By David Pugliese

From the December 2015 (Volume 22 Issue 11)

The Asterix, a commercial ship will become the new interim supply ship for the Royal Canadian Navy after conversions are made by Chantier Davie shipyards of Levis, Quebec. This ship will help fill the gap until the Joint Support Ships are ready in 2020-2021. (Project Resolve)

The Asterix, a commercial ship will become the new interim supply ship for the Royal Canadian Navy after conversions are made by Chantier Davie shipyards of Levis, Quebec. This ship will help fill the gap until the Joint Support Ships are ready in 2020-2021. (Project Resolve)

Honeywell International of the U.S. will buy COM DEV, Canada’s second largest space firm, and a space equipment provider for the Department of National Defence.

The purchase price is $455 million.

Components manufactured by COM DEV, based in Cambridge, Ontario, are on a large number of commercial geostationary-orbit telecommunications satellites.

COM DEV is also a key player on military space programs. It worked on the Canadian Forces Sapphire satellite project. COM DEV is also involved in the Canada’s Medium Earth Orbit Search and Rescue (MEOSAR) satellite project. That project will provide search and rescue repeaters to be installed on the USAF’s GPS 3 satellites.

COM DEV attempted to enter the U.S. defence and government market with the establishment of a California facility. But in January, the firm acknowledged it was closing that installation.

What is not clear is whether the Canadian government will prevent the sale. In 2008, the government blocked the sale of MDA Corp., of Richmond, BC to ATK of the U.S.

Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson along with leaders from Thales in Canada and members of the Ottawa academic and business communities, officially opened Thales’ new Experience Centre on Oct. 15.

 “As a leader in R&D investment in Canada, Thales has designed this innovative new space to support the development of new technologies and help build the next generation of solutions, with our partners in key areas such as urban security, smart mobility and urban computing,” said Siegfried Usal, Vice President, Strategy and Communications.

Military-grade technology is coming to the consumer market.

Pelican Products Inc. has announced that its elite roster of Pelican ProGear Voyager and Protector cases will provide military-grade protection for the newly-revealed Apple iPhone 6S and iPhone 6S Plus in addition to its predecessors, the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus.

“Because people make sizeable investments in the latest iPhone, we’re here to make sure they protect that investment,” said David Becker, Vice President of Sales – Consumer Electronics.

The Asterix has arrived in Canada and is at Davie shipyards in Quebec, ready to undergo conversion into an interim supply ship for the Royal Canadian Navy.

The ship will help fill the supply ship gap (Canada no longer has any) until the Joint Support Ships arrive in 2020-2021.

A deal still has to be reached between the federal government and Davie/Project Resolve (the firm providing such services to the RCN).

But that is expected to be in place and ready to go by 2017.

Canada is also leasing at-sea-replenishment services from the Chilean and, starting next year, the Spanish navy. Those ships will be available for the training of RCN crews.

In addition, Davie and Project Resolve had a proposal to offer Canada two such interim supply ships (Asterix has a sister ship which could also be converted).

But the DND tells Industry Watch that the RCN isn’t interested.

“A contract for the services of a second converted vessel is not being considered by the Royal Canadian Navy,” DND spokeswoman Ashley Lemire said.

Meanwhile, Davie announced that it has formalized a partnership with ALMACO Group, a marine accommodation specialist.

ALMACO will open a site-office and setup assembly facilities at Davie as well as enter into a technology- and knowledge-transfer with the firm.

Cavalry troopers from the 2nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team prepare to fire the mounted M2 .50-calibre machine gun via the Remote Weapon System. General Dynamics Land Systems won a contract to mount a 30mm gun and new turret on U.S. Army Strykers in Europe. (U.S. Army)

Cavalry troopers from the 2nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team prepare to fire the mounted M2 .50-calibre machine gun via the Remote Weapon System. General Dynamics Land Systems won a contract to mount a 30mm gun and new turret on U.S. Army Strykers in Europe. (U.S. Army)

As part of Davie's Project Resolve program, ALMACO and Davie have worked with OMX, a Canadian supply chain technology platform focused on optimizing Canadian content in defence procurements, to engage both domestic equipment suppliers as well as serving and retired Royal Canadian Navy staff.

An ongoing survey allowed industry and RCN staff to make their suggestions as to how Davie and ALMACO can optimize the accommodation on board and improve the quality-of-life for all personnel onboard.

Nicole Verkindt, President of OMX noted in a statement: "This level of engagement with the people who will actually sail onboard federal ships is innovative and unprecedented. By using the suggestions from the OMX survey, it has allowed Davie to work with ALMACO and Canadian suppliers to provide a safe, efficient and comfortable living environment for our sailors"

General Dynamics Land Systems will mount a 30mm gun and new turret on U.S. Army Stryker vehicles in Europe.

But it is unclear whether General Dynamics Land Systems – Canada (GDLS-C) in London, Ont. will receive the work.

The upgrade will involve 81 vehicles and is to deal with concerns the vehicles are lacking weaponry in the face of a potential Russian threat in the region. The work is expected to be finished by 2018.

It is expected that up to eventually 1,000 Stryker vehicles will be upgraded.

In an interview with the London Free Press, a spokesman for GDLS-C played down the news. 

This is early in the process and we cannot speculate on any impacts this may have to GDLS or London jobs," said Dough Wilson-Hodge, manager of corporate affairs for GDLS-C. 

Lockheed Martin Canada has announced that the ANZAC frigate systems upgrade project successfully completed the combat system critical design review on schedule and to New Zealand's satisfaction.

The government-mandated review proves a contractor's progress and planning for all elements of a program. It covered in detail all of Lockheed Martin Canada's plans for shipboard systems and designs, the firm noted. With the successful review, Lockheed Martin Canada can now begin implementing detailed designs and plans for the system's key components, which will in turn lead to ship installation. The milestone is the latest achievement for Lockheed Martin Canada's ANZAC team in the 16 months since contract award, according to the firm.

In April 2014, following an extensive worldwide competitive tender, Lockheed Martin Canada was selected as the prime systems Integrator by the New Zealand Ministry of Defence to upgrade the combat systems on their ANZAC class ships. Lockheed Martin Canada's Combat Management System 330 is the backbone of the technical solution for the project and many of the sub-systems to be supplied by Lockheed Martin Canada are common to the Royal Canadian Navy's Halifax Class Modernization Project.

Kraken Sonar Inc. Inc., based in Newfoundland, has received a $1.5 million contract from a major international defence contractor for a KATFISH sonar system. Along with spare parts and support, the initial order could exceed $2 million. Due to the sensitivity of its business, the client's name cannot be disclosed.

BMT Group, an international design, engineering and risk management consultancy, has announced the launch of a new Canadian-based subsidiary, BMT Clarity.  A management consultancy that provides high value advice and insight to complex Canadian public sector programs, BMT Clarity brings together the deep, specialist and local knowledge of experts from sister companies BMT Hi-Q Sigma and BMT Fleet Technology, the company noted.

Based in Ottawa, BMT Clarity brings together BMT Hi-Q Sigma’s experience of delivering management consultancy services in other markets and BMT Fleet Technology’s deep understanding of the challenges facing procurement and reform programs that comes from over 30 years of working with the Canadian Federal Government, the firm added.