Archive for the ‘Army’ Category

CANADIAN ARMY WANTS ARMOURED ENGINEERING VEHICLES TO SUPPORT LEOPARD 2s ARTICLE BY DVID PUGLIESE OTTAWA CITIZEN

February 9, 2010

DEFENCE DEPARTMENT CONFIRMS THAT FORCE MOBILITY ENCHANCEMENT VEHICLES A PRIORITY AS WELL

By David Pugliese

Ottawa Citizen

Defence Watch has confirmed that the proposed purchase of Force Mobility Enhancement (FME) vehicles is still a priority for the Canadian Army.

There was some question about the status of the project in the wake of a Jan. 15 letter sent by Public Works to the defence industry regarding the army’s vehicle programs.

That letter, sent by Public Works and Government Services official Kristen Ward, and obtained by Defence Watch, noted that the LAV-3 upgrade and tactical armored patrol vehicle (TAPV) project “are considered priorities in ensuring renewal of core capabilities.”

“These two projects are proceeding as scheduled,” wrote Ward, Supply Team Leader Close Combat Vehicle Project. “The Close Combat Vehicle project, however, has been delayed to ensure that resources are geared toward key procurement priorities of DND.”

Ward’s letter raised concerns in some areas of the defence community since it made no mention of the  purchase of Force Mobility Enhancement vehicles, a fleet of armored engineer vehicles to support Canada’s Leopard 2 tanks.

But Defence Department spokeswoman Annie Dicaire confirmed that FME is still considered a priority. “The FME project will be implemented in two phases,” Dicaire told Defence Watch. “The first phase includes the acquisition of Armoured Engineer Vehicles (AEV) and Armoured Recovery Vehicles (ARV), while the second phase will be to procure tactical mobility implements, including dozer blades, mine ploughs, and mine rollers.”

“For Phase I, a letter of interest was issued in July 2009 to assess the level of interest from industry,” she added. “A draft request for proposal (RFP) for the acquisition of AEVs will be issued in the spring of 2010, followed by a revised, final RFP in the fall 2010.”

But the Close Combat Vehicle or CCV appears now to be on hold with no new timelines for it to proceed. Some defence observers believe the project will eventually be cancelled or simply remain in limbo.

The Harper government has already selected General Dynamics Land Systems Canada, the builder of the LAV-3, as the prime contractor and systems integrator for the upgrade program. The project will upgrade 550 vehicles. There is also an option for upgrades to an additional 80.

Ken Yamashita, the company’s manager of corporate affairs told Defence Watch that GDLS Canada is currently awaiting government approval to move to the definition phase of the program. The precise elements of the upgrade will be defined during the definition phase, he added.

Army commander Lt.-Gen. Andrew Leslie has said the army wants the LAVs equipped with larger engines and more protection.

General Dynamics Land Systems Canada has already developed a light armoured vehicle technology demonstrator with an improved engine and drive train as well as more robust suspension. Those improvements on what it called the LAV-H would allow the vehicles to carry more weight, including armour if needed.

The tactical armored patrol vehicle would replace the army’s existing fleet of RG-31 mine protected vehicles and the Coyote wheeled light armored vehicles. Besides the initial procurement of 500 vehicles, there is an option for an additional 100. The TAPV will be delivered in two variants, a reconnaissance vehicle and a general utility variant.

CANADIAN FORCES TO SHIP MORE TANKS TO AFGHANISTAN; DAVID PUGLIESE OTTAWA CITIZEN DEFENCE REPORT

January 26, 2010

Canada to ship 20 tanks to Afghanistan as pullout looms

The Ottawa Citizen

Tue Dec 29 2009

By David Pugliese

The Ottawa Citizen

Canada will ship another 20 tanks to Afghanistan in the fall of 2010 to replace those that have been destroyed by insurgents or worn out through repeated use.

The Leopard 2 tanks will be shipped directly from Germany, where they are being refurbished, to Kandahar starting in September.

Although the tanks will only be on the ground for nine to 10 months before they have to be shipped back when the Canadian military mission ends in July 2011, Defence Department officials say the armoured vehicles are essential.

“The tanks currently deployed to Afghanistan have been operating under some of the most austere field conditions in the world,” said Defence Department spokeswoman Lynne Rattray. “They will soon require repair and overhaul beyond that possible by regular in-theatre maintenance.”

The cost of shipping the tanks from Germany to Afghanistan has not been determined, as that will depend on the type of transport used, according to DND spokeswoman Annie Dicaire.

The government spent $1 million to transport each tank when the first group of Leopards were originally sent from Canada to Kandahar in the fall of 2006. At the time, it used commercial aircraft and U.S. military planes. Since then, Canada has received its own C-17 transport aircraft, which could be used to move the Leopards.

The Canadian Forces already had deployed 20 Leopard 2 tanks to Afghanistan and before that as many as 15 Leopard 1s.

Dan Ross, the Defence Department’s assistant deputy minister for materiel, told the Senate earlier this year that several tanks had been damaged. Military officers say insurgents have damaged three Leopards beyond the level of repair available in Kandahar.

Replacement parts are in short supply, making repairs on the tank fleet difficult. The government did not put in place a proper system for parts, those familiar with the tank project pointed out.

Defence Minister Peter MacKay had approved the deployment of 20 more Leopard 2s in the spring, but details of when the tanks would arrive in Kandahar hadn’t been figured out at that time.

Military officers say the tanks save lives by providing soldiers with a high level of protection.

When he was in charge of the army, Gen. Rick Hillier called the Leopards a “millstone” around the military’s neck and said they had limited use for Canada. The army was in the process of destroying or selling its Leopards when the request came in from officers in Kandahar that the tanks were needed. Since then, the tanks have been used extensively in Afghanistan, saving lives of troops in the process, officers say.

Canada is spending $1 billion on the tank project, which saw the purchase of 100 used Leopards from the Netherlands.

The tanks are being refurbished by the manufacturer, Krauss Maffei-Wegmann of Germany. That firm was awarded an $87-million contract in June for the repair and overhaul of some of the armoured vehicles.

FOR MORE NEWS SEE DAVID PUGLIESE’S DEFENCE WATCH

For more Canadian Forces and Defence Department news or articles by David Pugliese of the Ottawa Citizen go to David Pugliese’s Defence Watch at:

communities.canada.com/ottawacitizen/blogs/defencewatch/

CANADIAN TROOPS HEADING TO AFGHANISTAN GET SCREWED ON PAY; DAVID PUGLIESE OTTAWA CITIZEN DEFENCE REPORT

January 26, 2010

Foulup leaves troops out pay, benefits

‘Administrative error’ to blame: National Defence

By David Pugliese, The Ottawa Citizen

December 8, 2009

Troops now training at Canadian Forces Base Petawawa for a mission to Afghanistan next year are in the midst of a battle against the military bureaucracy over pay and health benefits.

It’s the second time in less than eight months that reserve soldiers assigned to the Afghan mission have run into pay problems. In February, soldiers contacted the Citizen after their pay was cut off while they fought in Afghanistan.

This time, soldiers say they have lost the extra pay they are entitled to because of a bureaucratic screw-up. According to the soldiers, the pay problems are due to a backlog in processing paperwork and an inadequate pay system at National Defence headquarters in Ottawa.

As well, there are problems with health coverage for families of the part-time soldiers.

“A caveat to the fact that they aren’t inputted into the regular force pay system is that their families (eligible dependents) at home are not eligible for medical coverage under the Public Service Health Care Plan (PSHCP),” one individual wrote to the Citizen, complaining about the problem.

“Soldiers who once had coverage under their previous civilian careers are left with the medical expenses for their children and spouses until their contracts are processed.” About 300 reservists training at CFB Petawawa will head to Afghanistan in the spring.

Army spokesman Lt.-Col. Jay Janzen confirmed there are problems with pay. “The army is aware of pay issues affecting some reservists conducting pre-deployment training at Petawawa and we’re working quickly to address them,” he said.

Janzen said the soldiers are receiving their basic pay, but the problem centres around incentive pay they would receive. That problem is “due to an administrative error.”

Janzen didn’t have specific numbers affected, but added it is believed to be fewer than 100 reservists. He said that once the problem is sorted out, the soldiers would receive the money owed. A military source said the health-care issue will also be taken care of once the paperwork goes through for the reservists and they are assigned to the full-time regular force.

It’s not the first time there have been pay problems for part-time soldiers. From December 2008 to February of this year, some reserve soldiers fighting in Afghanistan said they had their pay cut off because their contracts with the army expired while they were serving overseas.

The troops continued to serve, but some told the Citizen they were worried they would not be covered by health insurance and other benefits if they were injured in battle.

At the time, the army confirmed in an e-mail that there had been problems, but it claimed that “at no time were the members’ pay and benefits at risk.”

The e-mail also added that emergency financial assistance was offered to anyone who needed it while the error was being fixed.

In 2006, former Canadian Forces Ombudsman Yves Côté launched an investigation into what he warned was a lack of services and inconsistent care available to members of the reserves when they are injured on overseas missions or during training at home. The investigation, completed in April, revealed numerous problems for reservists injured in the course of duty to Canada and subsequently required health care.

For more Canadian Forces and Defence Department news or articles by David Pugliese of the Ottawa Citizen go to David Pugliese’s Defence Watch at:

communities.canada.com/ottawacitizen/blogs/defencewatch/

CANADIAN FORCES WANT MORE AUTOMATIC GRENADE LAUNCHERS; DAVID PUGLIESE OTTAWA CITIZEN DEFENCE NEWS

January 26, 2010

CLOSE AREA SUPPRESSION WEAPON FOR THE AIR FORCE AND REMOTE WEAPON STATIONS

By David Pugliese

Ottawa Citizen

Defence Watch

Government officials have still yet to make an announcement on the winning company to be selected to provide the Close Area Suppression Weapon (CASW) but there could be future purchases of the weapons for vehicles as well as for the Air Force for airfield security in deployed locations, according to documents obtained by Defence Watch.

At this point the program is to acquire an automatic grenade launcher for infantry. But the CASW is a dismounted system that can be mounted onto any vehicle using a pintle mount or a remote weapon station (RWS). Army sources say they expect whichever weapon wins the CASW project will be eventually mounted on a RWS, with additional weapon purchases if necessary.

Those views are backed up by an Oct. 24, 2007 briefing note obtained by Defence Watch which points out that in the future new vehicles being acquired by the Army could be outfitted with CASW, although new funding would have to be found for those weapons.

“Should the new vehicle programmes require CASW, the projects will fund any new CASW in accordance with standard practice,” the briefing note points out. “CASW for..Deployed Airfield security requirement could be acquired using various options in the eventual CASW Contract….once CAS (Chief of the Air Staff) provides the funding.”

The possiblity of CASW going on to a RWS is a distinct possibility. It seems more unlikely the air force would free up funds for a CASW, particularly at a time when budgets are getting tighter. In addition, if the air force does operate at deployed airfields, it could ask the army to provide protection.

Canada had received two bids to provide the Canadian Forces with a new automatic grenade launcher. One was from Rheinmetall Canada, the other for Singapore Technologies each put in a bid.

Singapore Technologies, which has kept a low profile during the competition, has its own 40mm grenade launcher and ammunition.

Last year defence sources told Defence Watch they expected the evaluation of the bids to be completed sometime in January 2010.

Testing of both weapons was done last year at Canadian Forces Base Gagetown, NB.

The $100 million CASW project has been repeatedly delayed, with some industry officials pointing to it as an example of the major problems plague the Defence Department’s procurement system.

In 2004, Canadian Army officers said the weapons would be delivered in August 2006 for eventual use in Afghanistan. Then the delivery date was later set as the summer of 2008.

Later the delivery of the guns was revised to occur in late 2009.

The new date for delivery is now 2012.

Army officers have said that the grenade launcher will provide more and accurate firepower than the 60mm mortar, which will taken out of service since it is too old and considered unsupportable.

The Army examined the capabilities offered by mortars and automatic grenade launchers in urban fighting during a May 2003 study.

The study, called Iron Bombard, looked at the ability of several weapon systems to provide the Light Armoured Vehicle-3 Rifle Company with an internal suppression/neutralizing capability in an urban environment.

An undated briefing note for the CLS, prepared by Geoff Hutton of DLR, pointed out that the planned retirement of the 60mm light mortar makes CASW “NP neutral” meaning that the savings from getting rid of the motars would offset the acquistion of the grenade launcher.

The government expects to Rheinmetall Canada has been successful in its bid to provide the Canadian Army with a

, sources at National Defence headquarters tell Defence Watch.

There is no word, however, on when there will be an official announcement. But the firm, based in St. Jean sur Richelieu, will provide the army the Heckler and Koch 40mm grenade launcher which is being used by 16 militaries, including many NATO nations.

The project had to be restarted in the spring 2009 after government bureaucrats ruled that a defence company’s paperwork was not filled out properly.

At that time, only one firm – Rheinmetall Canada – bid on the project and although the HK gun technically fit all the army’s requirements, the government disqualified the firm’s bid. Public Works informed Rheinmetall Canada that the financial forms attached to its proposal didn’t provide enough information.

Rheinmetall Canada argued that it submitted a fully compliant bid. However, the government did not accept that position and the procurement process was begun again in the summer of 2009.

Army officers have said that the grenade launcher will provide more and accurate firepower than the 60mm mortar, which will taken out of service since it is too old and considered unsupportable.

The Army examined the capabilities offered by mortars and automatic grenade launchers in urban fighting during a May 2003 study.

The study, called Iron Bombard, looked at the ability of several weapon systems to provide the Light Armoured Vehicle-3 Rifle Company with an internal suppression/neutralizing capability in an urban environment.

The report, obtained under the Access to Information law by Defence Watch, was withheld for two years and only released after the Army was able to move ahead with its plans to purchase an automatic grenade launcher.

The weapon systems tested in Iron Bombard were used in the offence and defence during a series of house to house clearing scenarios, according to the report. The infantry section was also equipped with machine guns and rifles.

“The study concluded that no differences between the capabilities of the Advance Grenade Launcher and the mortars were observed, however the Advanced Grenade Launcher could make a contribution to the effectiveness of the Rifle Company and the 60mm and 81mm light mortars provided value because of their ability to provide smoke screens,” the report concluded. “The study recommends that the Advanced Grenade Launcher be considered as a possible support weapon for the LAV 111 Rifle Company and that there may be a requirement to retain mortars in the support mix.”

Iron Bombard was done because the present weapon system available is the 60mm M19 Mortar, generally considered by the Canadian Army to lack the range, lethality and accuracy to be effective. In order to alleviate that deficiency an 81mm light mortar and a 40 mm advanced grenade launcher were evaluated using the close action environment urban combat war game.

For more Canadian Forces and Defence Department news or articles by David Pugliese of the Ottawa Citizen go to David Pugliese’s Defence Watch at:

communities.canada.com/ottawacitizen/blogs/defencewatch/

CANADIAN ARMY MOVES AHEAD WITH PLAN TO ACQUIRE THERMAL WEAPON SIGHTS: DAVID PUGLIESE OTTAWA CITIZEN JOURNALIST

January 26, 2010

ARMY MOVES AHEAD WITH PLAN TO ACQUIRE THERMAL WEAPON SIGHTS

BY DAVID PUGLIESE

Ottawa Citizen

The Army is moving a step closer to acquiring thermal weapon sights for a variety of weapons.

Industry has been told that they are to have their proposals in to the government by Dec. 15.

Earlier this year, Army officers in the directorate of land requirements told an industry forum that the initial operating capability for the Thermal Weapon Sights (TWS) was to be by 2009, according to documents provided to Defence Watch.

But that isn’t going to happen and the IOC has slipped to next year, with full operational capability by 2012, sources have told Defence Watch.

The winning bidder must meet 326 listed requirements and have the lowest cost.

Some industry sources say that indicates that the program has a specific thermal weapon sight in mind, but others maintain that the requirements are flexible enough to promote competition and it is expected several firms will bid on the project.

DND has a requirement for a combined quantity of 826 Light, Medium and Heavy of TWS kits complete with accessories, spare parts and support equipment, and data, according to the details provided by the government on the MERX website. In-service support is also required for the repair and overhaul of the TWS Kits and for the provision of spare parts.

The requirement includes options to procure up to 1,128 additional TWS kits.

One request for proposal will cover two contracts to be awarded to the winning bidder. These two contracts are for the equipment acquisition, and in-service support. The proposed TWS kits must be “military-off-the-shelf.

Companies that do bid are required to have a minimum of 1,000 systems already sold or delivered to a NATO nation.

The delivery of the first Thermal Weapon Sight kits is required starting within three months of the contract award. Those would be for testing. The rest of the delivery would take place over a year-long period.

For more Canadian Forces and Defence Department news or articles by David Pugliese of the Ottawa Citizen go to David Pugliese’s Defence Watch at:

communities.canada.com/ottawacitizen/blogs/defencewatch/

DAVID PUGLIESE OTTAWA CITIZEN: NO DIFFERENCE IN CAPABILITIES OFFERED BY MORTARS AND AUTOMATIC GRENADE LAUNCHERS SAYS CANADIAN ARMY REPORT

November 23, 2009

There is no difference in the capabilities offered by mortars and automatic grenade launchers in urban fighting, according to a newly released Canadian Army report.

 

The May 2003 study, obtained by Defence Watch, examined the use of a Company Area Suppression Weapon in urban operations. The study, called Iron Bombard, looked at the ability of several weapon systems to provide the Light Armoured Vehicle-3 Rifle Company with an internal suppression/neutralizing capability in an urban environment.

 

The report, obtained under the Access to Information law, was withheld for two years and only released after the Army was able to move ahead with its plans to purchase an automatic grenade launcher. Army officers have said that the grenade launcher will provide more and accurate firepower than the 60mm mortar, which will taken out of service since it is too old and considered unsupportable.

 

Bids from two companies are now in for the Army’s Close Area Suppression Weapon (CASW) project. There is no indication when the winning bid will be selected but defence sources expect that to be completed by January or February 2010.

 

The weapon systems tested in Iron Bombard were used in the offence and defence during a series of house to house clearing scenarios, according to the report. The infantry section was also equipped with machine guns and rifles.

 

“The study concluded that no differences between the capabilities of the Advance Grenade Launcher and the mortars were observed, however the Advanced Grenade Launcher could make a contribution to the effectiveness of the Rifle Company and the 60mm and 81mm light mortars provided value because of their ability to provide smoke screens,” the report concluded. “The study recommends that the Advanced Grenade Launcher be considered as a possible support weapon for the LAV 111 Rifle Company and that there may be a requirement to retain mortars in the support mix.”

 

Iron Bombard was done because the present weapon system available is the 60mm M19 Mortar, generally considered by the Canadian Army to lack the range, lethality and accuracy to be effective. In order to alleviate that deficiency an 81mm light mortar and a 40 mm advanced grenade launcher were evaluated using the close action environment urban combat war game.

 

Meanwhile, the evaluation of the bids on CASW continues at Public Works. Rheinmetall Canada and Singapore Technologies each put in a bid, Defense Watch has learned.

 

Rheinmetall had offered the army the Heckler and Koch 40mm grenade launcher which is being used by 16 militaries, including many NATO nations. Singapore Technologies, which has kept a low profile during the competition, has its own 40mm grenade launcher and ammunition. If the Singapore Technologies gun is selected, then Canada would join the small number of nations which use the weapon.

 

The winner will be selected on the basis of the lowest cost meeting the requirements outlined by the Army.

 

Testing of both weapons was done several weeks ago at Canadian Forces Base Gagetown, NB, according to sources.

 

The $100 million CASW project has been repeatedly delayed, with some industry officials pointing to it as an example of the major problems plague the Defence Department’s procurement system.

 

In 2004, Canadian Army officers said the weapons would be delivered in August 2006 for eventual use in Afghanistan. Then the delivery date was later set as the summer of 2008.

 

Later the delivery of the guns was revised to occur in late 2009.

 

The new date for delivery is now 2012.

 

For more Canadian Forces and Defence Department news or articles by David Pugliese of the Ottawa Citizen go to David Pugliese’s Defence Watch at:

 

http://communities.canada.com/ottawacitizen/blogs/defencewatch/

 

NEW UNIFORM FOR CANADIAN FORCES OPERATIONS IN CANADIAN CITIES?: DAVID PUGLIESE OTTAWA CITIZEN

November 19, 2009

By David Pugliese

Ottawa Citizen

 

OTTAWA — Future Canadian soldiers could be wearing new uniforms designed to provide camouflage on the streets of our largest cities.

The Defence Department will know by March what designs might work for what is being called a Canadian Urban Environment Pattern.

Those designs are to be based on the “unique requirements” of the urban settings of Vancouver, Montreal and Toronto, according to an outline of the project being co-ordinated by scientists at Defence Research and Development Canada in Suffield, Alta.

Ottawa, the nerve centre of government and the military, was left off the list because it doesn’t rate as a major metropolitan centre.

“We’re not trying to slight any city in the country,” explained Scott Duncan, head of the soldier and systems protection group at DRDC Suffield. “We chose the three largest urban centres to have baseline data in this early development project.”

He said information gathered on what patterns might work best in those three cities could also have applications for other urban centres.

Duncan said the $25,000 study to come up with camouflage patterns did not necessarily mean a new uniform would be produced for the Canadian Forces anytime soon. Once the patterns are determined, the results will be presented to the Canadian military and it will be up to the leadership on how to proceed, he added.

“If you were to refer back to the Canada First Defence Strategy, one of the principal mandates that has been given to our military is that they must provide protection to the citizens of Canada and help exercise Canadian sovereignty,” Duncan said.

“Given our large urban population, should any operations be required, there’s a good probability that some of them will be taking place in urban environments.”

However, Eric Graves, the editor of Soldier Systems Daily, a U.S. website that reports on the uniform and equipment industry, questioned whether it made sense to have camouflage based on the landscape of Canadian cities. Various studies indicate the world’s population in developing nations is becoming more focused in urban areas and military officers often talk about future warfare being in those areas.

“It makes zero sense for the Canadian military to produce an urban pattern based on their own cities unless they plan on fighting there,” Graves noted.

“If that’s the case, then it is the perfect choice.”

Still, Graves said, if the Canadian military strategy is to continue supporting the United Nations and NATO on its operations, “the answer is that they have to take a broader look, and develop a pattern more suited to use in ungoverned or under-governed areas that are rapidly urbanizing.”

The contract for the Canadian camouflage pattern was awarded to HyperStealth Biotechnology Corp. in Maple Ridge, B.C.

The original contract requirement from DRDC Suffield noted that the current military uniform to protect against chemical, biological and radiological substances was available in only the desert and temperate woodland patterns.

Clement Laforce, deputy director general for DRDC Suffield, said the patterns that would be produced are not just for chemical or biological protective suits, but also for general use for the Canadian Forces.

An urban camouflage uniform was designed in the U.S. in the 1990s based on slate grey patterns. It is used by some U.S. police tactical teams, U.S. special forces on urban missions and a number of foreign special forces and law enforcement units.

However, Duncan said uniforms designed for a U.S. urban environment might not work in a Canadian setting. “There’s factors such as light, the amount and types of vegetation and weather patterns,” he said. “These are all parameters you take into consideration when you develop these patterns.”

 

Get the latest military and counter-terrorism news on David Pugliese’s Defence Watch.

 

For more Canadian Forces and Defence Department news or articles by David Pugliese of the Ottawa Citizen go to David Pugliese’s Defence Watch at:

 

http://communities.canada.com/ottawacitizen/blogs/defencewatch/

 

 

DAVID PUGLIESE DEFENCE WATCH COMMENTARY: THE SUDDEN PUSH TO GET A CANADIAN ARMY FIGHTING RIG

November 18, 2009

DEFENCE WATCH COMMENTARY

David Pugliese

Ottawa Citizen

The Defence Department and Public Works recently put out the call for the acquisition of Modular Fighting Rigs for the Canadian Army.

 

The request for proposals closes on Nov. 25 but those firms who wish to take part in the project have to have provide samples seven days before that (i.e. today, Nov. 18).

 

The new system is to be designed to provide soldiers deployed in operations the ability to carry critical fighting equipment included in their Fighting Order (The Fighting Order consists of, but is not limited to, the minimum essential ammunition, weapons, communications, Identification of Friend or Foe (IFF), navigation, trauma, water, rations, ballistic protection and environmental equipment that must be immediately available for combat. The system will also cater to different position/role within a section or platoon.)

 

Delivery of the rigs is to take place by March 2010.

 

But some inside the Canadian Forces and within industry are questioning the rationale for this urgent operational requirement purchase at this point in time. They note that for quite some time, the criticisms of the current equipment have been ignored. Yet all of a sudden, the rush is on to acquire this new piece of kit.

 

Does that make sense? There are of course different viewpoints on this.

 

Defence Watch presents below one such viewpoint on the issue. This analysis of the situation comes from a defence industry source who is not associated with any textile company or soldier equipment manufacturer but who has closely watched this project unfold.

 

Here is the analysis.

 

“On the positive side, the Canadian Forces is looking to adopt a modular based system for load carriage. The current in-service tactical vest has been widely criticized by CF members as being inadequate for operational use. DLR and DSSPM have dragged their feet for years in coming up with a solution to the criticisms of the tac-vest, until now, at the 11th hour of our current Afghanistan mission.

 

The manufacturers specifications in are SORD Australia, Tactical Tailor (US based), High Speed Gear (US Based), and CTOMS (Canadian).  It is interesting to note that none of the products requested are Canadian manufactured (CTOMS product is Canadian designed, but manufactured in the US).

 

Given the fact that Canadian textile firms are excluded from doing business with the US Dept. of Defense through the Berry Amendment and ‘Buy America’ clauses , one would wonder why and how the Canadian government would expect to get this procurement contract (which will likely have a total contract value greater than $1M Cdn) through, without drawing attention and criticism from the Canadian textiles industry, as well as opposition political parties.

 

In particular, Canada’s textile sector has been hurt during the recession.

 

Building load bearing equipment isn’t out of the realm of capability for Canadian companies such as Pacific Safety Products, or Fellfab who provide the Canadian Forces with much of the in-service items such as the Army’s rucksack, small pack and ballistic protective vest. What they need is some direction from DND in terms of a statement of requirement.

 

Canadian industry has not been given a fair opportunity to participate as companies were given less than 10 working days to submit a bid proposal along with material samples to meet a spec which DND has developed in relative secrecy. In fact, the project specifies that products utilize features based on intellectual property which are foreign owned.

 

Also interesting to note that neither CADPAT TW or AR are specified in his tender, which is odd, considering the significant amount of time, resources, and money which Canadian DND has put into developing the CADPAT pattern, which they claim significantly reduces the chance of a soldier’s detection in the visual and near infra-red spectrum, therefore increasing his survivability.

 

Canadian textile mills such as Lincoln Fabrics, and Consoltex have invested significant money and time to meet DND’s demanding specs for CADPAT fabrics, and have had a difficult time competing on the consumer market given the collapse of the North American textile industry. Is this how the government rewards their cooperation by spec’ing in foreign produced fabrics to be used by the Canadian Forces?

 

If DND were more forward thinking they could have engaged Canadian industry in terms of what their statement of requirement was, so that a made-in-Canada product which satisfies the requirements of the Canadian Forces could be fielded, rather than a rushed ‘UOR’ type requirement (this one is being labelled as an ‘Operational Evaluation’ by the CLS) at the 11th hour.”

 

 

 

Not everyone will agree with the above take on the situation. For instance, Soldier Systems, an website that covers the equipment industry, notes that Canadian textile manufacturers will likely get involved later manufacturing the fighting rigs under contract to the winning firm.

 

But it raises its own interesting aspects on this project: “What is even more interesting is that neither of the US companies chosen have major contracts with the US government,” Soldier Systems noted. “What is significant about their selection, and in fact all of the companies chosen, is that their selection is based completely on design. If you look at the initial list of 12 systems, none of the major US players were involved.”

 

For more Canadian Forces and Defence Department news or articles by David Pugliese of the Ottawa Citizen go to David Pugliese’s Defence Watch at:

 

http://communities.canada.com/ottawacitizen/blogs/defencewatch/

 

 

TWO TYPES OF GRENADE LAUNCHERS BEING CONSIDERED FOR CANADIAN ARMY BY DAVID PUGLIESE OTTAWA CITIZEN REPORTER

November 17, 2009

By David Pugliese

Ottawa Citizen

Canada has received two bids to provide the Canadian Forces with a new automatic grenade launcher but no date has been set for when the winning weapon system is selected.

A Defence Department spokeswoman told Defense Watch on Monday that request for proposal for the Close Area Suppression Weapon (CASW) project closed on October 8 and the proposals are now being examined by Public Works and Government Services. There is no indication when the winning bid will be selected but defence sources expect that to be completed by January or February 2010.

Rheinmetall Canada and Singapore Technologies each put in a bid, Defense Watch has learned.

Rheinmetall had offered the army the Heckler and Koch 40mm grenade launcher which is being used by 16 militaries, including many NATO nations. Singapore Technologies, which has kept a low profile during the competition, has its own 40mm grenade launcher and ammunition. If the Singapore Technologies gun is selected, then Canada would join the small number of nations which use the weapon.

The winner will be selected on the basis of the lowest cost meeting the requirements outlined by the Army.

Testing of both weapons was done several weeks ago at Canadian Forces Base Gagetown, NB, according to sources.

The $100 million CASW project has been repeatedly delayed, with some industry officials pointing to it as an example of the major problems plague the Defence Department’s procurement system.

In 2004, Canadian Army officers said the weapons would be delivered in August 2006 for eventual use in Afghanistan. Then the delivery date was later set as the summer of 2008.

Later the delivery of the guns was revised to occur in late 2009.

The new date for delivery is now 2012.

The project had to be restarted in the spring after government bureaucrats ruled that a defence company’s paperwork was not filled out properly.

Only one firm, Rheinmetall Canada, based in Quebec, bid on the project and although the HK gun technically fit all the army’s requirements, the government disqualified the firm’s bid. Public Works informed Rheinmetall Canada that the financial forms attached to its proposal didn’t provide enough information.

Rheinmetall Canada argued that it submitted a fully compliant bid. However, the government did not accept that position and the procurement process was begin again this summer.

For more Canadian Forces and Defence Department news or articles by David Pugliese of the Ottawa Citizen go to David Pugliese’s Defence Watch at:

http://communities.canada.com/ottawacitizen/blogs/defencewatch/

CANADIAN CLOSE COMBAT VEHICLE PROJECT DELAYED BY DAVID PUGLIESE OTTAWA CITIZEN REPORTER

November 16, 2009

 

BY DAVID PUGLIESE

OTTAWA CITIZEN

 

The Close Combat Vehicle project has fallen behind its schedule with the delay being attributed to issues around industrial region benefits, Defence Watch has learned.

 

A solicitation of interest and qualifications or SOIQ was supposed to be issued in September to industry with a request for proposals to follow by mid-November.

 

Neither has been issued.

 

The Defence Department has declined to discuss the CCV project or allow officials to do interviews on the acquisition, estimated to be worth around $1 billion. As a general rule, neither the Canadian Army nor the office of Assistant Deputy Minister Dan Ross allow media interviews on equipment programs.

 

Public Works and Government Services spokeswoman Celine Tremblay noted that the government is working closely with the defence industry to address requirement for the Close Combat Vehicle.

 

An industry day was held on September 2 and 3 and feedback was received during one-on-one sessions with contractors, she added. That information was assessed to ensure potential changes are addressed within the Solicitation of Interest and Qualifications.

 

“The Government of Canada will issue the SOIQ for the Close Combat Vehicle (CCV) on when the review process is complete,” Tremblay stated in an email.

 

Defence sources say there is general agreement within the bureaucracy on the need for the armoured vehicle program but there has been some concern about how industrial regional benefits will be handled. The Harper government has been concerned about the criticism that it has received that billions of dollars has been spent or earmarked for new military equipment but Canada’s industry has seen little work from that spending.

 

However, defence sources believe that government concerns regarding industrial regional benefits can be dealt with and they expect a request for proposals for the CCV to be issued within the next month.

 

The Close Combat Vehicle project will involve the procurement and fielding of the armoured vehicles as well as the development and implementation of a through-life in-service support contract.

 

The Canadian Forces will acquire 108 vehicles with an option for up to 30 more. The contract is scheduled to be awarded by summer 2011 with initial operational capability (IOC) declared one year later in July 2012, according to DND officials. The CCV is expected to reach full operational capability by July 2015.”

 

The Canadian Forces sees the CCV as bridging the gap between light armoured vehicles (five to 20 tonnes) and heavy armoured vehicles (more than 45 tonnes), coming in between 25 and 45 tonnes. The CCV will allow infantry to operate in support of the Leopard 2 tanks, providing the Army with a more balanced and integrated fleet, according to the Army.

 

Nexter Systems, the French armored vehicle firm,  is offering the Canadian Army its wheeled VBCI armoured vehicles for the CCV project. The Hagglund’s tracked CV90 from BAE Systems is also being offered for CCV.

 

At this point, armoured vehicle manufacturer Rheinmetall has not indicated whether it will take part in the project.

 

For more Canadian Forces and Defence Department news or articles by David Pugliese of the Ottawa Citizen go to David Pugliese’s Defence Watch at:

 

http://communities.canada.com/ottawacitizen/blogs/defencewatch/

 


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