Navy tests UAV launch and recovery
The Canadian Navy recently completed the first launch and recovery of an unmanned aerial vehicle from a warship.

The demonstration and evaluation was conducted by the Canadian Forces Maritime Warfare Centre with the ScanEagle, an UAV developed by Insitu in partnership with Boeing.

The ScanEagle was launched from and recovered by the Kingston Class Maritime Coastal Defence Vessel, HMCS Glace Bay. Control of the AUV was handed off in flight from Navy personnel to a land-based control station at the Halifax Naval base operated by Army personnel.

Results of the trial, known as a DEVAL, will be presented to Vice Admiral Dean McFadden, chief of the Maritime Staff, in January. But the mission included locating and tracking pre-positioned vessels, suspicious activity organized ashore, as well as objects and divers in the water. The intent was to further the navy’s knowledge of the practicability of using an AUV in maritime operations. The Navy has been assessing the potential of UAVs for several years.

The ScanEagle, currently in use with U.S. Special Operations Command, U.S. Marine Expeditionary Forces and the U.S. Navy, is being leased by the Canadian Forces for operations in Afghanistan.

United they stand
Two prominent unmanned systems associations have joined forces to better represent the sector with a single organization. Members of UVS Canada and AUVSI-Canada approved the merger to create Unmanned Systems Canada (USC) following a yearlong negotiation.

“Having one association to represent the Canadian unmanned sector will remove any confusion that may have been present and will provide a stronger voice on issues affecting the Canadian sector,” said Pip Rudkin, USC’s chairman. The merged was announced following UVS Canada’s annual conference in November.

Among UCS’s objectives is the growth of the unmanned vehicle systems community through education, advocacy, and exchange of ideas and technologies, as well as international leadership in research, development, application, and use.

Ahead of IRB deadlines, Boeing thanks partners
Boeing tipped its cap to its industry partners at a recent reception in Ottawa to acknowledge the company’s early completion of its industrial and regional benefits (IRB) program for phase two of the CF-18 fighter avionics modernization program.

Lieutenant-General André Deschamps, chief of the Air Staff, was on hand to acknowledge the accomplishment and wish the company similar success on its CH-147 Chinook helicopter IRB program, expected to total $1.15 billion.

The second phase of the CF-18 IRB program, valued at about $138 million, was completed three years ahead of schedule, the company said. Phase 1 of the program was concluded in January, one year early.

Boeing also has active IRB programs tied to the purchase and sustainment of the four CC-177 airlifters (valued at nearly $1.5 billion) and ScanEagle unmanned aircraft services (approximately $31 million).

In Brief
Lockheed Martin reached a milestone in the international Joint Strike Fighter program in November when the first F-35B Lightning II short takeoff/vertical landing (STOVL) stealth fighter arrived at Naval Air Station Patuxent River to begin conducting hovers and vertical landings…

Pratt & Whitney’s F135 engine cleared a final U.S. government hurdle with the completion of altitude qualification ground testing. The test for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter engine evaluated air start capability and augmentor performance, as well as the performance of critical systems such as in-flight throttle response, inlet compatibility, engine ice protection and combustor stability. The test was for the Conventional Take-off and Landing and Carrier Variant…

The International Systems Operations of Ottawa-based OSI Geospatial signed a contract to provide an undisclosed naval customer with its ECPINS-W Sub WECDIS navigation software for trials and evaluation…

Vector Aerospace Helicopter Services of Richmond, B.C., was awarded a subcontract from the U.S. Army Fleet Support at Fort Rucker, Alabama for aircraft inspection and painting of twenty-five TH-67 (Bell 206) helicopters under its Flying Hour program. The contract also includes approval to complete aircraft structural overhauls on two heavily damaged TH-67 helicopters…

Burlington-based L-3 WESCAM was selected by Boeing to supply fifteen digital electro-optical and infrared (EO/IR) imaging sensors for the Canadian Medium-Heavy Lift Helicopter program. The MX-15 EO/IR imaging turrets will be installed on the CF’s newly acquired Chinook helicopters…

CAE sold two of its 7000 Series ARJ21-700 Level D full-flight simulators (FFS) to COMAC Shanghai Aircraft Customer Service Co., owned by Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China. The contract, valued at approximately C$35 million at list price, comes just days after the Montreal-based company concluded FFS sales with Malaysia Airlines, Kenya Airways, Korean Air, and Mount Cook Airlines…

General Dynamics Canada and Marport C-Tech signed a MOU that will see them develop and market a suite of next generation underwater acoustic products to support underwater military ISR missions. The agreement comes on the heels of a multi-year research and development contract awarded by GD Canada to Marport for new naval sonar products.