Inside Industry

Factor the human
Note to manufacturers bidding on the TAPV, CCV or any other vehicle program: don’t overlook the human factor. During a demonstration at a soldier system modernization workshop in Gatineau last month intended to highlight a range of communications and equipment issues currently facing soldiers, organizers with DRDC, DND and Industry Canada drew attention to the human aspect of soldier-vehicle integration. The demo, in which an eight-man unit embarked and disembarked from a LAV III several times, drove home the point that even partially kitted, soldiers struggle to manoeuvre in and out of the cramped vehicles.

Major (Ret’d) Linda Bossi, head of the human systems integration section at DRDC, urged vendors to consider human factors for vehicles and other platforms. “In addition to having a bigger soldier, we’ve added a lot more equipment,” she noted. While that has obvious implications for everything from clothing to helmets to eye wear, it also affects vehicle design. DRDC is gathering user input on a range of acquisitions for soldier systems to identify deficiencies and validate successes. It’s also developing tools and tests which industry, with limited R&D budgets, can access before designing kit.

Arctic patrol ship to “warm up” shipyard for surface combatant
Public Works and Government Services confirmed in October that five shipyards have been short-listed to build the navy’s large vessels. The five – Davie Yards of Lévis, QC; Irving Shipbuilding of Saint John, NB; Vancouver Shipyards of North Vancouver, BC; Kiewit Offshore Services of Milton, ON; and Seaway Marine & Industrial of St. Catharines, ON – were vetted through a SOIQ process under the government’s shipbuilding procurement strategy and will be invited to submit RFPs, of which two will be selected, one to build combat vessels and the other to build non-combat vessels.

Speaking at Defsec Atlantic in Halifax in September, Dan Ross, DND’s Assistant Deputy Minister (Materiel), confirmed that the Arctic Offshore Patrol Ship will be grouped in the “warships package” to prepare the selected shipyard for the Canadian Surface Combatant.

“If you’re going to leave that yard inactive until you’re building your first warship seven or eight years from now, you’re going into high-risk with a very expensive platform which is the same size as AOPS. We see a frigate or frigate replacement at five to six thousand tons; the AOPS is five to six thousand tons, six to eight ships.”

In his remarks, Ross explained the logic behind the decision to select two Canadian shipyards to build different packages of government ships. For his comments on ship construction, please see:

Predictions for future business
Three senior retired U.S. military officers now with Deloitte have issued a report, “Defense: New Realities, Innovative Response,” which identifies opportunities for investment in a rapidly changing marketplace faced with looming budget cuts.

Since information is the currency du jour, next generation ISR (intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance) tops their list. That means not only innovative new platforms for data collection, but also better analysis and dissemination methods to improve decision-making. Second is all things cyber. “An entire new business sector will be created by the need to define critical cyber infrastructure and the actions required to protect those assets,” they predict.

Space is hardly a new frontier anymore, but it has required considerable dollars to play. The authors predict more activity in space, in large part to enhance ISR, but that means more affordable space assets.

The full Deloitte study is available at:

Small satellites show big picture
COM DEV Canada and its subsidiary exactEarth are using micro and nano scale satellite platforms to deliver more data, communication and services to more customers at a lower price.

The company saw a big opportunity in the post-911 U.S. presidential directive for vastly improved data about the world’s maritime traffic. The result was Nanosatellite Tracking of Ships, a self-funded satellite launch in 2008 that demonstrates how ships with AIS (automated identification system) transponder technology can be tracked from space.

“From our perspective, there is a lot of potential for growth and sales in meeting the strategic objectives of Canada and many other nations,” said Richard Kolacz, COM DEV Canada’s vice-president of business development, during an interview at Defsec Atlantic in Halifax last month.

Payloads aboard microsatellites and nanosatellites can provide data to support search and rescue, mapping, reconnaissance and maritime situational awareness. A small nation can use a fleet of patrol aircraft to look at its maritime domain “through a straw,” or spend a lot less money and collect a lot more information from a satellite, Kolacz said. At present, several countries are engaged in various trials of exactEarth services.

Eagle eyes pirates
The tale of the rescue of Captain Richard Phillips from Somali pirates in April 2009 is well known. Less well known is the role played by the ScanEagle, a small UAV that has served the Canadian Forces in Afghanistan. Launched from the USS Bainbridge, the Insitu-built aircraft provided some of the live data feeds used by U.S. Seal teams to calculate the sniper shots that killed a trio of pirates holding the captain in a life raft. The control of the ScanEagle was even passed between ground stations on the three USN ships that responded to the pirate attack, explained Peter Bale, director of strategy and new business development for Insitu, which was acquired by Boeing in 2008.

Army buys Rheinmetall grenade launcher
Finally, confirmation that the Canadian army is buying a Close Area Suppression Weapon – the 40 mm Automatic Grenade Launcher from Rheinmetall Land Systems of St. Jean, Quebec.

The word came from Dan Ross, (ADM Mat) during his “state of Canada’s military procurement address” at Defsec Atlantic. Ross said the army is buying almost 400 grenade launchers under a contract that could be worth $100 million. He described them as “a very sophisticated system. It gives you computerized indirect fire.” The weapon is being purchased to replace the old 60 mm mortar but Ross doubts the infantry will give them up. “They will still want to have their 60 millimeter mortar,” he admitted.

In Brief

The Canadian Army took delivery of 20 modernized Leopard 2 A4M CAN main battle tanks from Munich-based Krauss-Maffei Wegmann in October. The enhanced Leopard 2s will be deployed to Afghanistan…

The U.S. operation of Vancouver-based MacDonald, Dettwiler and Associates, MDA Information Systems, was awarded a contract to provide an advanced information solution to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers geospatial centre…

Atlantis Systems Eduplus, a Dartmouth-based division of Atlantis Systems Corp, began work under a contract for Lockheed Martin Canada on advanced training systems for the Navy’s Halifax class modernization/frigate life extension (HCM/FELEX) project…

Montreal-based CAE recently landed contracts from the German Army Aviation School, Lockheed Martin and L-3 Communications worth $75 million. The deal with L-3 involves avionics software upgrades, integrated logistics support and data management services for the CF-18 aircraft…

The crew of “Rescue 912” from Canadian Forces Squadron 103 in Gander was selected as the winner of the 2010 Cormorant Trophy for Helicopter Rescue in September; the award is given by AgustaWestland…

Thales Canada received a Navy contract to supply dedicated UHF satellite communication omni-directional antennas for four of the Halifax-class frigates that are being converted to command ships…

The International Systems Operations of Ottawa-based OSI Geospatial was awarded a contract to supply its ECPINS W (Sub) software to the UK Royal Navy’s Astute class submarine…

Northstar Network of St. John’s signed a new master purchase order with Lockheed Martin valued at US$16.4 million as part of the P-3 mid-life upgrade program. Northstar supplies about 400 parts and assemblies per aircraft…

Burlington-based L-3 WESCAM will supply Quantum Research International with imaging and targeting sensors for the Long Endurance Multi-Intelligence Vehicle used by the U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command. L-3 WESCAM was also the recipient of a $17.5 million grant from the Ontario government to support research and development into leading-edge technologies in airborne imaging systems. The grant is expected to help create 375 highly-skilled jobs, while retaining 555 existing positions at the business over the next five years…

Thales’ Bushmaster, in service in Iraq and Adfghanistan, has qualified for the next phase of Canada’s Tactical Armoured Patrol Vehicle (TAPV) program…

General Dynamics Canada will supply over 1,000 Smart Display Units for installation in U.S. Army Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicles; the order represents the first use of GD’s technology on the MRAP platform…

As part of its IRB commitment, Raytheon awarded Dalhousie and Memorial Universities grants totalling US$500,000 to advance research in the aerospace industry…

Vector Aerospace opened a new service centre in Calgary, to provide field service and engine repairs on the Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A and PW100 engine series.

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