Vanguard Magazine

Dec/Jan 2015

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

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6 dECEMBER 2014/JanUaRy 2015 S SIT REP While much of the media focus on Operation Impact has been on the CF-188s and a reduced number of sorties as significant ISIL targets decrease, over- looked is the formidable role played by the CP-140 Aurora aircraft. With the rapid transition from directed to dynamic targeting in Iraq, the recently upgraded patrol aircraft's ability to feed a coalition intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) picture and identify targets of oppor- tunity has become invaluable. Colonel Dan Constable, commander of Joint Task Force Iraq, said the new mission computer and sensors have "transformed the Aurora into a highly capable ISR platform." "The benefits include access to the new onboard radar that mimics high resolution photographer, better electro-optics and sensors, improved battle damage assessment, and high grade images and videos of targets," he ex- plained during a recent technical briefing. The CP-140's impressive array of imaging systems, radar, electronic sup- port measures and other sensors has been able to penetrate ISIL's camou- flage attempts, he added. The vast amount of detailed information "is then fed to our intelligence personnel for analysis and dissemination. Along with information received from other coalition assets and Iraqi forces on the ground, they build the ISR picture to understand the battle space. This collection of data enables the coalition to identify and strike targets with as much [accuracy] as possible." As of December 4, the two CP-140 deployed on Op Impact had conducted 29 of Canada's 149 sorties. Two aircraft performed a similarly critical ISR role during Op Mobile over Libya in 2011, conducting 181 sorties. And the capability will only improve. As part of the ongoing modernization of the aircraft, which has included upgraded systems, conversion to a glass cockpit, and new mission computer and sensors as well as a life extension project for the wings and stabilizers, IMP Aerospace in December deliv- ered the first of three aircraft fitted with an advanced beyond-line-of-sight (BLOS) satellite communications system. According to IMP, which has been involved in most facets of the upgrade, "the system enables secure high-speed data streaming from the aircraft via satellite in areas which are remote from familiar ground stations." On 1 August 2013, the Royal Canadian Air Force crew of search and rescue helicopter 903 was called to hoist an injured hiker from a small ledge 9,300 feet above sea level on the extreme slope of Fascination Mountain in the Mount Waddington range of British Columbia. The daring night time rescue at high altitude and in a treacherous location earned the crew the coveted 2014 Cormorant Trophy, an annual award pre- sented by AgustaWestland. Upgraded Aurora makes ISR impact Cormorant SAR crew recognized for daring rescue Few Department of National Defence employees go anywhere without their BlackBerry, yet the department was not the first military buyer of the Waterloo company's smartphone technology, despite the involvement of Defence Re- search & Development Canada in its evolution, especially around testing wire- less network security. That honour belongs to the U.S. Department of Defense. BlackBerry, formerly Research in Motion, succeeded without the Canadian government as a first buyer, of course, but for most small and medium sized enterprises it is one of the first questions they face when trying to sell to international customers: Does your government use this? While the federal government has a number of programs to support ear- ly stage research, there was little to help companies with products in late stage, pre-commercialization development make the final leap. Enter the Build in Canada Innovation Program (BCIP). "This is a procurement, but it is not like any federal procurement you have seen before," says Helen Braiter, the program's director. "We have turned procurement on its head." From a two-year pilot project in 2010, BCIP has become a permanent fixture aimed at connecting innovative products with government custom- ers. Through a call for proposals process, submissions are evaluated and qualified, assessed by a military committee where appropriate, and then matched with a department, agency or military service where they are test- ed and given feedback. The government buys a quantity of the product sufficient for testing (up to $1 million), but does not acquire the intellectual property. There are Cana- dian content requirements and products are expected to advance a capabil- ity well beyond what is currently available. BCIP originally focused on four categories, Health, Environment, Safety and Security, and what are called Enabling Technologies. Though a lot of military capability fit under all four, with the fifth call for proposals issued last June it has added a dedicated military component with areas of focus: Arctic and maritime security, command and support, in-service support, and protecting the soldier. With 77 contracts awarded and 156 products now pre-qualified, including 11 in the military component, the program is clearly gaining traction among a wide range of companies. Heeding the call: Industry responds to innovation program The crew – commander Major Troy Maa, first officer Capt Francois Fasquelle, flight engineer MCpl Kent Campbell, SAR tech team leader MCpl Christian Morrissette and SAR tech team member Sgt Guy St-Denis – were based at 442 Squadron at 19 Wing Comox on the night of the call, and were able to complete the highest altitude hoist ever conducted by a CH-149 Cor- morant despite the conditions and the difficulties of managing fuel burn as the operation unfolded.

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