Posts Tagged ‘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:



November 16, 2009





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:



November 15, 2009

Security specialist says nuclear sub’s northern exposure sends a message that Canada should heed: Take Arctic claims seriously


By David Pugliese


The Ottawa Citizen


November 15, 2009




The recent surfacing of a U.S. submarine near the North Pole and an increase in military activity in the Arctic this year should send a warning to the Canadian government that other nations are serious about boosting their presence in the resource-rich region, says a specialist on Canada’s northern security.


The U.S. Navy recently confirmed that the USS Texas and its 134-member crew completed an Arctic mission, with some U.S. media outlets noting the nuclear-powered submarine broke through the ice near the North Pole and stayed on the surface for 24 hours.


Rob Huebert, an Arctic specialist with the University of Calgary, said the Texas is the third U.S. submarine to visit the region so far this year. Earlier this year, five Russian submarines were operating around the North Pole during test firings of missiles, he added.


“It takes a lot of effort to get up there,” Huebert said. “The message being sent with the Texas is that the U.S. takes the Arctic seriously, as do other countries. I don’t get the impression that Canada is taking all this in.”


It is unclear exactly what route the USS Texas took during its voyage, whether it transited through Canadian waters or whether Canada was told in advance about the visit.


Before being elected prime minister, Stephen Harper complained about U.S. submarines operating in Canadian waters without permission. He vowed that his government would require all foreign vessels to seek permission from Canada before entering the country’s Arctic waters. Other nations, however, do not recognize Canada’s claim to some areas in the region, including the Northwest Passage.


Officials with Defence Minister Peter MacKay declined comment and referred requests for information to Foreign Affairs. The Foreign Affairs department declined to say whether the U.S. submarine operated in Canadian waters and, if it had, whether permission for that was granted by Canada.


Foreign Affairs spokesman Alain Cacchione stated that information about submarine operations is considered secret. He noted in an e-mail that Canada permits shipping through its Arctic waters, provided vessels respect Canadian controls “related to safety, security, the environment and Inuit interests.”


There are safety protocols in place under NATO that provide for the exchange of information on allied submarine movements, Cacchione added.


In the past, U.S. Arctic submarine exercises have included firing unarmed torpedoes to test their performance in frigid waters. The U.S. Navy did not release details on what, if any, weapon tests were performed by the Texas.


The Arctic is increasingly being seen as a potential flashpoint as receding polar ice allows easier access to the region.


In September, the Danish Defence Intelligence Agency released a report warning that increases in shipping and the exploitation of oil and gas reserves in the Arctic could spark military and diplomatic conflicts.


Both MacKay and Foreign Affairs Minister Lawrence Cannon have taken a hard line in regard to excursions by the Russians into the Arctic.


Earlier this year, MacKay accused the Russians of sending military aircraft too close to Canadian northern airspace. He vowed that Canadian Forces CF-18 fighter aircraft would intercept every Russian aircraft each and every time they came near the country.


In March, Cannon said Canada “will not be bullied” by a Russian plan to create a new security force for the Arctic. Canada has its own plans for a new military response force for the Far North.


Huebert noted that Russia is rebuilding its submarine fleet and that the Danish and Norwegian navies are also increasing their Arctic capabilities. The U.S. Coast Guard has pushed for an increase in its presence in the region.


Huebert said the Canadian government has made a number of positive announcements on improving military and federal capabilities in the North and annual exercises have been conducted in the Arctic during the summer.


“But so far, on the Canadian side, there’s been a lot of talk,” Huebert added. “They’re moving pretty slowly while others are already expanding their operations in the North.”


The Harper government has announced over the last several years the creation of a military training centre in the Arctic, economic aid to the region, as well as the construction of a new port, an icebreaker and a fleet of Arctic patrol ships. Work is under way on the various projects but in many cases it will take years before they are ready.


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: