Preserving capacity, General Tom Lawson, Chief of the Defence Staff, Keys to Canadian SAR
Issue link: http://vanguardcanada.uberflip.com/i/622654
While acquisition procurements are exciting, long term maintenance contract go on forever t teCHnology WATCH www.vanguardcanada.com DECEMBER 2015/JANUARY 2016 35 t here is always a buzz and flurry of excitement around the thrill of the chase of gov- ernment acquisition procure- ments as companies battle it out for the big, fat, upfront contracts to deliver ships, trucks and aircraft to the Government of Canada. But when it came to the more boring act of maintaining our fleets over a long period of time, it got me wondering whether the less sexy, long term maintenance contracts are actually the beauty pageants we want to consis- tently win. I went on a mission to find Canadian content in In-Service Support (ISS) con- tracts and find out what makes ISS con- tracts so attractive. And did I ever find some gems from coast to coast. I also uncovered four main reasons that make ISS contracts irresistible: 1) longevity If acquisition is an exciting conquest to land, then ISS seems to go on forever with almost extreme levels of predictability. Maintaining and servicing fleets go on and on and seems to last forever (sometimes even longer than "forever" when we talk about fleet extensions). So when it comes to ensuring a sustainable and sticky busi- ness, this seems a worthwhile endeavour. Furthermore, if there is one thing we can almost always guarantee when it comes to government procurements, it is delays. It always takes longer than ex- pected to buy new equipment. And so consistently, and with great dependability, we can rely on our government to ensure that we will have to learn to maintain and sustain our existing equipment and pro- grams even longer than expected, which was initially a long time to begin with. In business, long tails are good. In govern- ment procurement-related business, re- ally, really long tails are really, really good. Take the CF-18 Program for instance. I caught up with Jim Gillespie, Director of Programs, for Harris Canada Systems, Inc. He talked about the business that has ac- crued to Harris Canada and ultimately its Canadian supply chain in order to extend the fleet life of the CF-18s for an additional 20 years beyond the initial planned retire- ment timeline initially proposed for around the mid to late 1990s. "Since we started the CF-18 Avionics OWSS program we have bundled a large number of contracts that DND had with various suppliers. As we bundled the services we repatriated work from foreign suppliers to Canadian compa- nies wherever we could. We continue to do that and expect more opportunity to do so with the extension of the CF-18 fleet life to 2025" he confirmed. Not only does this ensure long term rev- enues to the company, but the predictabil- ity also stimulates long term partnerships with Canadian industry and innovation. "One of the strengths that we have, and have seen in other Canadian companies, is the ability to stretch out the life of our equipment by addressing obsolescence problems," Gillespie commented. "We are innovative in finding ways to keep the ag- ing equipment fully operational." It's not often that we think about long term, constant improvements to systems that work as an important form of "In- novation" - a less sexy form of innovation than picturing a brilliant physicist trying to crack a code for the first time. However I suspect this form of innovation has the po- tential to be much more profitable in the long term. It is clear that the F-18 program alone has impacted Canadian industry signifi- cantly, particularly in supporting ISS over the long term. Jim Barnes, the Business Development Director of Boeing Can- ada Defense, Space and Security noted that "Boeing has worked with Canadian firms on training and MRO for its F/A- 18 modernization programs, in particular, due to the excellent support they afford our customers. L-3 MAS, for example, worked on avionics for the CF-18 Incre- mental Modernization program." Boeing also stressed the positive impacts to Canada of other programs such as the C-17 program. Mr. Barnes cited Burlington-based Go- odrich, which performs the overhaul of landing gear systems in Canada over the life of the program. Not far down the street from Harris Canada, is BELL Helicopter's main ISS facility in Canada. BELL Canada has been maintaining the CH 146 for the last 20 years since the nicole verkindt is the founder and president of OMX. She is a Board Member of the Canadian Commercial Corporation and was recently appointed to the Board of the Peter Munk School of Global Affairs. in-service support gems Harris Canada ISS fleet maintenance equipment in their Calgary facility. Students at Centennial College repair an aircra.