Progress to Modernize the Canadian Armed Forces for Tomorrow’s Security Challenges: Minister Anand Updates National Defence Stakeholders
The Government of Canada recognizes that the international security environment is changing. As such, they are committed to working to equip the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) personnel with the tools needed to protect Canada. This includes increasing defence investments by more than 70 percent between 2018 and 2026 as outlined in Canada’s defence policy. Canada is also making additional targeted investments in continental defence and other priority areas.
Defence Minister Anita Anand recently updated industry partners, stakeholders, and defence experts on the work to protect Canadians at the Ottawa Conference on Security and Defence hosted by the Conference of Defence Associations Institute. As part of here update, Defence Minister Anand announced that Canada will be acquiring Portable Anti-X Missile systems,Counter Uncrewed Aircraft Systems, and Air Defence Systems as Urgent Operational Requirements (UORs). These systems will help to improve the self-protection of military members deployed in Eastern Europe as part of Operation REASSURANCE.
“As our world grows more complex, we are making the necessary investments to modernize the Canadian Armed Forces with the equipment that its members need to keep Canadians safe. Modernization is a team effort, and that is why we are working concurrently to update Canada’s defence policy in consultation with industry partners, experts, and Canadians. We are continuing to build a modern military that can protect our country from a range of new and emerging threats,” said the Honourable Anita Anand, Minister of National Defence.
Urgent Operational Requirement projects include:
- The Portable Anti-X Missile systems (PAXM). This system will provide PAXM systems which include missiles, simulators and associated support. They will serve to empower the CAF personnel deployed with the Canada-led multinational NATO enhanced Forward Presence Battle Group Latvia with training and the capability to destroy main battle tanks. This will be a streamlined procurement process, so it is expected that a Request for Proposal will be issued within the coming months and a contract will be awarded in mid-2023.
- The Counter Uncrewed Aircraft System – Urgent Operational Requirement (CUAS UOR). This project will provide a CUAS capability that will provide protection measures against hostile Class 1 UAS for CAF personnel deployed in the Operation REASSURANCE theatre of operations. March 2, 2023 saw a Request for Information issued. The project will be executed with a phased implementation approach. It is estimated there will be a contract award for Dismounted Equipment and Fixed Site Systems by Fall 2023 and a contract award for Vehicle Mounted, Fully Integrated Systems by early 2024.
- The Air Defence – Urgent Operational Requirement (AD UOR). This project will acquire a soldier portable Very-Short Range Air Defence System (VSHORAD) for the NATO enhanced Forward Presence Battle Group Latvia. It will provide capability to defeat attack aircraft and Class 1 UAS within the area of operations. It is expected that a Request for Information will be issued in March 2023 with a Request for Proposal in Summer 2023. The current estimate for contract award is early 2024.
Additionally, Minister Anand announced that Canada has awarded a contract for the Redwing space domain awareness microsatellite project. This project is valued at $15.8 million.
The agile microsatellite at the centre of this project will be built and operated in Canada and will serve to monitor objects orbiting Earth, helping to reduce future risks to Canada’s space infrastructure from space debris or human-caused interference. The Redwing microsatellite will be able to record and transmit tracking data from anywhere in its orbit, monitoring objects in congested orbits. Redwing will also have the capability to take images of nearby space objects and monitor those space objects that perform unexpected maneuvers.
Defence Research and Development Canada (DRDC) will direct the Redwing project with with design, manufacturing, and operations provided by Magellan Aerospace (Winnipeg, Manitoba). The ground stations will be in Inuvik, Northwest Territories, and Happy Valley Goose Bay, Newfoundland, and Labrador. The design phase of the project is expected to be completed by fall 2024. Following this, it expected the build and test phase of the microsatellite will be completed by 2026 with a launch planned for late 2026.
Minister Anand’s final update was an invitation to participate in in ongoing consultations for Canada’s Defence Policy Update (DPU). This invitation was extended to attendees as well as other stakeholders and all Canadians. This will serve to build on Canada’s current defence policy, Strong, Secure, Engaged (SSE), helping to ensure the CAF is prepared and able to meet any threat in the global security environment.
Canadians have until April 30, 2023, to contribute to the consultation through a new web form where they can provide comments and feedback on the DPU’s focus areas.
The DND has undertaken targeted engagements with Canadian industry leaders and Canadian defence and security companies, Canadian defence, and security experts, including academics, Members of Parliament and Senators, and Indigenous leaders since the announcement of the review of Canada’s defence policy in Budget 2022. On the international front, the DND has also engaged with Allies and partners, including NORAD, Five Eyes, and NATO, many of whom are also undergoing similar review processes.