Mark Collins – What New Canadian Maritime Patrol Aircraft? Or…

…how’s that Canada First Defence Strategy working out for you?  From the Strategy, announced in 2008 (scroll down):

The Government will continue to enhance the capacity of the Forces through balanced investments across the four pillars that form the foundation of military capabilities – personnel, equipment, readiness and infrastructure. Specifically, National Defence will…

  • Replace the Forces’ core equipment fleets, including…
  • 10 to 12 maritime patrol aircraft…

Oh well.  That was then, this is now:

Conservatives’ centrepiece defence strategy takes a hit as they shelve patrol planes amid cuts

The federal Conservative government’s centrepiece defence strategy has taken another hit as plans to buy a new fleet of airplanes to patrol Canada’s coasts and its Arctic territory by 2020 have been effectively shelved.

Instead, documents tabled in the House of Commons on Thursday say the government will invest more than $2 billion to keep its existing Aurora maritime patrol aircraft flying until 2030, by which point the planes will be nearly 50 years old.

The move further hollows out the Conservatives’ so-called Canada First Defence Strategy, which is being rewritten after officials declared it unaffordable only three years into what was supposed to be a 20-year run.

News of the decision also comes just days after Finance Minister Jim Flaherty revealed the government is deferring $3.1 billion in planned military equipment purchases to future years, which will help it balance the budget starting next year [see also: “Canadian Defence Procurement: Not Buying, Why Book the Bucks?“]…

The move is likely the latest signal the government is considering a significantly pared down defence strategy as it tries to match what the Canadian Forces needs with its desire to balance the budget.

The Canadian Army in December announced it was pulling the plug on plans to spend $2 billion on new armoured vehicles [more here], while there have been calls to reduce the size of the Canadian military from its current strength of 68,000 full-time members and 27,000 reservists [see also: “Former CDS Gen. (ret’d) Hillier Suggests Slashing CF Strength Almost a Quarter“]…

Looks like these bright ideas from just over a year ago are going nowhere:

New RCAF Chief: Innovative Thinking on Maritime Patrol, Drones

Meanwhile the RCAF’s quite separate and very-long standing JUSTAS plan to acquire U(C)AVs drones on and on.  And it looks like a Canadian company has lost a possible opportunity:

Mark Collins – Boeing Teams with Bombardier on New Maritime Patrol Plane

Oh well.  Anyone want to wager what other promised major equipment acquisition might be next for the Harper axe?

UPDATE:  My mistake–in fact the RCAF chief actually proposed himself extending the Auroras’ life–see second comment.

Mark Collins, a prolific Ottawa blogger, is a Fellow at the Canadian Defence & Foreign Affairs Institute; he tweets @Mark3Ds

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6 responses to “Mark Collins – What New Canadian Maritime Patrol Aircraft? Or…

  1. And again no glasnost in Canada:

    “Top soldier [CDS] says interest in military highest in years

    One of Lawson’s public affairs officers, Lt.-Cmdr. Jordan Holder, would not permit a reporter to ask Lawson about how changes contained in the 2014 federal budget would impact the Canadian Forces’ future procurement of new equipment.”

    Mark Collins

  2. An apology: the then-new RCAF chief said “If I could extend the Auroras for another 15-20 years and maintain the capability I have, that would buy me time. I want to turn this into an opportunity to look at concepts for the future…” Which fits in with this that I missed in the Aurora story:

    “A spokeswoman for Defence Minister Rob Nicholson said it was the air force’s idea to put off the purchase and upgrade the Auroras instead.”

    Mark Collins

  3. If fleet to fly a lot longer…

    Mark Collins

  4. More:

    Mark Collins

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