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Canada, Sikorsky Agree New Deal on CH-148 Helicopter Deliveries

Today, the Government of Canada announced that it has completed all required amendments to both the acquisition and long-term in-service support contracts with Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation for the acquisition and maintenance of 28 CH-148 Cyclone helicopters for the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF). These contract amendments are further to the Principles of Agreement announced in January 2014.

The amended acquisition will ensure the delivery of helicopters with operational capability to begin retirement of the Sea Kings in 2015, and a program to enhance those capabilities culminating in a fully capable CH-148 maritime helicopter beginning in 2018.

In its final configuration, the CH-148 Cyclone will be one of the most capable maritime helicopters in the world, and at the forefront of modern technology. It will be capable of a full range of search and rescue and utility missions in challenging environments. The CH-148 Cyclone will also be fully interoperable in a modern battle space, and will be able to concurrently conduct a full spectrum of anti-submarine warfare and anti-surface warfare in hostile, high-threat environments.

The Government of Canada engaged the services of an independent third party—Hitachi Consulting—to review and assess the viability of the Maritime Helicopter Project. The third-party expert confirmed the viability of the project under a new governance structure and phased delivery of the maritime helicopters. With the contract now completed, Hitachi Consulting will continue to oversee aspects of the implementation plan, ensuring that delivery times remain as promised for the RCAF.

As previously announced, payment will be issued to Sikorsky only upon capability delivery.


  • The total budget of $1.9 billion for the acquisition of the 28 CH-148 Cyclone helicopters has not changed.
  • The budget for in-service support (including the amendments to the contract) totals $5.7 billion.
  • The project is being implemented under a new governance model, including integrated teams from Sikorsky and Canada, supported by Hitachi Consulting.
  • The amendment to the in-service support contract extends the term by an additional 10 years at rates based on those competed in 2004, thus generating significant value for taxpayers. This amendment ensures maintenance of the Cyclone helicopters until 2038.

“I am pleased that this contract has now been completed and that we can fulfill our Government’s commitment to begin to retire the Sea Kings in 2015, and deliver a new and leading maritime helicopter to the Royal Canadian Air Force, while respecting taxpayer dollars.”
The Hon. Diane Finley, Minister of Public Works and Government Services

“Our Government is working tirelessly to provide our men and women in uniform with the equipment they need to get the job done, and these amendments are a testament to that fact. The CH-148 Cyclone will be a highly capable aircraft, making it a leading maritime helicopter.”
The Hon Rob Nicholson, Minister of National Defence

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Canada Deploys Six CF-18s to Romania

By on Wednesday, April 30th, 2014

Today, the Hon. Rob Nicholson, Minister of National Defence, announced six CF-18 fighter aircraft will leave tomorrow morning for Romania as part of the Government of Canada’s contributions to NATO measures to reassure Allies in Central and Eastern Europe. The announcement was made today during Question Period.

These fighter aircraft, along with support personnel, will be based out of Romania in order to conduct training activities in support of immediate reassurance measures. They will join Romanian and United States Air Force assets which are currently operating in the region.

Quick Facts

  • The six CF-18 fighter aircraft come from 425 Tactical Fighter Squadron based out of 3 Wing in Bagotville, Québec.
  • The CF-18 is Canada’s frontline multi-role fighter, and its pilots are trained to perform air defence, air superiority, aerospace testing and evaluation, training, and tactical support missions.
  • The Government of Canada offered contributions to NATO reassurance measures in order to promote security and stability in Eastern and Central Europe. Fifteen operational planning staff have already deployed on April 22 to augment Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe staff in Casteau.
  • The Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) have been a major contributor to NATO operations since the founding of the Alliance 65 years ago. Canada continues to provide modern, deployable capabilities to Allied missions and highly trained personnel to its command structure.


“Canada stands alongside our NATO Allies as we respond to the ongoing situation in Ukraine. We are contributing to a number of military measures designed to reassure our Allies in Central and Eastern Europe. This deployment, in addition to the planning personnel already deployed to Belgium, demonstrates our commitment to the collective defence of our NATO Allies,” said Rob Nicholson, Minister of National Defence.

“This deployment of fighter aircraft to Romania is one of several meaningful and important ways that we are demonstrating our long-standing commitment to NATO, and I firmly believe the Royal Canadian Air Force is well positioned to carry out the tasks associated with this deployment,” said General Tom Lawson, Chief of Defence Staff.

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Canada sends fighter jets to Eastern Europe

By on Monday, April 21st, 2014

Canada is deploying six CF-18 fighter jets to Eastern Europe as part of NATO’s response to the worsening crisis in Ukraine, Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced Thursday.

Russian President Vladimir Putin warned Ukraine was on the brink of civil war, stoking fears of outright Russian intervention.

NATO has increased air sorties and additional navy ships in the region as Ukrainian and pro-Russian forces face off.

Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania — which border Russia and have sizeable ethnic Russian populations — have all sought reassurances, as have Ukraine’s neighbors Poland and Romania.

Harper condemned what he called “Russia’s illegal occupation of Ukraine and its ongoing aggressive military provocation.”

The Canadian leader said he is concerned about “expansionism on the part of Russia under the presidency of Mr. Putin.

“I believe this to be a long-term serious threat to global peace and security, and we’re always prepared to work with our allies in NATO and elsewhere to try and bring whatever stability we can to the situation.”

The United States has also sent fighter aircraft to the Baltic states and Poland, to bolster confidence in member countries once ruled by Moscow.

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Canada to Finance Sale of 8 Bell 412EPs to Philippines

Bell Helicopter announced it has signed a purchase agreement with the Canadian Commercial Corporation (CCC) for eight Bell 412EP helicopters. The aircraft will be delivered to the Philippine Department of National Defense (DND) fully configured and equipped with advanced features to meet the DND’s modernization requirements.

“We are honored that the Philippine Department of National Defense has selected Bell Helicopter to fulfill their mission requirements,” said C.M. Hwang, managing director, Bell Helicopter’s Asia Pacific region. “We are also grateful for the long-term trust that the Philippine Government and DND have placed in Bell Helicopter to upgrade and improve mission capabilities.”

Five of the Bell 412s will be configured for combat utility operations including relief efforts while the remaining aircraft will be configured for VIP transportation.

“We chose the Bell 412EP because of its versatility and performance in extreme environments,” said Undersecretary Fernando I. Manalo from the Philippine Department of National Defense. “We are looking forward to the delivery of the first three aircraft in time for the Philippines to host the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation Summit in 2015.”

The Philippine Air Force has operated derivations of the Bell UH-1H since the late 1960s, and since 1994 when they received their first two Bell 412s.

The contract was negotiated under the umbrella of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the CCC and the Philippine Department of National Defense for the purchase of defense and military related materials and services. Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced the MOU in November 2012.

“The CCC is pleased to be once again partnering with Bell Helicopter, a Canadian manufacturer of world-class aircraft and the choice of many nations’ air services the world over,” Marc Whittingham, President and CEO of the CCC said. “This latest contract with the Philippine Government highlights the long history of collaboration between the CCC and Bell Helicopter to provide cost-effective government-to-government contracting solutions for highly advanced aerospace products.”

The Bell 412EP is the cornerstone of mission critical helicopter operations throughout the world, able to reliably perform in some of the most extreme climates on the planet. The Bell 412EP offers dual digital automatic flight control system with available IFR option and excellent Category A/JAR OPS 3 capability. With a cruise speed of 140 knots (161 mph), range of 358 nautical miles (412 miles) and an expansive cabin able to comfortably accommodate 14 passengers and one crew member, the Bell 412EP easily fits multiple mission criteria.

The Bell 412EP is also backed by Bell Helicopter’s industry-leading customer support and service, ranking #1 in Professional Pilot magazine for 20 consecutive years as well as #1 in Aviation International News for eight consecutive years.

Bell Helicopter, a wholly owned subsidiary of Textron Inc., is an industry-leading producer of commercial and military, manned and unmanned vertical-lift aircraft and the pioneer of the revolutionary tiltrotor aircraft. Globally recognized for world-class customer service, innovation and superior quality, Bell’s global workforce serves customers flying Bell aircraft in more than 120 countries.

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Canada reconsidering F-35 fighter purchase: reports

By on Monday, December 10th, 2012

Canada’s government faced a storm of criticism Friday after a newspaper reported it was scrapping plans to buy US-made F-35 fighter aircraft because of rising costs.

The National Post said a key cabinet committee reached the decision Tuesday after reviewing a soon-to-be-released audit by KPMG that concluded the lifetime cost of the program now exceeds $30 billion, nearly double the original estimate.

Andrew MacDougall, Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s spokesman, said on his Twitter account that the National Post story was “inaccurate on a number of fronts,” adding that the cabinet had not yet taken a decision.

The program now goes to the cabinet’s priority and planning committee, which is scheduled to meet Friday.

But the story ignited a furious reaction in parliament where opposition lawmakers accused the conservative government of incompetence amid calls for the resignation of Defense Secretary Peter McKay.

Jacques Gourdes, the parliamentary secretary of the Public Works Ministry, responded to the barrage by repeating that the government remained committed to a seven point plan for replacing Canada’s aging fleet of CF-18 aircraft.

“The government will give an update before the end of the parliamentary session,” he said.

Canada had planned to spend $8.5 billion to buy 65 aircraft, or $16 billion when maintenance is included.

The development of the stealth fighter, however, has been plagued by technical problems that have prompted some countries to cancel, scale back or defer purchases.

Harper in February had opened the door to reducing the number of F-35s the government will buy, so as to stay within budget amid rising costs.

In April, Auditor General Michael Ferguson criticized the defense ministry for failing to establish the lifetime costs of maintaining the aircraft, which he put at $20 billion.

Canada is one of nine countries that are part of a US-led consortium to build the F-35 fighter. The others are Britain, Italy, the Netherlands, Turkey, Australia, Norway and Denmark.

Israel and Singapore also participate in the program, and Japan has said it will buy 42 of the aircraft. The United States plans to buy 2,400.

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Auditor warns Canada lagging on cyber security

By on Wednesday, October 24th, 2012

Canada “has been slow” to set up firewalls to protect against cyber threats to critical infrastructure, leaving the nation vulnerable to crippling attacks, the auditor general warned Tuesday.

In a report, Auditor General Michael Ferguson said the government has made only “limited progress” over the past decade to safeguard electrical grids, telecommunications infrastructure, banking systems, manufacturing and transportation, as well as its own computers.

A key agency set up seven years ago to monitor cyber threats 24/7, called the Canadian Cyber Incident Response Centre, is still not fully functioning, leaving evening and weekend gaps in its security coverage, he said.

Also, incidents were not reported in a timely manner nor shared with the appropriate agencies, he said.

Opposition parties pounced on the report to accuse the government of being “recklessly ill-prepared” to protect Canadians who are increasingly reliant on the Internet, against cyber attacks.

Public Safety Minister Vic Toews conceded some shortcomings revealed by the audit, but insisted the Tory government is committed to ensuring “Canada’s critical infrastructure is well-insulated from cyber threats.”

“It wasn’t until 2010 that people became (fully) aware of the nature of cyber threats,” he said. Ottawa announced stepped up security efforts that year but in January 2011, a cyber attack was still able to paralyze its computers, leading to a revamp of the network now being undertaken.

The report notes the frequency and severity of electronic attacks through the Internet are accelerating, which Toews confirmed at a press conference.

Attacks by ordinary hackers, organized criminal groups and state-sponsored entities are “constant,” Toews said.

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Canada may bar China from telecoms project

By on Wednesday, October 10th, 2012

Canada said Tuesday it had invoked a “national security exception” that could exclude China’s Huawei Technologies from a role in helping build its new super secure government network.

Ottawa announced the move after the US House Intelligence Committee on Monday warned in Washington that equipment supplied by two Chinese firms, Huawei Technologies and ZTE Inc., could be used for spying.

“The government is going to be choosing carefully in the building of this network and it has invoked a national security exception,” said Andrew MacDougall, spokesman for Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

Ottawa invoked its “national security exception” to trade agreements in the building of its massive data and telecommunications network.

Huawei is already providing high-speed networks for private Canadian firms Bell Canada, Telus, SaskTel and Wind Mobile.

But Canadian authorities remain wary about the role it might play as the country rebuilds networks damaged by cyber attacks in 2010.

Huawei has rejected the US congressional report as “an exercise in China-bashing. But a former top intelligence official with Canada’s spy agency, Ray Boisvert said in an interview with the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation that he agrees with the risks outlined by Washington.

Shared Services Canada — the ministry tasked with building the government’s new network — also issued a statement saying it “takes cyber security seriously and operates on the advice of security experts.”

“Our government has put in place a cyber security strategy designed to defend against electronic threats, hacking and cyber espionage,” the ministry said.

The move affects the procurement of consolidated email, telecommunications and data centre infrastructure, systems and services for the government.

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