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Two big Department of National Defence (DND)news stories in 24 hours finally persuaded me to start a thread on the topic. Hopefully the former CAF  members on this forum and others with interest/curiosity in the subject will share, ask questions and and contribute!

News Story 1:  Yesterday DND signed a $3.6Bn contract with Airbus to acquire a fleet of Multi-Role Tanker Transport (MRTT) aircraft which are based on the state of the art Airbus A330 wide-body airliner.  The MRTT will replace the current aged fleet of 5 CC-150 Polaris aircraft, which are based on the now-obsolete 1980s-era Airbus A310 wide-body airliner.   While the pending deal had been public knowledge for quite some time, the surprise yesterday was that Canada will procure 9 aircraft rather than the previously mentioned 6 aircraft, a 50% surprise increase attributed to Canada’s recently renewed commitment to NATO.   Also announced yesterday was that the RCAF has officially named the new MRTT the CC-330 Husky.   The Airbus MRTT is already in service with a number of countries and NATO allies including UK, Australia, France and Spain among others.

The Husky and its Polaris predecessor are used in various configurations for transporting personnel, cargo (or various combinations of both),and VIP transport of the Prime Minister, the Royal Family and other senior government officials. In addition, the aircraft are used to air-to-air refuelling of Canadian and allied fighter aircraft.  As the A330 is a significantly larger aircraft, it will have 50% more capacity than the current fleet. In addition to being newer technology, the entire Husky fleet will be capable of air-air refuelling compared to just 2 of the existing legacy Polaris fleet that have a tanker configuration. The Polaris is also not capable of refuelling F-35s or other aircraft that only use a “refuelling boom” system.  The Husky will also bring a new capability in the form of a MEDEVAC configuration where the aircraft is equipped with a medical bay and 24 medical personnel capable of treating 10 patients on stretchers (including 2 critical care patients) plus 6 ambulatory patients. One of the 9 aircraft will be dedicated to VIP transport and have a separate paint scheme accordingly but apparently can be reconfigured to other roles if needed.   

Of the 9 MRTT aircraft to be supplied by Airbus, the contract stipulates that 4 will be factory new and the other 5 are mint condition ex-Kuwaiti Airlines commercial A330s already acquired by RCAF that will be converted to MRTTs by Airbus. The ex-commercial A330s are expected to enter RCAF service this year for personnel/VIP transport in their existing unmodified “commercial passenger” configuration.   All 9 aircraft are expected to be operational in full MRTT configuration by 2027  

 

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Edited by BeaverFever
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Story2: Cabinet shuffle sees Bill Blair replace Anita Anand as Minister of National Defence, Anand moves to President of Treasury Board 

The move surprised some political observers as Anand was widely regarded as one of the more capable Ministers and managers unafraid to tackle tricky/controversial issues. However analysts have noted 2 key elements: First Treasury Board Pres is the holder of the public purse and considered an “economic” position.  When looking at the other “highly regarded” Ministers they are all now concentrated in these economic positions therefore some tough/controversial financial decisions  such as large spending cuts may be in the works.  
 

Second: Anand’s replacement is Bill Blair, the former Toronto Chief of Police whose heavy-handed police tactics at the time were cheered by conservatives and criticized by the left. and who later became Minister of Public Safety and  Canada’s counter-terrorism Czar. This could be a sign that Canada will be pursuing a more aggressive Defence policy and possibly will not be subject to any aforementioned controversial budget cuts. 

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the military states that it is in a personnel crisis, more than 10,000 under strength

and there are shortages of basic equipment such as uniforms, sleeping bags & helmets

so this is like your house is falling down

but you go out an buy 9 Rolls Royce's to park in the driveway

typical Canada

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9 minutes ago, Dougie93 said:

the military states that it is in a personnel crisis, more than 10,000 under strength

and there are shortages of basic equipment such as uniforms, sleeping bags & helmets

so this is like your house is falling down

but you go out an buy 9 Rolls Royce's to park in the driveway

typical Canada

These aren’t frivolous purchases, tankers and transports are essential capabilities which NATO highlighted at its recent summit as being need of improvement 

The existing Polaris aircraft which were purchased used in 1992 from the now-defunct Wardair Airlines are at the end of their useful life. Their civilian equivalent has been effectively out of commercial use around for decades, there are now only a handful still operating around the world, mostly in countries like Iran, Afghanistan and Jordan so obtaining parts is increasingly a problem.  The VIP aircraft meant for carrying your beloved Royal family was damaged in a hangar accident in 2019 and hasn’t flown since.  In addition the the Polaris lacks any type of defensive countermeasures so any personnel are sitting ducks when flying into conflict zones   And as already mentioned the existing Polaris can’t refuel our newly purchased F-35s or other allied aircraft reliant on the boom system like the F-15  

 

And have you seen the ugly interior?  As much as I disapprove of the Royal family it’s embarrassing that we make them travel in such spartan conditions when they visit   Apparently Chretien, who famously refused to fly in the aircraft for fear of looking too luxurious, made the RCAF redecorate it in ugly and spartan attire   You can see a pictures of the ugly interior here:

 

https://www.thedrive.com/the-war-zone/31321/canadas-vvip-can-force-one-jet-faces-months-of-repairs-after-rolling-into-a-hangar-wall

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28 minutes ago, Contrarian said:

Do you believe there is legitimacy in the concerns raised by United States regarding Canada's contribution to NATO's financial commitments, often referred to as the 'fair share'?

I'm interested in hearing from former Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) members on this forum, as well as others who have a vested interest or curiosity in this subject too. ?

cda-nato-arctic-20220825.JPG

A massive leak of U.S. national security documents has now spilled over into Canada.

The Washington Post says it has seen a Pentagon document criticizing Canada's military readiness among materials allegedly posted online by a Massachusetts Air National Guardsman arrested last week.

https://www.cbc.ca/news/world/canadian-forces-nato-washington-post-1.6815616

Yes Canada has massively underinvested in the military for decades. When we do muster resources for a large mission such as Afghanistan and now the new NATO brigade to be stood up in Latvia, we manage to pull it off only by defunding some other part of the military 

Edited by BeaverFever
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1 minute ago, BeaverFever said:

These aren’t frivolous purchases, tankers and transports are essential capabilities which NATO highlighted at its recent summit as being need of improvement

it's called a "Boutique Army"

that's when you have no cohesive plans nor any concept of what your military imperatives are

and you have nothing in the cupboard in terms of logistics to actually fight a war

you simply have a few high priced shiny items in the showroom which don't even operate in combined arms

Canada has gotten away with not deploying any tankers for operations for decades now

so the idea that suddenly Canada needs tankers doesn't reflect the actual usage

as with all things Canadian military related, this is just the government doing short term political damage control

they are being criticized by the American media, so they felt the need to announce something

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The purchase of the new airbus is long awaited and needed. Maintenance issues, parts availability and functionality has severely hampered operations of the old airbus. The Canadian governments have a tendency to wait until we have equipment sitting in hangars, docks, barns and fields before we get replacements.

It was about time to replace the old airbus.

 

As for Bill Blair, well, could not have done worse. Defence is not an important department any more so, instead of actually firing him, they shuffled him to a minor ministry.  I cannot remember the last time we actually had an effective  pro military defence minister.

Oh and some posters are narrow minded enough to think DND is just "army". They are very wrong. DND is all 3 military branches as well as the thousands of other personnel not in uniform. There is no "boutique army" just soldiers and uniformed personnel doing what they are told to do now, as before and in the future.

Edited by ExFlyer
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3 minutes ago, ExFlyer said:

The purchase of the new airbus is long awaited and needed. Maintenance issues, parts availability and functionality has severely hampered operations of the old airbus. The Canadian governments have a tendency to wait until we have equipment sitting in hangars, docks, barns and fields before we get replacements.

It was about time to replace the old airbus.

 

As for Bill Blair, well, could not have done worse. Defence is not an important department any more so, instead of actually firing him, they shuffled him to a minor ministry.  I cannot remember the last time we actually had an effective  pro military defence minister.

Why do you think Blair is a bad minister?  I have no opinion on him (as Minister) either way but TBH I have not paid him much attention. 

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the RCAF does not use its own tankers for NORAD

all the Polaris MRTT's are based in Trenton in Southern Ontario

these new MRTT;s will be based there as well

they do not deploy to the north to refuel the CF-18's

all refuelling of NORAD fighters is provided by the USAF and has been for decades

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14 minutes ago, Dougie93 said:

it's called a "Boutique Army"

that's when you have no cohesive plans nor any concept of what your military imperatives are

and you have nothing in the cupboard in terms of logistics to actually fight a war

you simply have a few high priced shiny items in the showroom which don't even operate in combined arms

Canada has gotten away with not deploying any tankers for operations for decades now

so the idea that suddenly Canada needs tankers doesn't reflect the actual usage

as with all things Canadian military related, this is just the government doing short term political damage control

they are being criticized by the American media, so they felt the need to announce something

RCAF  has had air-air refuelling capability since the CC-137 (Boeing 707) was acquired in 1970, except during the period 1997-2008 after the CC-137 was retired and  before the 2 Polaris were retrofitted with refuelling capability. 
 

Also the aircraft are not simply dedicated tankers they are also strategic airlift. It’s literally a key part of the logistics you claim we lack.  BTW as you surely must know logistics is not combined arms, I’m baffled by your complaint that we lack logistics, followed by a suggestion that anything that isn’t combined arms (which would include logistics) is frivolous.

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2 minutes ago, BeaverFever said:

RCAF  has had air-air refuelling capability since the CC-137 (Boeing 707) was acquired in 1970, except during the period 1997-2008 after the CC-137 was retired and  before the 2 Polaris were retrofitted with refuelling capability. 
 

Also the aircraft are not simply dedicated tankers they are also strategic airlift. It’s literally a key part of the logistics you claim we lack.  BTW as you surely must know logistics is not combined arms, I’m baffled by your complaint that we lack logistics, followed by a suggestion that anything that isn’t combined arms (which would include logistics) is frivolous.

CC-137's never deployed for NORAD

the tiny NFOL's that Canada operates the NORAD CF-18's from cannot support tankers

the only thing the CC-137 ever did was refuel fighters on the way to Europe for NATO

mostly the CF-115 Freedom Fighters, because they were so short ranged

Canada also does not base tankers in Europe

so these tankers will not be useful to either NORAD nor NATO

the real reason the government has suddenly decided that Canada "needs" 9 A330s

is that these are the only things that they can buy on short notice

they could order F-35's or P-8's. but the waiting lists are so long, those would be a decade away from arriving

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13 minutes ago, Dougie93 said:

the RAF has 14 A330 MRTT's

Canada only operates a small fraction of the aircraft that the RAF does

so why does Canada "need" 9 MRTT's ?

answer ; corporate welfare for Airbus

The requirements are dictated by geography not simply the number of aircraft. Canada is much larger than UK and  needs domestic refuelling such as for arctic patrols in addition to its NATO commitments overseas. Canada also has a greater distance to transport troops and equipment to overseas theatres  whereas UK can rely on its other transports and also transport of many nearby NATO allies, plus more affordable commercial charter options  

Why would there be corporate welfare for a foreign company?

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15 minutes ago, BeaverFever said:

Also the aircraft are not simply dedicated tankers they are also strategic airlift. It’s literally a key part of the logistics you claim we lack.

again, it's like buying a Roll Royce when your house is falling down

Canada hardly needs strategic airlift when Canada can't even provide the basics

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1 hour ago, Dougie93 said:

the RCAF does not use its own tankers for NORAD

all the Polaris MRTT's are based in Trenton in Southern Ontario

these new MRTT;s will be based there as well

they do not deploy to the north to refuel the CF-18's

all refuelling of NORAD fighters is provided by the USAF and has been for decades


The RCAF has said there will be an eastern base, a western base and at least one NORAD forward staging area in the north for the MRTTs.  Locations are TBD but Trenton is almost a sure bet for the east.   

Well no Polaris has done air-air refuelling in the arctic. However it is sometimes not up to the task as it only has probe-and-drogue capability. The new Husky will have boom capabilities. Are you actually suggesting we continue to rely on US Tankers for our own sovereignty patrols instead of acquiring the capability ourselves?  Are you actually suggesting that we not have the capability to refuel our own F-35s?

 

1 hour ago, BeaverFever said:

except during the period 1997-2008 after the CC-137 was retired and  before the 2 Polaris were retrofitted with refuelling capability. 

Just a clarification RCAF had no STRATEGIC air-air refuelling during that period but still had TACTICAL refuelling via CC-130 Hercules

 

Edited by BeaverFever
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15 minutes ago, Dougie93 said:

again, it's like buying a Roll Royce when your house is falling down

Canada hardly needs strategic airlift when Canada can't even provide the basics

Strategic airlift is the basics.
 

Besides Your argument is like when people say “why is the city filling potholes when there are still homeless people and on the streets?”  Governments must be able to address more than one problem at a time and our decrepit and diminished Polaris fleet is one of those problems 

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33 minutes ago, Dougie93 said:

CC-137's never deployed for NORAD

the tiny NFOL's that Canada operates the NORAD CF-18's from cannot support tankers

the only thing the CC-137 ever did was refuel fighters on the way to Europe for NATO

mostly the CF-115 Freedom Fighters, because they were so short ranged

Canada also does not base tankers in Europe

so these tankers will not be useful to either NORAD nor NATO

the real reason the government has suddenly decided that Canada "needs" 9 A330s

is that these are the only things that they can buy on short notice

they could order F-35's or P-8's. but the waiting lists are so long, those would be a decade away from arriving

Your argument is flawed. The whole point of acquiring the MRTT is to be able to do things that we weren’t capable of doing previously, yet you’re using reverse logic to say that since we weren’t able to do it previously we we won’t be able to do it in the future.   

Imagine someone who struggles to walk a long distance to work everyday so eventually buys a car so they can start driving there.  Will you say to them “you’ve never driven to work before which proves your new car will just sit in your driveway while you continue walking to work!”

 

THE RCAF has already announced there will be at least northern operating area.  The 4 existing Northern operating areas are already being set for upgrade because they currently can’t accommodate the newly purchased F-35s. In the meantime options exist to operate out of Iqaluit and Yellowknife as the Polaris sometimes do, as well as out of USAF bases in Alaska and Greenland. 

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Now if you want to make an argument about excessive Gucci aircraft you could convince me on the P-8 Poseidon purchase that will likely be announced in the not-too distant future as a replacement for the 14 CP-140 Auroras.  We could certainly use a few of those but 16 seems excessive. The contract should be split between a few P-8s and the rest being a less costly aircraft

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12 hours ago, BeaverFever said:

Second: Anand’s replacement is Bill Blair, the former Toronto Chief of Police whose heavy-handed police tactics at the time were cheered by conservatives and criticized by the left. and who later became Minister of Public Safety and  Canada’s counter-terrorism Czar. This could be a sign that Canada will be pursuing a more aggressive Defence policy and possibly will not be subject to any aforementioned controversial budget cuts. 

Or... not.

Anand was working hard to convince cabinet to re-equip the military. Blair is a Trudeau loyalist who will do and say precisely what he is told. And in Public Safety he showed very little interest in... public safety. And certainly not in anything remotely related to China.

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6 hours ago, BeaverFever said:


The RCAF has said there will be an eastern base, a western base and at least one NORAD forward staging area in the north for the MRTTs.  Locations are TBD but Trenton is almost a sure bet for the east.  

BS, it will all be in Trenton, the RCAF won't have budget for a "western base", that's just blah blah blah

6 hours ago, BeaverFever said:

Your argument is flawed.

your argument is flawed by the assertion that Canada "needs" any particular military capabilities

everything is optional when you are unmartial imbecilic Canada

Edited by Dougie93
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7 hours ago, BeaverFever said:

Now if you want to make an argument about excessive Gucci aircraft you could convince me on the P-8 Poseidon purchase that will likely be announced in the not-too distant future as a replacement for the 14 CP-140 Auroras.  We could certainly use a few of those but 16 seems excessive. The contract should be split between a few P-8s and the rest being a less costly aircraft

running a mixed fleet is always more expensive, due to economies of scale

every other country is buying P-8 to leverage the American supply chains

Canada has two squadrons,  405 & 407, on two coasts

with only 8 P-8's each, that's actually under strength

you need spares for training and maintenance cycles

P-8 at least is real combat power, as opposed to MRTT which is a glorified mail carrier

the RAF doesn't even operate its A330's, they are leased from a civilian company

again, A330MRTT is not a combat aircraft, it can be and is operated by civilians

Justin Trudeau just wants a fancier plane to fly around on at the taxpayers expense

and that's being piggybacked onto a corporate welfare check cut to Airbus group

Edited by Dougie93
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Both the F-35B and F-35C use probe and drogue refuelling, hard to believe the F-35A couldn't be ordered that way. Also, probe and drogue allows two aircraft to be refuelled at the same time. The USAF uses boom and the USN uses probe and drogue. Also, helicopters can't use a boom.

 

I guess one advantage is our tankers could refuel USAF aircraft.

Edited by Aristides
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