What’s Canada Buying? August 22, 2012
- Wanted: someone to “recapitalize” (build a new?) Defence Research and Development Atlantic building for ~$29 million.
- F-35 Tug o’ War (1) “New Democrats held a half-day “information session” Tuesday on the F-35 fighter jets contract to hear from witnesses it was unable to bring before a parliamentary committee before it was suspended by partisan battles in June. The NDP was able to put off until the fall a Conservative motion to end public hearings into the auditor general’s report on the F-35, which accused the Department of National Defence of hiding the full cost of the next-generation fighter jet by playing down the estimated $10 billion in operational expenses. The government is planning to release an independent assessment of the cost estimates in the fall, but the NDP’s Malcolm Allen said the committee could return at that time to call more witnesses, including government ministers …. “ – more on what the info session heard here, here and here.
- F-35 Tug o’ War (1b) One academic’s presentation: “…. The selection of Canada’s new fighter is an important issue that will require greater vigilance now that New Fighter Procurement Secretariat (NFPS) is in place. Whatever its merits, the NFPS is evidently an effort to depoliticize procurement of next fighter. But de-politicization can come with loss of proper, vigorous accountability. This outcome should be avoided ….”
- F-35 Tug o’ War (2) American analyst: fly ‘em before you buy ‘em “Canada should not commit to buying new stealth fighter jets until its own military pilots can test them in open competition, says a defence procurement expert critical of the F-35 program. “Use your own pilots and when they have comments about the airplanes, listen to them. We don’t do that in my country, and we’re paying through the nose because of that, both in terms of cost and combat capability,” said Winslow Wheeler, a former U.S. defence procurement auditor. He argued it would be foolish to commit to purchasing the F-35 aircraft until they are done being tested and developed seven years from now ….” – more on that take here.
- F-35 Tug o’ War (3) Good luck with that …. “The NDP is ready to campaign against the Conservative government’s controversial plan to spend at least an estimated $40-billion on a fleet of 65 F-35 stealth attack warplanes and cancel the program if it forms government after the next federal election, a senior New Democrat MP signalled on Tuesday. After a three-hour NDP hearing on Parliament Hill where four expert witnesses denounced the F-35 procurement—with one former government procurement official accusing the Department of National Defence of lying in a letter to the Public Works Department before the government announced the acquisition in 2010—NDP MP Jack Harris (St. John’s East, Nfld.) said the his party’s fight against the F-35 procurement once Parliament resumes will be “about democracy.” ….”
- F-35 Tug o’ War (4) The company’s take on the threat these plane’s help head off “A top Lockheed Martin official has for the first time publicly named China and Russia as “potential adversary countries” that pose the kind of threat the controversial F-35 stealth fighter jet is being designed and built to meet. In a Sun News TV interview about opposition to the Conservative government’s decision to acquire a fleet of 65 F-35s for the Canadian Air Force, Lockheed Martin executive Steve O’Bryan defended the aircraft and, in response to a question from interviewer Lorne Gunther, explained why the U.S. and other members of an F-35 consortium feel the sophisticated and costly new warplane is required. “I really can’t speak for Canada, but I can tell you what the other international countries are looking at,” said Mr. O’Bryan, a former U.S. Navy fighter pilot who is now vice-president of business development and customer engagement with Texas-based Lockheed Martin, the largest defence supplier to the U.S. military. “This is a 40-year plus lifespan that you’re buying a fighter jet, and we’re seeing other potential adversary countries that we would not likely face, like Russia and China, but if you look at the history of the last 40 years, we have faced off against their equipment and they are investing fifth-generation technologies. They are investing in this advanced equipment.” ….”
- Big Honkin’ Boats Disarmament advocate & master degree candidate: Keep an eye on that process “…. Political leadership is needed. Under the umbrella agreement with the shipyards, the government can impose penalties if the companies fail to hold up their end of the bargain. The problem with penalties is that enforcing them depends on the will of government. Can the Conservative government be relied on to use its leverage to hold these companies to account? We also need to ensure that we are getting real value for our money as taxpayers. That means ships that are on budget and on time. Yet the government appears unprepared for the possibility of the ships turning out to be much more expensive than budgeted. Is there a plan B for the navy? Canadians need the official opposition to provide leadership. The federal NDP has effectively challenged the government on the F-35, but we have not yet heard from them about the looming risks from the shipbuilding program. Will their initial support prevent the NDP from playing a vital oversight role? The shipbuilding program is heading into dangerous waters. Someone needs to be watching the government to make sure that this program doesn’t become a titanic disaster.”
- Wanted: “The Department of National Defence (DND) has a requirement for the procurement of medical counter-measures (MCM) pouches …. The total firm quantity of 800 each is required to be delivered to 3 DND locations within 250 kilometres of the National Capital Region ….” – a bit more detail on specs in bid document extract here.
- It’s not JUST the CF that’s buying helicopters these days (hat tip to Mark Collins for pointing this one out) “The Honourable Keith Ashfield, Minister of Fisheries and Oceans, and the Honourable Rona Ambrose, Minister of Public Works and Government Services …. announced that the Government of Canada is setting the stage for the purchase of new helicopters for the Canadian Coast Guard. A Letter of Interest to invite aerospace representatives to an Industry Day has been posted on MERX, the government’s contracting website, in order to begin engaging potential contractors in the procurement process. In line with other major federal procurement projects, the Canadian Coast Guard will work with Public Works and Government Services Canada to engage industry early and often throughout the procurement process. …. The Canadian Coast Guard helicopter project aims to procure up to 24 helicopters over the next five years to renew the capability of its existing fleet of helicopters and support the future missions of Canada’s new Polar Icebreaker, CCGS John G. Diefenbaker ….” - more details on the “industry engagement” process in the bid document here.
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