ITAR changes in the works

When an American official talks to a Canadian defence audience about ITAR, the International Trade in Arms Regulation, the reception can be chilly. Designed to control the import and export of defence technologies, the American regulations have been seen by some in Canada as unnecessarily restrictive, confusing and detrimental to Canadian companies.

So when Robert Kovac spoke recently at DEFSEC Atlantic in Halifax, his message that things will change was welcomed, even if it was met with some scepticism.

“There is a yawn associated with this,” admitted the acting Deputy Assistant Secretary for Defense Trade at the State Department, acknowledging all new administrations announce reforms. But he assured his audience President Obama’s export trade control reform initiative is well underway.

Kovacs walked the conference through some myth busting about ITAR. He made the point that the export control regime does not preclude defence cooperation – it simply enforces U.S. law. To the claim that it takes forever to get licensing agreements, he conceded that as recently as 2006, it took 43 days. “It’s two weeks today,” he said. It will work better in the future, he added, because of substantial changes expected to the law. In the meantime, he said, Canadian companies who understand the regulations thoroughly could help educate their U.S. trade partners. He cautioned, though, that all “forthcoming changes will use national security as a litmus test.”

DEW signs weapon systems deal with BAE

Ottawa-based DEW Engineering and BAE Systems Bofors of Karlskoga, Sweden signed a “teaming” agreement at DEFSEC Atlantic to provide local production of the Bofors LEMUR Remote Weapons System (RWS).

The announcement follows a recent decision by the Canadian Forces to move forward with the Family of Future Combat Vehicles project, a $5.2 billion effort to upgrade and acquire new vehicles.

Expecting the combat vehicles will require enhanced firepower, the DEW-BAE Systems partnership is intended to offer the Bofors LEMUR, part of a family of RWS from 5.56 to 25/30 mm, as a new capability. Both companies have also partnered to offer BAE’s CV-90 as a candidate for the close combat vehicle program.

The project would be delivered from DEW’s facility in Miramichi, New Brunswick, and would be subjected to Canada’s Industrial and Regional Benefit policy. The agreement was sign by Craig Campbell, DEW’s vice-president of business development, and Peter Carlqvist, regional director of marketing and sales for BAE Systems Bofors.

Meet the new fighter, same as the old fighter?

Replacement of Canada’s F/A-18 is far from a done deal, but Boeing is making sure that although the government has millions invested in the development of a competitor, the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, the best replacement for an F-18 may be another F-18.

Glenn Erutti, Boeing’s program manager for F/A-18 international new business, admits the relationship with Lockheed Martin and the F-35 program “probably slants the government in one way because they have put money into a program.” But with 400 new F-18 E/F Super Hornet variants delivered around the globe, he believes Boeing has a reliable and proven platform.

For Vanguard’s interview with Erutti at DEFSEC Atlantic in Halifax, see

In brief
The main fuselage, front cab section and vertical and horizontal stabilizers of Canada’s new CC-130Js were “mated” in mid-September on the first of 17 aircraft at Lockheed Martin’s assembly facility in Marietta, Georgia… Marport C-Tech, based in Cornwall, ON, signed a teaming agreement with OSI Geospatial of Ottawa in advance of DEFSEC Atlantic 2009 to integrate its CSDS-85 Underwater Intruder Detection Sonar with the OSI Geospatial Asset Control and Tracking (ACT) system…

OSI Geospatial also signed a contract with Defence Research and Development Canada to deliver a prototype counter-IED Immersive Training Environment system utilizing OSI’s iGEN Cognitive Synthetic Agents to assist the CF to recognize, react to and defeat situations where an IED danger exists…

Toronto-based Vector Aerospace confirmed in September that its Helicopter Services Rolls-Royce 250 model engine repair facility in Lewisville, Texas would be consolidating with the Vector Engine Services-Atlantic Pratt & Whitney Canada engine repair station in Southlake, Texas to create a combined engine repair operation…

Northstar Network of St. John’s, NL, was awarded an add-on to the $2.6 million contract it signed with L-3 Communications MAPPS to build consoles for land-based trainers for the Halifax Class of ships. The original contract in March called for 66 Standard Marine Consoles and 60 Local Operating Panels as part of an Integrated Platform Management System to train the Navy staff in the operation of the consoles…

CAE of Montreal confirmed deals valued at over C$100 million with prime contractors Eurocopter, Airbus Military and L-3 Communications that include major upgrades on two CAE-built CH-53 full-mission simulators operated at the German Army Aviation School at Buckeburg; provision of a A330 Multi-Role Tanker Transport training devices to the United Arab Emirates and Royal Saudi Air Force; and provision of avionics software upgrades, integrated logistics support and data management services for the Canadian Forces CF-18 aircraft…

BMT Fleet Technology of Kanata, ON has been awarded a three-year, $15.54 million contract by the Canadian government to provide engineering, logistics and management support and services for the Defence Ship Design Group at DND to conduct option analysis and prepare statements of work and evaluations linked to the Canadian Navy fleet.