operations since replacement radars don’t appear to be coming anytime soon?
DND replied with an emailed statement that did not answer those questions. Instead the DND email noted the following: “With regards to the AN/TPS-70 systems employed by the Tactical Control Radar (TCR) Squadrons at 3 Wing/CFB Bagotville and 4 Wing/CFB Cold Lake, they have been at the forefront of our national and international Fighter Force’s training for over two decades.”
Meanwhile, BAE Systems is highlighting that a Canadian firm is already contributing to the Type 26 project. BAE recently awarded the first equipment manufacturing contracts for the ships, including the Canadian firm WR Davis Engineering Ltd for the uptakes and downtakes on the vessels.
Tom Davis, Vice President of WR Davis, said: “We are delighted to participate in the prestigious Royal Navy Type 26 Global Combat Ship program for the supply of the complete downtake, uptake, and IRS systems for the propulsion and ship service engines. This builds on our previous success of supplying similar systems for the Royal Navy’s Type 45 destroyers and reinforces our position as a world leader in the design supply of engine exhaust IR suppression systems, and engine downtakes and uptakes, for naval warships.”
WR Davis entered into a contract with BAE Systems for design, manufacture, and supply in May 2015 and is currently performing the system integration and detailed design; the firm is on track to deliver the first ship set of equipment in the summer of 2017.