Vanguard Magazine

Oct/Nov 2014

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

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Aerospace association pivots to the Pacific Call it a pivot to the Pacific, of sorts. In advance of the Aerospace, Defence and Security Expo in Abbotsford in August, the Aerospace Industries Asso- ciation of Canada (AIAC) opened an office in British Columbia. The move is an effort to more directly link the province's companies with national initiatives unfolding around the Emerson aerospace report and the Jenkins report on key defence sector capabilities, as well as the gov- ernment's Defence Procurement Strategy that resulted from those reports. "It began about two and half or three years ago when a number of senior aerospace executives from B.C. approached AIAC and asked for some sup- port in helping to coordinate and organize a more cohesive, unified aero- space cluster out west," said Jay Teichroeb, vice president of AIAC Pacific. "The industry here felt that there was a need to have a stronger link to the national initiatives. Many of the policies that drive the aerospace in- dustry are federal, a number of the programs that build capacity in the industry are federal, and there is a certain logic to making sure...that the regions are well linked to those national initiatives." Teichroeb said an memorandum of understanding was signed in the spring of 2013 between the former provincial association – the Aerospace Industries Association of BC – and AIAC to begin consultation for a regional entity of the Ottawa-based organization. AIAC Pacific's immediate priorities include ensuring that a well-coordi- nated process is in place to help B.C. companies be full participants in some of the initiatives from the various reports such as the DPS, "R&D capacity, international trade opportunities, supply chain development, and investment in innovation." To strengthen its case, Teichroeb said the association had initiated an economic impact and capability analysis study of the B.C. industry to "es- tablish and benchmark [its] economic impact." The West Coast industry is well known for maintenance, repair and overhaul services, but has also developed a formidable space capability, modelling and simulation, and some aircraft construction. "The industry has changed and evolved quite substantially over the last 10 to 15 years and the task that we've got is to see that momentum carry on," he said. In April, as a result of a partnership with AIAC, the provincial government made a $5 million, five-year commitment to build a unified aerospace clus- ter. The economic impact study, to be released this fall, is the first step in that effort, Teichroeb said. "We want to grow the pie and capitalize on some of the attributes that are unique to BC. We are adjacent and have a healthy relationship with the aerospace cluster around the Boeing plant in Seattle. That's an obvious opportunity that we want to fully realize. And then there is trade in the Asia Pacific: we are well positioned to be a key launch point for Canada." North Grumman, Diamond partner on ISR options Among all the teaming agreements and new partnerships announced at this year's CANSEC trade show, one quietly slipped under the radar. Northrop Grumman opened a new office at the London International Air- port in order to collaborate with Diamond Aircraft Industries on a future ISR platform for the Canadian and international markets. "Our relationship with Diamond is to take what we have in Northrop Grumman and incorporate that in some sort of ISR platform. We haven't really gone about determining what that aircraft could be or how it could work, but we have entered into a collaboration agreement with Diamond so we can start working on that process," explained Warren Comer, the lead for unmanned systems international communication. "Right now, because we are dealing with a U.S. company and a Canadian company, there are a lot of export-import restrictions we have to work out." The Canadian Armed Forces have a requirement for a persistent, medi- um to high altitude unmanned capability – Northrop's Global Hawk family of aircraft is a possible contender for the so-called JUSTAS program – but Canadian Special Operations Forces Command has more recently indicated a need for a manned ISR capability. Comer said the partnership was not established to target any one spe- cific program, but rather to build on each other's strengths. "It gives us a good opportunity to share information and ideas. They have the general aviation knowledge that we really do value, the exper- tise in composite manufacturing, aircraft design, and they have flown for 1000s of hours. We have a number of different ISR capabilities, from sensors to the architecture. We can take that and place it in their aircraft, design different kinds of capabilities. We'll be able to work with Diamond on any kind of aircraft system that we want to develop, and offer it to the Canadian government or internationally." In 2012, Northrop Grumman began flight tests on Firebird, an unconven- tional medium altitude manned or unmanned ISR platform that could be adopted as a Canadian solution or further advanced with Diamond. The partnership is also a recognition of the government's desire for both innovation and export opportunities under its new defence procurement strategy. Comer said the company views the relationship as a long-term strategic opportunity that might incur initial costs to set up facilities in Canada, but offers growth beyond any single program. I INSIDE IndUSTRY 8 OCTOBER/nOVEMBER 2014

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