By David Pugliese
Airbus officially broke ground January 25 on a new state-of-the-art training centre for future C295 aircraft crews and technicians at CFB Comox. The centre is part of the fixed-wing search and rescue (FWSAR) contract awarded to Airbus. The training centre will prepare aircrew and maintenance personnel to operate Canada’s new 16 C295s and will house a full flight simulator, a range of procedures trainers, maintenance training devices, and classroom space, according to the company.
Montreal-based CAE is leading the design and building of the centre under a contract managed by AirPro, a joint venture between Airbus and PAL Aerospace of St John’s, Newfoundland, which was created to provide long-term FWSAR in-service support. CFB Comox will serve as the main training centre for C295 crews, with Airbus operating the facility over the 20-year life of the steady-state contract supported by CAE.
Simon Jacques, head of Airbus Defence and Space in Canada, said in a statement, “Just more than a year into the program we are on schedule and making excellent progress towards the entry into service of the C295, backed by a robust support infrastructure that will serve Canada well for the decades to come.
“Search and rescue is a highly challenging mission with little room for error,” continued Jacques. “We are confident that this superb facility at 19 Wing Comox will provide current and future Royal Canadian Air Force personnel with the skills and knowledge they need to perform their role to the highest standards.”
Canada will receive the first C295 in late 2019, with remaining aircraft being delivered over the following three years. In addition to training services provided by CAE, Canada’s C295s are powered by engines made by Pratt & Whitney Canada and have electro-optical sensors from L3 Wescam.
In other news, Brazil has ordered an additional Airbus C295 search and rescue aircraft that will eventually take to 15 the number of C295s in service with the Brazilian air force. The latest order constitutes the firming of an option included in an earlier contract in 2014.
L3 WESCAM announced at the Singapore air show that it has created smarter, more technologically advanced electro-optical and infrared (EO/IR) systems by incorporating high-performing imaging and processing technologies into its MX-Series product line. These new technologies will enable MX operators to conduct missions with enhanced image processing and greater visual capabilities, the firm noted in its news release.
Advancements to L3’s MX image processing technologies include WESCAM’s embedded Advanced Video Engine (WAVE) and a newly embedded graphics processing unit (GPU). L3 WESCAM’s new Automated Video Tracker (AVT) and embedded Moving Target Indicator (MTI) technologies are supported by this new architecture and provide automatic target acquisition of multiple targets with significantly improved target lock performance in challenging mission scenarios.
Raytheon Canada has received a $704 million contract to maintain and upgrade the Phalanx Close-In Weapon Systems (CIWS) operated by the Royal Canadian Navy. The contract covers 21 such systems and will be valid until late 2037.
The rapid-fire, radar-guided gun system provides the most effective naval self-defence system available against close-in threats such as missiles, small ships, and aircraft, Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan said in announcing the contract.
The contract will update all 21 Phalanx CIWS and provide engineering services, project management, support and disposal services, as well as the procurement of spares and test equipment, according to Canada’s Department of National Defence.
A number of the upgrades will centre on improvements to the gun’s radar system, a Department of National Defence official said.
Rosemary Chapdelaine, the vice president and general manager for Lockheed Martin Canada, has moved on after five years in that job. She has been appointed as the general manager of the Lockheed Martin Baltimore, Maryland, production facility where she will oversee the company’s Controls, Launchers and Weapons System (CLAWS) division. During her tenure at Lockheed Martin Canada, she was instrumental in guiding efforts in winning the Arctic Offshore Patrol Ships Combat and Surveillance Systems Integrator contract, submitting the Canadian Surface Combatant bid and expanding the international export base in countries including Chile and New Zealand, the firm noted.
In the meantime, Gary Fudge will be fulfilling the role of acting vice president and general manager for Lockheed Martin Canada. He brings widespread experience to the position and has been with the company for more than 25 years. Currently, Fudge is the capture executive for the Canadian Surface Combatant program and director of Canadian Naval Systems, which includes the Halifax-class modernization project and the Arctic Offshore Patrol Ship program.
MDA, a Maxar Technologies company, announced that it has been awarded a contract by Public Service Procurement Canada (PSPC), on behalf of Defence Research and Development Canada (DRDC) under the Space Operations program within the Joint Force Development portfolio, to develop a threat detection and early warning system to provide protection for Canadian space-based assets. The contract is for the study, concepts, and research and development phases, which could lead to MDA pursuing subsequent phases of technology demonstration and technology pilot.
Satellites support a wide variety of applications like telecommunications and remote sensing, which provide on-going, critical services to individual Canadians, businesses and government agencies. Canada has invested billions of dollars to create these services, which have become essential for Canadian society. Disruption or loss of these services would impact the ability of Canada to respond to emergency situations and to meet commitments to its global allies and would have widespread negative impacts on day-to-day life.
The contract includes the work required for the development of the Threat Detection and Early Warning System (TDEWS) up to a proof-of-concept stage. The TDEWS will incorporate technologies and systems capable of providing automated, reliable early warning of potential in-orbit threats against operational Canadian satellites. The goal is to identify credible threats against space assets to generate operationally relevant intelligence and enable prompt mitigation actions.
Cascade Aerospace Inc. announced it has been awarded a contract for the avionics modernization of one Fuerza Aérea Mexicana (FAM) L-100 (C-130) Hercules aircraft. This contract follows on the recent delivery of two modernized C-130K Hercules aircraft delivered to the FAM and fitted with advanced digital avionics from Rockwell Collins, the company noted.
The upgrade of this aircraft will establish a common cockpit configuration for the entire FAM C-130 fleet. The modernization program includes the installation and integration of an advanced Rockwell Collins Flight2 digital avionics suite. In addition, Cascade will provide operational and technical training for Mexican air force personnel at the company’s facility and headquarters in Abbotsford, British Columbia.
The Canadian government notified Lumiant of Calgary that its application to the Build in Canada Innovation Program has been approved. This official pre-qualification sets the stage for the government to buy up to $1 million worth of Lumiant TitanMade armour tiles for testing by DRDC. TitanMade is a patent-pending titanium ceramic composite material that is ideally suited for ballistic armour applications where weight and thickness are of critical importance.