Canada To Terminate Radar Supply Order For CF18 Fighter Jets: Critics Flay Rising Sour Deals In Defence

By @diplomatist10 on
Portuguese Air Force fighter F-16 (R) and Canadian Air Force fighter CF-18 Hornet patrol over Baltics air space, from the Zokniai air base near Siauliai November 20, 2014. NATO pilots practised scrambling their jets on Wednesday, in preparation for potent
IN PHOTO: Portuguese Air Force fighter F-16 (R) and Canadian Air Force fighter CF-18 Hornet patrol over Baltics air space, from the Zokniai air base near Siauliai November 20, 2014. NATO pilots practised scrambling their jets on Wednesday, in preparation for potential further unauthorised Russian jets encountered on Baltic patrols. The flight drills were part of the NATO Baltic Air Policing Mission, a collective defence project which has been running for a decade. Reuters/Ints Kalnins

Canada’s Conservative government is readying to terminate the contract for the purchase of new radar units for CF-18 fighter jet squadrons. According to reports, the deal will be scrapped soon as the talks with the supplier Thales Canada Ltd is in final stage. The deal was signed in November 2010 for $55 million for two tactical-control radar systems, with delivery supposed to begin in 2013.

According to the latest documents from the Defence Department now the costs have escalated beyond CA$78 million as of 2013. This led to the Public Works Department taking up negotiations with Thales to resolve the problems in November 2014. “In February 2015, Canada and Thales reached agreement in principle to terminate this contract by mutual consent," said PWD spokeswoman Annie Trepanier. Talks for the final termination are underway. But Public Works have not provided information on penalties, losses to the taxpayer or main the reason for termination.

The spokesperson of PWD said in the e-mail that it is working with Department of National Defence to identify an appropriate path forward to meet “their long-term capability needs on this project.” The military has reportedly spent at least $6.5 million on the doomed project.

Not Supportive

It was at the prompting of the Public Works that the acquisition was initiated. It issued a notice to the defence industry in early 2008, calling for letters of interest to replace existing Westinghouse AN/TPS-70 radar systems, saying they were "past their life expectancy and no longer supportable." But National Defence spokesman Maj. James Simiana said the existing systems "are operational and are capable of supporting both Bagotville and Cold Lake."

Thales Canada spokesman Siegfried Usal also confirmed that an in principle agreement has been reached with Public Works, to terminate the project. Anlaysts say the botched deal adds to other sour deals sich as the high-profile F-35 Stealth Fighter project, Cyclone helicopter purchase for replacing Sea Kings and used British submarines.

Hercules Replacement

Similarly, the Hercules and Buffalo aircraft replacement are also facing problems. They have been slated for replacement for more than a decade, but procurement program is beset with delays including allegations of nepotism. In March, the federal government released a new request for proposals from companies that can meet service requirements. The number of required aircraft could range from 13 to 17 and could be based in Newfoundland and Labrador.

The Canadian military now uses 13 older C-130 Hercules aircraft in search and rescue roles along with Buffalo aircraft. They are facing complaints of mechanical problems and need speedy replacement.

(For feedback/comments, contact the writer at k.kumar@ibtimes.com.au)

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