In September, I was pleased to have attended DEFSEC in Halifax. Vanguard has been with Canada’s East Coast defence show since its early days, and this year Colin Stephenson and his dedicated team put on the best one to date.

Now that Irving Shipbuilding has put their torches to steel in the first stages of construction for the Arctic Offshore Patrol Ships program, progress can be measured in something other than signed contracts. And while it’s nice to see the physical side of the NSPS come to life, the work is far from over.

Those companies exhibiting at DEFSEC this year certainly know that; in fact, I was surprised at the strong presence of Atlantic-based defence SMEs this year. According to the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA), the region’s aerospace and defence sector saw exports skyrocket 189 per cent from 2001 to 2008.

While in Nova Scotia, I had the chance to visit Lockheed Martin’s Maritime Advanced Training and Test Site (MATTS) facility just across The Narrows in Dartmouth. We covered this in our “Inside Industry,” section in the magazine and it comes up again in the article on the Canadian Surface Combatant program. As you’ll learn, MATTS plays a more important role in our naval programs than testing and training.

One of the most interesting finds in the October/November 2015 Vanguard issue is the research conducted by the NRC’s Chris Kingston and Benoit Simard. Both these men are outpacing NASA in the race to bring better, stronger and lighter materials to the defence industry, so you’ll be very interested in learning about what’s sitting in their lab right now.

I began this note speaking about an event and I’m going to end the same way. In the near future, Shipbuilding Canada and Vanguard Media will be hosting a Shipbuilding Forum at the law offices of BLG in Ottawa. The theme for this event is: “Changing tack, setting sail for export.” I’ve said this before, but the future of shipbuilding in Canada cannot be left solely in the hands of government. If industry is going to capitalize on the opportunity that the NSPS presents, it must be done together. I encourage you to attend, and to share your ideas. You can find the details of this event at