VILNIUS – NATO fighter jets serving in the Baltic air policing mission were scrambled eight times last week to intercept Russian military aircraft flying in international airspace over the Baltic Sea, the Lithuanian Defense Ministry said on Monday.
The ministry said that a total of 21 Russian planes were intercepted, around half of which were fighter jets, while the NATO jets also identified several transport and passenger planes over the Baltic Sea.
Most of the Russian aircraft had their automatic transponders switched off, the statement said.
The biggest number of scrambles took place last Thursday, when the alliance’s jets took off three times in total and intercepted ten aircraft.
The Swedish air force is hosting the 2017 Arctic Fighter Meet at the Flygvapnet air-base at Luleå, in the North of Sweden.
The meet is scheduled to take place from 21 to 25 August.
Swedish air Force Gripen fighters and F-16 fighters of the Norwegian air force will be joined by six F/A-18 Hornets and three Hawk-Jet training aircraft of the Ilmavoimat (Finnish Air Force). Cross Border Training (CBT) between Finland and Norway will take place during the exercise, to hone the skills of the pilots and test the air defence systems of the participating nations.
The aim of the exercise is to fly in accordance with the training programmes of the Norwegian, Swedish and Finnish Air Forces, increase reaction times through airspace incursion drills, as well as to educate newly qualified pilots in Joint-training missions and mission interoperability.
Similar exercises have been held since 2003. The aim is to strengthen defence cooperation in the Nordic countries (NORDEFCO) and to develop the international interoperability. The exercise promotes cooperation between the Nordic nations of NORDEFCO and NATO and is designed to integrate the training programmes of the participating countries and increase operational effectiveness.
For more information, contact the Chief of staff of the Lapland flight detachment Juri Kurttila, p. 0299 800 (vaihde).
ARLINGTON, Va. — The Navy is looking at ways to accelerate the phase-out of F/A-18C “Classic” Hornet strike fighters from its carrier air wings and replacing the last few squadrons with F/A-18E Super Hornets, a Navy spokeswoman said.
“As we balance operational requirements and our initiatives to build the most capable and ready forward-deployed force, we are identifying the most efficient and effective way to safely transition the last four Navy operational Hornet squadrons to Super Hornets,” Cmdr. Jeannie Groeneveld, public affairs officer for commander, Naval Air Forces, said in an e-mail to Seapower.
“In order to provide our most capable warfighting force forward, the Navy began the first of the final transitions of our four operational F/A-18C Hornet squadrons to F/A-18E Super Hornet squadrons in July, with an expected completion in [fiscal] ’19. Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 131, was the first of the four squadrons to begin the transition last month.”
The other three F/A-18C squadrons, all based at Naval Air Station Oceana, Va., are VFA-34, VFA-37 and VFA-83.
“Accelerating the transition to Super Hornets will allow cost savings and reduce depot maintenance workload,” Groeneveld said. “As the Navy approaches the end of the extended service life for Hornets, the cost per flight hour continues to increase. Additionally, there are shortages in the Department of the Navy’s spare parts and supply system that have contributed to flight line readiness challenges, as well as our ability to extend the service lives of these airframes.”
She also said the transitions give the Navy the opportunity to select its best-condition Hornets for use by the Marine Corps and by Navy support and reserve units, such as Naval Aviation Warfighting Development Center, Fighter Composite Squadron 12, Reserve squadron VFA-204 and the Navy’s Flight Demonstration Squadron, the Blue Angels.
The Navy is confident it will be able to continue to support all operational requirements as it completes transition of the Hornet fleet to Super Hornets,” she said.
Congress has supported the Navy’s requirements for increased Super Hornet procurement to bridge the gap to the fleet introduction of the F-35C Lightning II strike fighter. The first fleet squadron to make the transition to the F-35C will be VFA-147 in 2018.
Last year, the Liberals announced a proposal to buy 18 interim fighter jets from Boeing to deal with a capability gap facing the Royal Canadian Air Force.
Lockheed Martin has offered the Liberal government the F-35 as an “interim” fighter aircraft, a move sure to turn up the heat on rival U.S. aerospace firm Boeing still embroiled in a trade dispute with Canada.
Last year, the Liberals announced a proposal to buy 18 interim fighter jets from Boeing to deal with a capability gap facing the Royal Canadian Air Force. But that multibillion dollar plan to acquire Super Hornet jets has been thrown into limbo after Boeing filed a trade complaint in the U.S. against Bombardier of Quebec.
The Liberal government broke off discussions with Boeing on the Super Hornet deal.
But Lockheed Martin has seen opportunity in the rift between Canada and Boeing and has officially offered its F-35 as an interim aircraft to supplement the RCAF’s aging CF-18 jets. Lockheed has long contended the F-35 is more cost effective and more advanced than the Super Hornet.
Asked about the Lockheed Martin offer, Matthew Luloff, a spokesman with Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan’s office, responded that the federal government continues “to explore many options to provide an interim solution to supplement the CF-18s until the permanent replacement is fully operational.”
“We have not yet made a decision,” he added in an email. “Discussions must demonstrate that the interim fleet is appropriately capable and can be obtained at a cost, schedule, and economic value that are acceptable to Canadians.”
Lockheed Martin has noted that it continues to provide the Canadian government with updated information on the maturity of the F-35 program and the operational status of the jet.
The F-35 will be showcased Aug. 11-13 in Canada at the airshow at Abbotsford, B.C. The U.S. Air Force will be flying the plane at the show and F-35s from the Netherlands will be making their first appearance in Canada.
The Boeing Super Hornet will also appear at the air show. Boeing declined to comment about Lockheed Martin’s offer to the Canadian government on providing F-35s as interim aircraft.
Boeing was well on its way to wrap up the deal to provide Canada with the 18 Super Hornets. That was expected to be completed by the end of the year and cost between $5 billion and $7 billion.
But in April, Boeing complained to the U.S. government that Quebec-based Bombardier was receiving subsidies, which in turn allowed it to sell its C-Series civilian passenger aircraft at below-market prices. Boeing convinced the U.S. Commerce Department and International Trade Commission to launch an investigation into Bombardier.
That prompted the Liberals to start backing away from a Super Hornet deal with Boeing, although federal officials acknowledged they were still talking with the U.S. government over acquiring fighter aircraft. “It is not the behaviour of a trusted partner,” Sajjan said of Boeing in an unprecedented speech in late May to defence industry executives.
The interim jets would be used to help bridge the gap until a new replacement fleet for Canada’s CF-18 fleet can be purchased. The Liberals have said they will buy 88 new jets to replace the CF-18s.
The previous Conservative government had committed Canada to buying the F-35 but backed off that promise as the aircraft became controversial because of increased costs and technical issues.
Canada, however, still remains a partner in the F-35 program and Canadian firms have contributed a large amount of equipment and parts to the stealth fighter.
But buying F-35 jets for the interim fighter aircraft program would potentially be embarrassing for the Liberals. During the election campaign, Justin Trudeau vowed his government would never buy the F-35. As prime minister, Trudeau later claimed the F-35 “does not work.”
Boeing has declined a Canadian government request to drop its complaint against Bombardier. Boeing has said it considers the issue a commercial matter.
But Boeing’s actions run a risk for the aerospace company that wants to continue to do more defence business in Canada, analysts say.
Ten A-10 Thunderbolt IIs, a MC-130J Commando II, and approximately 270 Airmen and associated equipment from bases across the U.S. and Europe will deploy to Amari Air Base, Estonia, Aug. 4-20.
Ten A-10 Thunderbolt IIs, a MC-130J Commando II, and approximately 270 Airmen and associated equipment from bases across the U.S. and Europe will deploy to Amari Air Base, Estonia, Aug. 4-20.
The deployment is funded by the European Reassurance Initiative as part of Operation Atlantic Resolve, which ensures U.S. European Command has a ready persistent rotational presence of American air, land and sea forces in the region.
The A-10s from the 175th Wing, Warfield Air National Guard Base, Md., will train with multinational Joint Terminal Attack Controllers and Combat Control Teams at Amari and Jagala, Estonia.
The MC-130J is from the 352nd Special Operations Wing, RAF Mildenhall, U. K. and a combat communications team will deploy from the 435th Air Ground Operations Wing, Ramstein Air Base, Germany.
While deployed, the A-10s will also train with the Finnish Air Force F/A-18 Hornets in Finland, Spanish Air Force F/A-18 Hornets in Estonia and multinational JTACs in Latvia. Flight operations will take place in Finnish, Estonian, Latvian and international airspace.
This training will focus on maintaining joint readiness while building interoperability capabilities.
International co-operation improves Finland’s defence capability and is part of the daily activities of the Air Force. The United States is an important partner for Finland, and training with the U.S. National Guard gives us an opportunity to draw best practices and share experiences.
Autumn 2015 marked the first time when Hawk jet trainers of the Finnish Air Force undertook training missions with A-10s from the United States.
The Finnish Air Force will carry out training missions with A-10 attack aircraft of the U.S. National Guard, focusing on air combat training and air-to-ground operations training. The flight operations will take place in Finnish and international airspace.
The participating A-10 attack aircraft belong to the 104th Fighter Squadron, part of the 175th Wing of the Maryland Air National Guard. They will be visiting Estonia for exercise purposes in August. The Finnish Air Force will be represented by F/A-18 Hornet multirole fighters and Hawk jet trainers, a total of six aircraft. Additionally, Army troops will take part in joint air-to-ground operations training.
The flight operations will be conducted on weekdays between 8 am and 6 pm, mostly in designated exercise areas located in Southern Finland. Although the A-10s will mainly be using Estonian air bases during the exercise, individual aircraft will also visit FiAF bases.
The Finnish Air Force has flown training missions with Baltic-based detachments since 2015. In addition to the U.S. Armed Forces, the training missions have been participated by aircraft representing the Royal Air Force and the French and German Air Forces as well as detachments of the Swedish Air Force operating from their domestic bases. Autumn 2015 marked the first time when Hawk jet trainers of the Finnish Air Force undertook training missions with A-10s from the United States.
Further information: Tomi Böhm, LtCol, Commander of Fighter Squadron 31, Karelia Air Command, tel. +358 299 800 (operator)
OTTAWA — The head of the Royal Canadian Air Force has refuted suggestions, including from more than a dozen of his predecessors, that the Trudeau government is needlessly dragging its feet on new fighter jets.
Lt.-Gen. Mike Hood instead said the Liberals are taking “a prudent amount of time,” as choosing Canada’s next fighter is a big decision — especially since it will likely be in use for decades.
“Fighter operations, there is a lot to chew on,” Hood said in an interview with The Canadian Press.
“The timelines the government and the minister have articulated will let them be absolutely sure that they’re making the right choice for a final fighter that will probably be flying when I’m going to the grave.”
The Liberals’ new defence policy includes a promise to replace Canada’s 76 aging CF-18s with 88 new warplanes, which is an increase from the 65 previously promised by the Harper Conservatives.
The policy estimates the new fighters will cost between $15 billion and $19 billion, up from the $9 billion previously budgeted by the Tories.
The Liberals say the extra fighter jets are required to meet a new policy, adopted in September, that increased the number of warplanes that must always be ready for operations.
But fighter-jet companies such as Lockheed Martin and Boeing, which make the F-35 and Super Hornet, respectively, won’t be asked to submit formal bids until next year at the earliest.
That is despite many defence experts, including 13 retired Air Force commanders in February, saying a competition to replace the CF-18 fleet can and should be launched immediately.
They say doing so would negate the need for 18 “interim” Super Hornets, which would save taxpayer dollars and keep from diverting personnel and resources away from other areas of the Air Force.
But Hood played down those concerns, saying that he’ll have no trouble operating an interim fighter fleet if “I’m given the resources and the priority that I need.”
That doesn’t mean there won’t be challenges in growing the size of Canada’s fighter fleet, he admitted, notably in terms of having enough pilots and technicians to fly and fix the new jets.
The problem has been exacerbated by the fact that while airlines are currently on a hiring binge, Hood said, the Air Force can’t ramp up the number of pilots it puts through flight school each year.
“We brought in a pilot-training system in the early 2000s that had a maximum capacity to deliver about 115 pilots a year. With attrition going up, I’d probably want to produce 140 this year, but I can’t.”
However, Hood is hoping planned changes to the training regime and new initiatives such as recruiting potential technicians directly out of community college will help grow his ranks.
At the same time, the military is looking at ways to improve working conditions across the board to keep experienced personnel in uniform and not lose them.
The plan to grow the number of fighter jets is only one area in which the Air Force is slated to grow in the coming years, with new armed drones, search-and-rescue aircraft and other equipment having also been promised.
Hood said that represents a significant and welcome turn of events after the service was dramatically weakened by years of cuts.
“When General (Rick) Hillier talked about the ‘Decade of Darkness,’” Hood said, “the lion’s share of that was done on the back of the Air Force in the ’90s.”
CityNews, by Lee Berthiaume and Joan Bryden, The Canadian Press, 20 June 2017
OTTAWA – The Trudeau government appears to have given aerospace giant Boeing the cold shoulder in Paris — the latest sign that the Liberal government’s plan to buy Super Hornet fighter jets could be on the rocks.
Three cabinet ministers are in the French capital this week to promote Canada’s aerospace sector and meet various companies at the Paris Air Show, one of the largest such exhibitions in the world.
Those meetings included discussions with Lockheed Martin, which is hoping its F-35 stealth fighter will replace Canada’s aging fleet of CF-18s whenever a competition is launched. Meetings between Canadian officials and three other fighter-jet makers — French firm Dassault, Sweden’s Saab and European consortium Eurofighter — were also scheduled.
But in separate interviews, Transport Minister Marc Garneau and Economic Development Minister Navdeep Bains said there were no plans to sit down with Boeing officials.
Bains specifically cited Boeing’s complaints to the U.S. Commerce Department about Canadian rival Bombardier as the reason for the snub.
“We think that approach makes no sense, and we’ve been very clear about the fact that we reject those allegations that they’re making,” Bains said by telephone.
“Hence that is why we didn’t engage with Boeing at this stage.”
Boeing also had its invitation to a reception hosted by Canadian Ambassador to France Lawrence Cannon rescinded, said one source who spoke on condition of anonymity due to the sensitivity of the matter.
Global Affairs Canada did not respond to a request for comment.
The government announced last November it would purchase 18 “interim” Super Hornets to fill a critical shortage of fighter jets until a full competition to replace Canada’s entire CF-18 fleet could be run starting in 2019.
The government said at the time that the Super Hornet was the only aircraft able to meet its immediate requirements, including being a mature design compatible with U.S. fighters.
But that was before Boeing lodged a complaint with the U.S. Commerce Department, alleging Quebec-based Bombardier was selling its CSeries jet liners at an unfair price with assistance from federal government subsidies.
American authorities are currently investigating the complaint and are expected to decide in the coming weeks or months whether to penalize Bombardier with fines or tariffs.
The Liberal government expressed its displeasure with Boeing by threatening to scrap the planned Super Hornet purchase, which Garneau said Monday is currently on hold.
“The requirement is there,” Garneau said of the need for interim fighter jets, “but our particular discussions with Boeing have been put on hold. So we’ll see what happens in the coming weeks over this.”
The ministers said all options are on the table when it comes to obtaining interim fighters, though Bains said it was premature to start having specific discussions with Lockheed or any other company.
Bains said much of his talks with Lockheed instead revolved around potential opportunities for the company to partner with Canada on space-based projects.
“We’re in the process of developing a long-term space strategy,” he said. “And we want to work with Lockheed Martin because they have some outstanding” industrial participation in Canada.
Bains and Garneau actually had a chance to walk through a Bombardier’s CSeries passenger jet, which was being displayed by Air Baltic, one of the first companies to operate the Canadian-made planes. “When I was there, it seemed to be getting some interest,” Garneau said. “I’m very proud that Canada started from scratch and put together really the best plane in its class in the world.”
The federal government announced in February plans to lend Bombardier more than $370 million to help its aircraft division, which was on top of a $1-billion investment by the Quebec government.
Both ministers touted Canada’s aerospace industry as a world leader in the interviews, a message they said is evident by the fact the Canadian delegation to Paris is comprised of 420 individuals from 110 companies.
June 7, 2017 – Ottawa, ON – Department of National Defence/Canadian Armed Forces
The Government of Canada is committed to strongly supporting our women and men in uniform. The new defence policy released today supports their dedication and the pivotal role they play in making Canada strong at home, secure in North America, and engaged in the world.
Today Defence Minister Harjit S. Sajjan released Strong, Secure, Engaged, a long-term defence policy that commits to a range of new investments for the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF), its members, and their families.
Canada’s new defence policy has people at its core. It places an unprecedented focus on our women and men in uniform by ensuring that they and their families are well-supported and resilient – physically, psychologically, and socially. It places added attention on improving recruitment, retention, and training to capitalize on the unique talents and skillsets of Canada’s diverse population.
This policy is an ambitious yet realistic plan that outlines the Government of Canada’s Defence priorities. New investment will ensure critical core capabilities and equipment that are underfunded and unfunded can now proceed on a sound footing. It will also support growth in emerging domains such as space and cyber, and critical areas such as intelligence and Special Operations Forces.
The investments made under Strong, Secure, Engaged will deliver the support and capabilities our women and men in uniform need and deserve, as they work to make Canada strong at home, secure in North America, and engaged in the world.
“Strong, Secure, Engaged recognizes that the women and men in uniform are the Canadian Armed Forces’ most important capability. With significant investments in care for personnel and families, equipment and training, and new capabilities, Canada’s new defence policy supports CAF members’ dedication and role in making Canada strong at home, secure in North America, and engaged in the world.”
-Defence Minister Harjit S. Sajjan
“Strong, Secure, Engaged is fully costed, and it’s fully funded. It is a sign of the Government of Canada’s commitment to providing our women and men in uniform with the care and equipment that they need, and it places the Canadian Armed Forces on a solid footing going forward. I’m confident that these investments will have a direct, positive impact on our members and their families.”
-Defence Minister Harjit S. Sajjan
One key measure to recognize the sacrifices of serving members and their families is that all troops deployed on international operations will be exempt from federal income tax on their CAF salary up to the pay level of Lieutenant-Colonel, effective January 1, 2017. This is in addition to existing allowances that compensate for hardship and risk.
Strong, Secure, Engaged will grow annual defence spending from $18.9 billion in 2016/17 to $32.7 billion in 2026/27, on a cash basis, an increase of over 70 percent.
These investments reflect Canada’s most rigorously costed defence policy in history. It is also fully funded. The structure of the National Defence budget will be clarified so that Parliament and Canadians are better equipped to hold current and future governments accountable for defence spending.
Through Canada’s Defence Policy, the Department of National Defence (DND) and the CAF will:
Invest $198.2 million over the course of the policy to implement a new Total Health and Wellness Strategy that will expand wellness beyond the traditional healthcare model to include promotion, prevention, treatment, and support, and provide a greater range of health and wellness services and programs.
Invest an additional $6 million per year to modernize family support programs, such as Military Family Resource Centres, to provide better support to families when members are deploying or during periods of absence.
Increase the proportion of women in the military by one percentage point annually, to achieve 25 percent representation by 2026, to our operational advantage;
Transform the transition process to better support CAF members and their families by establishing a 1,200-person CAF Transition Group. The creation of this new group means all of our women and men will be taken care of as they transition back into the CAF following illness or injury, or out of the CAF and into civilian life at the conclusion of military service.
Implement teams at Military Family Resource Centres to prevent and respond to gender-based violence.
Increase the size of the Regular Force by 3,500 (to 71,500) and the Reserve Force by 1,500 (to 30,000) members. The Reserves will also become more integrated into the total force, providing agile and effective full-time capability through part-time service.
Replace the CF-18 fleet with 88 advanced fighter aircraft, through an open and transparent competition, to improve CAF air control and air attack capability;
Provide the funding required for the full complement of 15 Canadian Surface Combatants;
Improve land capabilities including ground based air defence, combat support vehicles, heavy logistics vehicles, and training simulators;
Create a new CAF Cyber Operator occupation to attract Canada’s best and brightest talent to cyber functions.
Invest in a range of remotely piloted systems, including an armed aerial system capable of conducting surveillance and precision strikes.
Launch a new program, Innovation for Defence Excellence and Security (IDEaS), which will see $1.6 billion invested over the next 20 years to modernize the way National Defence generates solutions through new cooperative partnerships with the private sector, universities, and academics.
Establish up to 120 new military intelligence positions, some of which will be filled by Reservists, and add up to 180 new civilian intelligence positions.
Grow the civilian workforce by 1,150 employees to enable and support military operations.
Meet the federal target to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 40 percent from the 2005 levels by 2030, excluding military fleets.
Strengthen relationships with the defence community, including academia and the private sector. Today, more than ever, innovation, technology, and problem solving are critical to meeting evolving defence and security needs.
Improve the procurement process within National Defence to reduce departmental approval times by 50 percent, allow over 80 percent of defence procurement contracts to be managed by National Defence, and increase transparency.
Today’s announcement concludes the most comprehensive review process in Canadian defence and security history – a year-long review process that included open and transparent consultations with Canadians, parliamentarians, defence experts, allies, and partners.
Canada’s New Vision for Defence
Canada’s defence policy – Strong, Secure, Engaged – will provide Canada with an agile, multi-purpose combat-ready military, operated by highly trained, well-equipped women and men, secure in the knowledge that they have the full support of their government and their fellow Canadians.
This policy will ensure Canada is:
Strong at home, with a military ready and able to defend its sovereignty, and to assist in times of natural disaster, support search and rescue, or respond to other emergencies;
Secure in North America, active in a renewed defence partnership in NORAD and with the United States; and
Engaged in the world, with Defence doing its part in Canadian contributions to a more stable and peaceful world.
Strong, Secure, Engaged is deliberately ambitious and focuses, first and foremost, on the heart of the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) – the brave women and men who wear the uniform. Our people are at the centre of our defence policy. Strong, Secure, Engaged supports a healthy, highly motivated, and skilled military work force of soldiers, sailors, airmen, and airwomen ready and able to make a difference at home and overseas.
Strong, Secure, Engaged provides clear direction on Canadian defence priorities over a 20-year horizon. It increases the size of the CAF, affirms Canada’s unwavering commitment to its long-standing alliances and partnerships, and provides vital new investments to ensure our women and men in uniform have the modern tools they need to succeed in operations. This policy transforms how we care for Canada’s military members and their families, from the time of recruitment to retirement and beyond. We believe this is critical to Canada’s security.
Strong at Home
Our strategic vision for defence reaffirms the overarching priority of the CAF: defending Canada and Canadians.
The Forces will maintain an effective deterrent against conventional military threats and prevent them from reaching our shores, while ensuring that new challenges in the space and cyber domain do not threaten Canadian defence and security objectives and strategic interests, including the economy.
We will maintain our robust capacity to respond to a range of domestic emergencies, including by providing military support to civilian organizations on national security and law enforcement matters. This includes engaging in rapid disaster response, and contributing to effective search and rescue operations. We are committed to improving mobility and reach in Canada’s northernmost territories, and we will pursue a more enhanced presence in the Arctic over the longer term.
Canadians can be confident that the CAF will remain ready to act in the service of Canadians – from coast to coast to coast – and sustain a continual watch over Canada’s land mass and air and sea approaches.
Secure in North America
Canada’s defence partnership with the United States remains integral to continental security and the United States continues to be Canada’s most important military ally. We take our responsibility to defend against threats to the continent seriously.
We will expand our capacity to meet NORAD commitments by improving aerospace and maritime domain awareness and response, and by enhancing satellite capability. We will also procure an advanced fighter capability and ensure we remain interoperable with our American allies.
And through continued work with the United States, we will ensure NORAD is fully prepared to confront rapidly evolving threats. This will include exploring new roles for the command, taking into account the full range of threats.
Engaged in the World
Canada cannot be strong at home without being engaged in the world.
We will continue to do our part on the international stage to protect our interests and support our allies, guided by values of inclusion, compassion, accountable governance, and respect for diversity and human rights.
As a result of this policy, the CAF will be prepared and equipped to advance Canadian international security objectives – from conducting expeditionary operations to engaging in capacity building with partners – and to support our allies where our shared interests are at stake. We will pursue leadership roles and will prioritize interoperability in our planning and capability development to ensure seamless cooperation with allies and partners, particularly NATO.
The CAF will be prepared to make concrete contributions to Canada’s role as a responsible international actor, including through participation in United Nations peace operations. We will support conflict prevention, mediation, and post-conflict reconstruction, with an emphasis on human rights and, in particular, gender equality.
Through Strong, Secure, Engaged we will continue to provide protection and relief to the world’s most vulnerable populations, creating the stability necessary for development and sustainable peace to take root. We will also foster world-class expertise for building the capacity and resiliency of others, and delivering tangible results in those areas.
To implement this strategic vision, Canada will adopt a new approach to defence – one that will allow our military to Anticipate emerging threats and challenges, Adapt to changing circumstances, and Act effectively in cooperation with our allies and partners.
As a result of Strong, Secure, Engaged, Defence will be better positioned to anticipate and understand threats to Canada and Canadian interests, enhancing our ability to identify, prevent and/or prepare for, and respond to a wide range of contingencies. This will make Canada more secure and add value to Defence’s contributions to global security.
We will take a number of concrete steps to improve our ability to anticipate threats, challenges, and opportunities. We will prioritize the expansion of CAF Joint Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (JISR) capabilities, while enhancing intelligence collection, analysis and fusion capabilities, and supporting and leveraging the expertise of Canada’s defence and security academic community. To do this we will:
Invest in JSIR platforms, including next-generation surveillance aircraft, remotely piloted systems, and space-based surveillance assets;
Integrate existing and future assets into a networked, joint system that will enable the flow of information among multiple, interconnected platforms, and operational headquarters;
Prioritize the research and development of Arctic JISR to produce innovative solutions to surveillance challenges in the North; and
Increase investment in academic outreach from $500,000 to $4.5 million per year over the next five years in a revamped and expanded defence engagement program that will include collaborative networks of experts, a new scholarship program for masters and post-doctoral students, and expansion of the existing expert briefing series and engagement grant program.
Defence will also enhance its intelligence collection, analysis capabilities by:
Establishing up to 120 new military intelligence positions, some of which will be filled by Reservists; and up to 180 new civilian intelligence positions;
Building the Canadian Forces Intelligence Command’s (CFINTCOM) capacity to provide more advanced intelligence support to operations, including through an enhanced ability to forecast flashpoints and emerging threats, and a better understanding of the rapid development in space, cyber, and other emerging domains; and
Establishing a CAF targeting capability to better leverage intelligence to support military operations.
Strong, Secure, Engaged will provide the CAF with the means to adapt to a fluid and highly volatile global security environment. Keeping pace with the rapid evolution of technological advancements is fundamental to every aspect of a successful modern military: from improving our readiness; to responding to a crisis; to defeating potential adversaries; to maintaining the capability to work closely alongside allies. Defence must be agile, flexible, and responsive in meeting the challenges and seizing the opportunities. As such, we will:
Implement a new vision for the Reserve Force to achieve full-time capability through part-time service;
Invest in, develop, and employ advanced technology to strengthen interoperability with allies;
Enhance the capabilities of the CAF to operate more effectively in the Arctic;
Launch Innovation for Defence Excellence and Security (IDEaS), a program to create new cooperative partnerships and realize innovative solutions to defence challenges;
Modernize and streamline defence procurement cutting approval times in half for low-risk and low-complexity projects;
Increase the Department of National Defence’s contracting authorities for goods up to
$5 million by 2018, allowing over 80 percent of defence procurement projects to be managed by Defence;
Increase transparency and strengthen the procurement workforce; and
Improve CAF infrastructure and equipment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions including transitioning 20 percent of non-military vehicle fleets to hybrid and electric by 2020.
Canada’s defence policy paves the way for the CAF to act decisively with effective military capability through the execution of eight core missions. We will deliver results across the spectrum of operations; be it in the defence of Canada and North America, protecting Canadian interests and values, or contributing to global stability. Given the uncertainty and complexity of the world today, a flexible, versatile, and agile force that can take informed, decisive action to accomplish the Government’s objectives is not an option – it is an absolute necessity.
To deliver on the Government’s commitment to effectively contribute to global defence and security, the CAF will be ready to accomplish the following eight military core missions at any given time, while prioritizing the health and wellness of personnel and their families, and improving the business of defence:
Detect, deter, and defend against threats to or attacks on Canada;
Detect, deter, and defend against threats to or attacks on North America in partnership with the United States, including through NORAD;
Lead and/or contribute forces to NATO and coalition efforts to deter and defeat potential adversaries, including terrorists, to support global stability;
Lead and/or contribute to international peace operations and stabilization missions with the United Nations, NATO, and other multilateral partners;
Engage in capacity building to support the security of other nations and their ability to contribute to security abroad;
Provide assistance to civil authorities and law enforcement, including counter-terrorism, in support of national security and the security of Canadians abroad;
Provide assistance to civil authorities and non-governmental partners in responding to international and domestic disasters or major emergencies; and
Conduct search and rescue operations.
Strong, Secure, Engaged will shape Canada’s role in the world for decades to come. It will ensure that the CAF is equipped and prepared to protect Canadian sovereignty, defend North America, and contribute to global security.
Backed by stable, predictable, and realistic funding, as well as modernized business practices, Canada’s military will have the tools needed to keep building on its world-class reputation as an effective, highly professional military force, and proud representatives of Canada.
Investments to Enhance Capability and Capacity
The Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) must be ready and able to deliver across a spectrum of operations – from domestic humanitarian assistance and disaster response to counter-terrorism and peace support operations, to high intensity combat operations.
To achieve this, the CAF requires targeted and strategic investment in capabilities and equipment that can be used on domestic and international military operations. The CAF must be a multi-purpose military force able to offer the Government, Canadians, and our partners and allies a broad range of options to respond in an uncertain security environment. Without investment in capabilities, our ability to defend Canada and respond to emerging threats is at risk.
Strong, Secure, Engaged will renew, replace, and maintain core equipment, and continue to support Canada’s multi-role, combat-ready defence force. The modernized capabilities and equipment provided through Canada’s defence policy will improve CAF readiness and responsiveness, and support Canada’s ability to play its part in the world. These investments will ensure the CAF is able to defend Canadians at home and work with our allies and partners abroad. This approach builds strong, healthy communities and secure jobs, and enhances quality of life. Providing the men and women of the CAF with the necessary equipment and resources allows them to do their job with high levels of professional and personal satisfaction.
Strong, Secure, Engaged will:
Invest in modern defence for Canada;
Provide secure, stable, long-term, predictable funding for Defence;
Defend Canadians at home and demonstrate leadership in the world;
Enable the CAF to become more capable, diverse, multi-purpose, and self-sustaining;
Create a more strategically relevant, combat-ready force that will anticipate, adapt, and act within a constantly changing security environment;
Replace and modernize core land, sea, and air capabilities, as well as invest in joint enablers (space, cyber, intelligence) to ensure the CAF has the modern capabilities to succeed on operations; and
Ensure interoperability with key allies and partners, through NORAD, NATO, and the Five Eyes community to enable effective operations.
Investments in the Royal Canadian Navy (RCN)
The RCN will continue to be a blue water Navy, capable of operating globally across the deep waters of open oceans, and conducting the spectrum of maritime operations from humanitarian response and disaster relief to combat. Enabling responsive, resilient and agile projection of naval power anywhere in the world, the Naval Task Group, a fully networked, globally deployable, and tactically self-sufficient team of up to four naval combatant vessels and a support ship, with its own embarked Command Staff and maritime aircraft, will continue to be the core RCN operating concept. Naval Task Groups are able to engage in a wide range of missions, independently or with allied forces.
Today’s security environment requires that Canada have a Navy that is: designed and structured to operate in some of the most extreme ocean conditions; networked and interoperable with our partners and allies; and organized and sized to project power responsively and effectively far from Canada’s shores.
Through Strong, Secure, Engaged the Government will deliver the capabilities the RCN needs to meet future defence and security challenges, both at home and abroad, and to carry out the tasks required of a modern navy.
Replace the surface fleet through investments in 15 Canadian Surface Combatants. Defence conducted a year-long re-costing of the Surface Combatants. This involved private sector firms as well as international experts, such as the U.S. Navy. Based on this review, Defence estimates the cost of 15 ships at between $56 – $60 billion. The policy sets aside funding to deliver the full complement of ships the Navy needs to provide capability across the full range of operations. They will replace both the Iroquois-class destroyers and the Halifax-class frigates with a single class of ship capable of meeting multiple threats on both the open ocean and the highly complex coastal (littoral) environment;
Acquire new or enhanced naval intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance systems, upgraded armament, and additional systems for current and future platforms allowing for more effective offensive and defensive naval capabilities;
Upgrade lightweight torpedoes carried by surface ships, maritime helicopters, and maritime patrol aircraft;
Modernize the Victoria-class submarines – a vital capability to both the defence of Canada and protection of Canadian naval assets in deployed operations, providing stealth sea control and sea denial capabilities;
And as previously announced:
Two Joint Support Ships – will be critical to the mobility of maritime forces and the enabling of sustained international deployments. These ships will provide core replenishment capabilities for supplies such as food, fresh water, and ammunition, as well as capacity for sealift and increased support to forces ashore; and
Five to six Arctic Offshore Patrol Ships – will significantly enhance CAF capabilities and presence in the Arctic and augment presence on the Atlantic and Pacific coasts. These vessels will better enable the RCN to assert and enforce Arctic sovereignty. They will provide operational capability in the north further into the navigable Arctic season between June and October.
Investments in the Canadian Army
The Canadian Army is a highly-trained, agile, and professional force that can deploy anything from a single soldier all the way up to a large-scale formation of troops. This provides the Government with a scalable, flexible, and highly responsive range of military land capabilities. Strong, Secure, Engaged enables the Canadian Army to recapitalize and sustain many core capabilities, modernize vehicle fleets and weapons systems, as well as maintain interoperability with allies and an advantage over potential adversaries.
Acquire ground-based air defence systems and associated munitions capable of protecting all land-based force elements from enemy airborne weapons;
Modernize weapons effects simulation to better prepare soldiers for combat operations;
Replace the family of armoured combat support vehicles, which includes command vehicles, ambulances, and mobile repair teams;
Modernize the fleet of Improvised Explosive Device Detection and Defeat capabilities;
Acquire communications, sustainment, and survivability equipment for the Army light forces, including improved lightweight radios and soldier equipment;
Upgrade the light armoured vehicle fleet to improve mobility and survivability;
Modernize logistic vehicles, heavy engineer equipment, and light utility vehicles;
Invest in modernized equipment and systems to improve the Army’s ability to operate in remote regions. Investments include: communications, shelters, power generation, advanced water purification systems, and equipment for austere environments;
Modernize land-based command and control, intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance systems; and
Acquire all-terrain vehicles, snowmobiles, and larger tracked semi-amphibious utility vehicles optimized for use in the Arctic environment.
Investments in the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF)
The RCAF is an integrated, flexible, and highly responsive force that is able to project air power and support CAF and allied operations globally. Strong, Secure, Engaged ensures the Air Force is capable of a wide range of operations such as: space-based surveillance of Canadian territory and approaches; 24/7 aerial search and rescue; and assisting civil authorities as needed. RCAF space-based and aviation capabilities must be integrated, able to adapt to the latest technology, and interoperable with our allies.
Replace the CF-18 fleet with 88 advanced fighter aircraft, through an open and transparent competition, to improve CAF air control and air attack capability. This will allow us to fully meet both our NORAD and NATO commitments simultaneously;
Acquire space capabilities meant to improve situational awareness and targeting, including:
Replacement of the current RADARSAT system to improve the identification and tracking of threats and improve situational awareness of routine traffic in and through Canadian territory;
Sensors capable of identifying and tracking debris in space that threatens Canadian and allied space-based systems (surveillance of space); and
Space-based systems that will enhance and improve tactical narrow- and wide-band communications globally, including throughout Canada’s Arctic region.
Acquire new Tactical Integrated Command, Control, and Communications; radio cryptography; and other necessary communications systems;
Replace the CC-150 Polaris with next generation strategic air-to-air tanker transport;
Replace the CC-138 Twin Otter with utility transport aircraft;
Replace the CP-140 Aurora with next generation multi-mission aircraft;
Invest in medium altitude remotely piloted systems;
Upgrade air navigation, management, and control systems;
Acquire new aircrew training systems;
Recapitalize or extend the life of existing capabilities in advance of the arrival of next generation platforms;
Sustain domestic Search and Rescue capability, to include life extension of existing systems, acquisition of new platforms, and greater integration with partners; and
Operationalize the newly acquired Fixed-Wing Search and Rescue aircraft fleet.
In addition, the Government continues to explore the potential acquisition of an interim aircraft to supplement the CF-18 fighter aircraft fleet until the completion of the transition to the permanent replacement aircraft.
Investments in Special Operations Forces and Joint Capabilities
The Canadian Special Operations Forces Command (CANSOFCOM) is a highly-skilled, adaptable, multipurpose force that can be called upon in situations that pose imminent threats to the national interest.
Joint capabilities facilitate the improved command and control of deployed CAF elements.
The investments made in special operations forces (SOF) and joint capabilities by Canada’s defence policy will support their unique requirements to ensure long-term continuity and effectiveness.
Increase SOF by adding 605 personnel;
Acquire airborne intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance platforms;
Members of 21 Aerospace Control and Warning (AC&W) Squadron and 22 Wing Operations have deployed to Keflavik Air Base as part of Air Task Force-Iceland (ATF-Iceland) for Operation REASSURANCE.
“Maintaining an accurate recognized air picture, passing that to higher headquarters and controlling fast moving aircraft in sometimes tight airspace; it’s a big responsibility,” said the team’s senior officer, Major John Verran.
This team of ten is normally based at 22 Wing North Bay, Ontario, in a NORAD role where they monitor and track air traffic within Canadian airspace and its approaches. The team has taken their skills as Aerospace Controllers and Aerospace Control Operators to Iceland, the only NATO nation without a standing military.
This time, their role is to help fulfil the Airborne Surveillance and Interception Capabilities to meet Iceland’s Peacetime Preparedness Needs mission. This long-standing NATO mission involves fighter aircraft basing out of Iceland to provide surveillance of Iceland’s airspace, as well as launching rapidly (“scrambling”) to intercept and identify unknown aircraft if needed.
Serving alongside Icelandic Coast Guard personnel at the Control and Reporting Centre (CRC) in Keflavik, on a rocky, often wind-swept peninsula west of Reykjavik, the team performs a critical command and control function. Working as a close crew, they ensure mission execution and the passage of accurate information between ATF-Iceland and the Combined Air Operations Centre (CAOC) in Uedem, Germany. CAOC is the NATO headquarters responsible for the control of Royal Canadian Air Force assets in Iceland.
“This is fun, I love it,” said Aviator Kory Clermont, of his first overseas mission as an Aerospace Control Operator. “I work with the Master Controller to help maintain situational awareness in the team and coordinate the scramble procedures for CF-18s with civilian Air Traffic Control.”
The team analyzes and assesses information from multiple radar feeds, datalink, and visual reports to develop a common picture of what is happening in the air at any one time. However, this is not the only critical function of these members. They also serve as air intercept controllers, communicating with pilots and directing them where to be and how to get there.
Most of the work this team does is hidden from public view in a secure operations center surrounded by computer screens. However, the air surveillance and intercept mission that Canada is performing from May to June 2017 could not happen without their expertise and dedication.
“In order to conduct an efficient intercept, it is important to have freedom of movement [for our CF-18s],” explained Major Verran. “For effective operations to occur, there is a degree of control that must happen. To this end we liaise with the Icelandic Civil Aviation Administration.”
For Major Verran, the most important operational role of the CRC is two-fold: effective battlespace management and safety. “Developing plans, recognizing when it is necessary to execute or alter those plans and doing so expeditiously and safely is what we strive for every day.”
To this end, the Aerospace Controllers and Aerospace Control Operators run daily exercises involving the CAOC and ATF fighter detachment. They practice communication procedures and scramble drills, which involve pilots, controllers and maintainers working together to get fighter jets airborne quickly.
“It’s always interesting going to another country and working, in this case, with our Icelandic counterparts,” said Captain Ross Nevile, an Aerospace Controller. “You are entrusted with maintaining safety in the airspace of another country through applying your procedures thoroughly.”
To ensure the team was prepared for operations, they arrived in Keflavik a full week before the main body of the ATF. This allowed the group to develop standard operating procedures and liaise with local authorities.
“We have a relatively young crew on this deployment, but it provides an excellent development opportunity. The amount and type of control they see, and the close interaction with their pilot peers, is a valuable experience that these young controllers will use in their careers.” said Major Verran.
Conducting operations in the often busy skies of Iceland is a challenging, but a necessary job. Through sound battlespace management and coordination over the course of the deployment, the CRC team is a key contributor to a successful mission.
The NATO fighter aircraft supporting BAP (Baltic Air Policing) mission in the Baltic States conducted six alert scrambles to identify and escort Russian military aircraft over the Baltic Sea in one week.
The Ministry of National Defence Republic of Lithuania has just released some interesting data about the activities conducted by the NATO fighter aircraft deployed to the Baltic States in support of NATO BAP mission.
According to the Lithuanian MoD, in the week between May 22 and 28, allied aircraft were called to perform six alert scrambles to identify and escort Russian combat planes flying in international airspace over the Baltic Sea.
On May 22 interceptors were scrambled to intercept one An-26 of the Russian Federation flying from mainland Russia to Kaliningrad Oblast in international airspace over the Baltic sea. The Russian transport plane was flying according to a pre-filed FPL, maintained radio contact with the ATC agencies but had its onboard transponder switched off.
On the same day, another Russian An-26 flying from mainland Russia to Kaliningrad was intercepted over the Baltic (once again and as usual in international airspace) because the submitted flight plan did not correspond to the actual flight and, although the aircrew had radio contact with the ATC, the transponder was switched off.
On May 23 NATO fighter jets were directed to intercept one Tu-134 of the Russian Federation in international airspace over the Baltic Sea. The twin-engined, narrow-body, transport aircraft was flying inbound to Kaliningrad with the transponder switched off: although the ATC had bilateral radio contact with the Tu-134 (NATO reporting name: Crusty) the flight plan for the aircraft had been submitted behind time.
On May 25 NATO fighters intercepted one an Il-20 Coot spyplane flying from mainland Russia to Kaliningrad in international airspace over the Baltic Sea. The Il-20 intelligence gathering aircraft did not have a filed FPL, did not maintain radio contact and did not use the onboard transponder, a kind of behaviour that has raised some concern in the past, when Russians spyplanes flying in the vicinity of busy airways have almost collided with civilian traffic in the region as happened for instance on Mar. 3, 2014, when SAS flight SK 681, a Boeing 737 with 132 people on board from Copenhagen to Rome almost collided with an Il-20 Coot, about 50 miles to the southwest of Malmö, Sweden.
On May 26 NATO air policing fighter aircraft intercepted one Russian Tu-134 escorted by two Su-27 Flankers that were flying from Kaliningrad to the mainland Russia in international airspace over the Baltic Sea. Although the Tu-134 had a valid flight plan, the onboard transponder switched on and kept radio contact with the ATC, the two Su-27s that escorted it till the Gulf of Finland and then returned to Kaliningrad over international waters, had no FPL, onboard transponders off, and did not maintain radio contact with the local air traffic control agencies.
On May 28 NATO aircraft intercepted one An-72 and two escorting Su-27s flying from mainland Russia to Kaliningrad in international waters over the Baltic Sea. The An-72 was flying according to a pre-filed flight plan, kept radio contact and used the onboard transponder. The Su-27 complied with none of these requirements according to the Lithuanian authorities.
The spike in alert scrambles comes after some weeks of calmness with just six scrambles in the period between March 27 and May 22.
The Polish Air Force carries out the BAP mission with four F-16 fighter aircraft from Poznan deployed to Šiauliai, Lithuania, while the Spanish Air Force deployed five F-18 Hornets from Zaragoza Air Base in Spain, to Ämari, Estonia.