From the January 2015 issue (Volume 22 Issue 12)

By David Pugliese

L-3 Wescam will provide the Austrian-based Airborne Technologies GmbH with four MX-10 electro-optical and infrared (EO/IR) imaging systems for the UK National Police Air Service's (NPAS) newly procured P68 fixed-wing multi-mission aircraft. 

L-3 Wescam will provide the Austrian-based Airborne Technologies GmbH with four MX-10 electro-optical and infrared (EO/IR) imaging systems for the UK National Police Air Service's (NPAS) newly procured P68 fixed-wing multi-mission aircraft. 

L-3 WESCAM announced December 7 that it has received an order from Austrian-based Airborne Technologies GmbH for four MX-10 electro-optical and infrared (EO/IR) imaging systems to be installed on the UK National Police Air Service’s (NPAS) newly procured P68 fixed-wing aircraft. As the prime contractor and integrator for the NPAS fixed-wing program, Airborne Technologies will acquire and integrate L-3’s MX-10 with displays, a moving map and a digital video recorder, and will downlink the integrated solution into its own Airborne LINX mission system. MX-10 deliveries to Airborne Technologies will begin in March 2016, according to L-3 WESCAM.

“This order expands L-3’s presence in the police air support marketplace and adds to the number of MX-10 systems currently supporting tactical ISR missions throughout the UK,” Paul Jennison, vice president of government sales and business development for L-3 WESCAM, said in a statement. “We are very proud that our MX-10 has been selected as a key component of the fixed-wing fleet’s mission system and are looking forward to a long and successful partnership with both the UK NPAS and Airborne Technologies.”

Operating throughout England and Wales, L-3’s MX-10s will be configured with 4-axis stabilization and a suite of advanced sensors, including a four-field-of-view thermal imager, daylight continuous zoom TV, low-light continuous zoom TV and a 300-mm spotter. In addition, the system’s suite of MX-GEO technologies will provide accurate geographical data and advanced tracking assistance.

L-3 WESCAM’s MX-10 underwent extensive NPAS flight trials from both fixed- and rotary-wing platforms in 2014, which led to its selection in October 2014 for the high-profile NPAS EC135T2 helicopter upgrade program.

Lockheed Martin got some welcome news when the United Kingdom reaffirmed its commitment to the F-35 fighter jet. Not only will the UK stick to its plans to purchase 138 of the aircraft, but it now wants to accelerate the acquisition.

Meanwhile, F-35A pilots are training at a United States Air Force base in Utah on four full-mission simulators, all linked together. The training is for the 34th Fighter Squadron, which will be the first squadron to reach initial operational capability with the F-35. That is scheduled to happen in August 2016, according to the USAF.

“As a complement to live flights, the full-mission simulators present a secure, realistic environment for pilots to develop tactics and integrate the F-35 into the Air Force’s arsenal,” Lockheed Martin said in a statement.

Héroux-Devtek Inc. announced December 2 that it had renewed an important long-term contract with the U.S. Air Force to provide landing gear repair and overhaul services for the C-130, E-3 and KC-135R aircraft.

The long-term contract spans a period extending to the end of the U.S. government’s 2021 fiscal year in September 2021. Under the terms of the agreement, Héroux-Devtek is also responsible for the manufacturing and delivery of certain aftermarket components for these aircraft.

“This important multi-year agreement further confirms Héroux-Devtek’s status as a world leader in the R&O market for defence aircraft landing gear,” Gilles Labbé, president and CEO of Héroux-Devtek said in a statement. “Our proven track record for quality, on-time delivery and second-to-none customer service has fostered a solid relationship with the USAF, for which we have been providing R&O services for 45 years.”

Calian Technologies Ltd.’s Health Services team announced that Dr. Richard Birtwhistle was named the recipient of a Calian Research Award, along with a commitment of $105,000 over a three-year period. The announcement was made at the Canadian Institute for Military and Veteran Health Research (CIMVHR) 2015 Forum in Quebec City.

Dr. Birtwhistle is a professor in the Department of Family Medicine at Queen’s University, the director of the university’s Centre for Studies in Primary Care, and the chair and principal investigator of the Canadian Primary Care Sentinel Surveillance Network (CPCSSN), which has developed a central repository of data on chronic diseases from a network of primary care practitioners.

With this Calian Research Award, the scope of the CPCSSN database will be expanded to include several Primacy clinics and the addition of specific identifiers for military members, veterans and their families.  Primacy is a subsidiary of Calian, which exclusively manages the national clinic program for Loblaws with over 145 in-store medical clinics across Canada. 

“As a strong supporter of the Canadian Armed Forces and its members, Calian is pleased to support this innovative research. This database, the first of its kind in Canada, will eventually fuel evidence-based research to promote consistency of care and improved outcomes for serving military members, veterans and their families,” said Scott Murray, vice president of Health Services at Calian.

Meanwhile, the Composites and Defence Systems business of Morgan Advanced Materials has been awarded the Canadian CM735 combat helmet contract. The improved helmet features an ultra-lightweight hybrid composite structure, the result of more than three years of materials research and development, and achieves outstanding ballistic performance at an extraordinarily low weight. Morgan has supplied over one million combat helmets as part of the company’s LASA (Lightweight Armored Soldier Architecture) line of products.

The helmet also features Morgan’s latest ballistic and fragment composite technology, which helps to avoid severe injury from back face deformation and dynamic impact to the user’s head when the shell is hit by fragments.

Morgan’s new CM735 Canadian shell provides very high levels of ballistic performance with weight savings of approximately 23 percent over the existing CG634 shell with a weight of less than 920 grams (32 ounces).

The Canadian CM735 combat helmet contract has been awarded to the Composites and Defence Systems business of Morgan Advanced Materials. 

The Canadian CM735 combat helmet contract has been awarded to the Composites and Defence Systems business of Morgan Advanced Materials. 

Morgan is honoured to be providing the Canadian Forces with their next generation lightweight ballistic helmet,” Composites and Defence Systems North America Business Manager James Kempston said in a statement. “Morgan’s CM735 solution uses the latest composite technology, providing increased protection for substantially less weight. With nearly 25 per cent weight reduction, it is truly a game-changing helmet in an environment where reduced burden is directly related to increased user performance and decreased fatigue.”

QRA Corp has welcomed David Lizius to its board of directors as an independent member. Lizius is a high-tech industry veteran with experience leading both business and technical design teams across the space, defence, and biotechnology sectors. His career began at Marconi Space Systems (now part of Airbus) and later AEA Technology plc, leading design teams to develop complex space systems including electric propulsion, electromagnetic design software, and the first lithium ion battery to power an orbiting spacecraft. Lizius recently led COM DEV Canada as president and delivered headline programs, including an instrument for the James Webb Space Telescope and the optical payload for the Sapphire Space Situational Awareness Mission.

“David has demonstrated the rare ability to combine technological engineering skills with strategic business sense throughout his career,” said Jordan Kyriakidis, QRA co-founder and CEO. “QRA has committed itself to build solutions to the design efficiency problem as a result of the increasing system complexity demands since day 1, and David’s first-hand experience with the problem and the high-tech industry itself is a valuable addition to our team at QRA.”

The last C-17 Globemaster III built at Boeing’s Long Beach plant recently received a send-off from more than 1,000 spectators. The aircraft will be housed in San Antonio, Texas, until it is delivered to the Qatar Emiri Air Force early in 2016.

“This is truly the end of an era. It’s a sad day, but one that all of the Boeing employees and suppliers who have worked over the years building this great aircraft can be proud of,” Nan Bouchard, vice president and C-17 program manager, said in a statement.

The Long Beach facility built more than 250 C-17s over 20 years.

L-3 WESCAM has announced that it signed an agreement with Abu Dhabi Autonomous Systems Investments Company (ADASI), a subsidiary of Emirates Defence Industries Company (EDIC), to open an L-3 WESCAM Authorized Service Center (WASC) in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates (UAE). The new service center will offer maintenance and repair solutions to regional customers who operate L-3 MX-10 or MX-15 electro-optical and infrared (EO/IR) imaging and targeting systems.

The Dubai Airshow marks the beginning of operations in Abu Dhabi for this latest WASC. Rod Till, vice president of customer service at L-3 WESCAM, and Ali Al Yafei, chief executive officer of ADASI, were part of a signing ceremony that took place at the show’s EDIC pavilion November 10.

“We are very proud to welcome ADASI as a partner in expanding our growing worldwide network of service centers,” Till said in a statement. “Our customer base within the Middle East has grown significantly over the past few years, and offering the convenience of a local support center further underscores the commitment we’ve made to servicing the mission systems of our regional customers.”

The German Aerospace Center (DLR) has awarded Airbus Defence and Space with two research projects to enhance emergency preparedness and safety of operations in collaboration with Canadian partners. Airbus Defence and Space will monitor man-made changes on land and support tactical ship route planning in Arctic waters.

Based on their collaboration in space, the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) and the German Aerospace Center (DLR) have announced the funding of six major research projects in the domain of emergency response and safety of operations. DLR has awarded Airbus Defence and Space with two of them.

In collaboration with MacDonald Dettwiler and Associates, Ltd. (MDA), the first project will examine man-made changes on land using multi-frequency SAR satellite data. The methods developed throughout this project will monitor the changes’ impact on the environment, including new buildings, roads, forests, and surface movements due to industrial activities such as mining. For the second project, Airbus Defence and Space will work with C-CORE to investigate the synergistic use of X- and C-band SAR-data for tactical ship route planning in Arctic waters, its objective being to monitor the sea ice situation along shipping routes in the north. Both Canadian partners receive funds from CSA.

Enfotec Technical Services Inc., one of the end users, believes that satellite imagery plays a vital role in ensuring the safety and efficiency of navigation in ice-covered waters. The project addresses how to best use different satellites concurrently in order to increase the overall quality of the ice information provided to ships, the news release from Airbus Defence and Space Canada noted.

“With our experience in natural disasters and maritime monitoring, we are confident to support Canada in improving its emergency capacity readiness in the High North,” said Simon Jacques, president of Airbus Defence and Space Canada Inc.

Seaspan ULC hosted a groundbreaking ceremony November 27 to announce it has officially started construction on a new head office in North Vancouver. The 7,800 square metre (84,000 square foot) corporate headquarters is scheduled for completion in late 2017. Once complete, the building will house 350 Seaspan staff (up from the current 130) from across its various companies.

 Seaspan’s groundbreaking event follows on the heels of the start of construction on the first National Shipbuilding Procurement Strategy (NSPS) ship — the Canadian Coast Guard’s Offshore Fisheries Science Vessel (OFSV). Construction of the OFSV started this June after the on-time and under-budget completion of Vancouver Shipyards’ two-year, $170 million shipyard modernization project.

Seaspan expects to hire another 1,300 trade workers and office staff over the next five years.

Bombardier announced that it has delivered the first of two specialized Challenger 605 aircraft ordered by the Hong Kong Government Flying Service.

This multi-role aircraft can be used for search and rescue, VIP transportation, medical evacuation, as well as other special missions. The Challenger multi-role aircraft will replace the existing SAR aircraft currently operated by the Hong Kong Government Flying Service for long-range search and rescue operations, Bombardier said.