Vanguard Magazine

Aug/Sep 2013

Preserving capacity, General Tom Lawson, Chief of the Defence Staff, Keys to Canadian SAR

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n nexT-Gen FIGHTer matthew Smith is an independent defence analyst and writer with experience as an industry strategist and as an editor and contributor to Jane's Information Group and shephard Media ( mission satisfaction Rafale Offers Proven Capability A s defence contractors await the results of the Canadian government's evaluation of options to replace the RCAF's fleet of CF-188s, many are readying themselves for the potential competition of an acquisition program. Dassault Aviation, for one, used the recent Paris Air Show in June to highlight how the Rafale, an aircraft Canadian pilots worked with in Libya, might meet the country's future needs. Unsurprisingly, Yves Robins is bullish about the aircraft's capabilities. "Rafale meets all of the air power requirements of the six missions set out by the Canada First Defence Strategy, sometimes even exceeding them," said Dassault's senior vicepresident for European Union and NATO affairs, and the lead on any future Canadian competition. "For the air defence of Canada within the NORAD alliance, we consider [that] the Rafale meets the mission perfectly. It has a very long range – much longer than other aircraft that are currently considering the risk assessment." Robins notes that the Rafale has already demonstrated its ability to operate with Canada's main security partner, the United States. "Rafale is the only non-American aircraft [that] is capable of operating from U.S. carriers. It has operated for several 34 AUGUsT/sePTeMBer 2013 weeks from the USS Carl Vincent and the Enterprise," he said. "In Afghanistan, Rafale was engaged in coalition operations including close air support missions for ground troops. We don't think that the United States would have entrusted the safety of its ground troops to a foreign aircraft should they have the slightest doubt about its ability to interoperate with those ground troops." Recent operational performance, especially combat operations in Mali, Libya and Afghanistan, have demonstrated the aircraft's ability to meet the Canadian brief, he said, pointing out that in Libya the Canadian military had a firsthand view of the Rafale's capabilities as it was placed under the command of LGen Charlie Bouchard, commander of NATO's Operation Unified Protector. Bouchard, says Robins, "expressed his total satisfaction with regard to the missions." One of the key elements to the Rafale's capability offering is its ability to operate in a networked environment, both in coalition operations and in domestic anti-terror and civil emergency missions. "Rafale has been designed right from the origin to be inserted into global C4I networks," Robins explains. "Its vast com-

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