Government leveraging “close partnership” with industry to deliver modern equipment to the CAF

As Canada’s largest defence trade show, CANSEC has been instrumental in bringing both local and international companies together to showcase their innovative solutions for Canada. Since its first show back in 1998, CANSEC has grown to become a leading defence and security event, providing the opportunity for many defence, aerospace and security companies to exhibit their cutting-edge technologies and products and services for the different domains within the military.

This year was no different; there was a vast array of equipment, technologies and innovative solutions on display with a real buzz in the air around procurement.

Procurement is an integral part of ensuring armed forces are equipped with modern equipment to face the evolving threats in the world today. This was highlighted by the Minister of Public Services and Procurement and Accessibility, Carla Qualtrough, during CANSEC 2019. The minister provided an update on procurement for the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) as it relates to Strong, Secure, Engaged. Some of the updates included: Remotely Piloted Aircraft System (RPAS), which the government is working with qualified suppliers to review and refine the preliminary requirements; the purchase of three Beechcraft King Air 350 aircraft with integrated systems for the Manned Airborne Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (MAISR) project; refining the Request for Proposals (RFP) for the Future Aircrew Training (FAcT) Program; and the much anticipated and debated RFP release for the Future Fighter project. She also spoke about building 18 new large ships for the Canadian Coast Guard, with Irving slated to build two new Arctic Offshore Patrol Ships, which will be adapted to perform a range of critical missions, and the other 16 Multi-Purpose Vessels to be constructed by Seaspan.

Attending his fourth CANSEC trade show as Minister of National Defence, Harjit Sajjan provided an outline of his government’s progress to date on procurement. He made the point that of the 330 projects planned in Strong, Secure, Engaged, over 65 per cent have been implemented and are in various stages of completion. He went on to add that they are streamlining the procurement process by using new analytical models to help with forecasting and financial planning.

Minister Sajjan went on to explain that by continuing their “close partnership” with industry, they are better positioned to deliver modern tools and equipment to the CAF. “It is not just about large equipment; we are working on smaller projects as well that will enable individual soldiers to be more effective in the field and provide greater situational awareness,” he said. He provided highlights of defence investments on land, sea and air, with emphasis on the Future Fighter project, the Arctic Offshore Patrol Ships and equipping the Canadian Coast Guard with new vessels. He said that getting procurement right is an important part of his role as Minister of National Defence.

The two-day trade show, which took place at the EY Centre in Ottawa on May 29-30, was attended by thousands of defence and security industry representatives, government and military officials including generals, senators, cabinet ministers and international delegates. Over 200 companies exhibited their products and services in the EY Centre while some brought their heavy-duty machinery that was showcased outside.

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