Valid CSS!  Home TWR Index The Editor Comments Aviation

Canada's Aerospace and Defence WeeklyClick here for TWR History

Defence History Reference Section 1

back forwardindex
Do a keyword search.

Handle Indexhdl:1720/  (plugin Required)

RSS Feed Reader The Wednesday Report Current Issues are Syndicated Via RSS Feed

  On this Page

Other pages (For more use the slide menu above.)

1. History of The Wednesday Report Go to History Section 2
2. Current Address Publication Home Page
3. Subscription Information More Features: Security & Foreign Affairs
4. Prelude to a turning point 1986 GULF WAR Edition
5. Defence White Paper 1987  MPRM Group Home Page
6. Post-White Paper review  1988  Canada's Naval Fleet
7. Defence White Paper 1994  Canadian Aircraft Pics
8. TWR Writers and Staff Military Aircraft Wallpaper  
    The Gulf War (Index)

 Go Back To Page Index At Top Of This Page HISTORY

The Wednesday Report, Canada's Aerospace and Defence Weekly, was first published on June 10, 1987. The publication was then owned by Maclean Hunter Limited, Business Publications Division. The founding publisher was Micheal (Mike) O'Brien who was at the time, publisher of Aerospace & Defence Technology, Aerospace Canada, The Canadian Aerospace Industries' Capability GuideandThe Canadian Young Astronaut.

Under the Maclean Hunter corporate umbrella, The Wednesday Report was published weekly and circulated to paid-up subscribers in government, industry, the military and academia in dozens of NATO and U.N. countries around the world. The initial cost of a one year subscription was $500.00 Canadian dollars.

In 1989, Maclean Hunter decided to discontinue publishing in the aerospace and defence fields. All of its publications in the field were shut down with the exception of The Wednesday Report.
In June of 1989, Publisher Micheal J. O'Brien, incorporated as MPRM Group Limited, bought the property from Maclean Hunter and resumed publishing the weekly from offices at 15221 Yonge Street, in Aurora, Ontario, Canada.

To be continued...

Go Back To Page Index At Top Of This PageThe Wednesday Report 



The protection of Canada and Canadian interests, in both their military and quasi-military dimensions, attracted renewed attention during 1986. Particularly noteworthy--since it appeared likely to portend themes in the forthcoming white paper--was a 17 October speech by Defence Minister Perrin Beatty. The minister reminded his Toronto audience that 'membership in NATO does not relieve Canada, or any other country, of the responsibility, within the alliance framework, to enhance its [own] security and defence' and warned that Canada's 'airspace, the ocean areas off our east, west and Arctic coasts, and the waterways between our Arctic islands are gaining increased strategic importance.'

Mr. Beatty observed that Canada 'could leave it to the Americans to take care of Soviet activities in all or in most of these areas,' but wondered if we could emerge 'with our sovereignty unimpaired' if 'we were to ask the Americans to take care of our security because we were either unwilling or unable to do so.' Canadian sovereignty in the Arctic, warned the minister, 'cannot be complete if we remain dependent on allies for knowledge of possible hostile activities in our waters, under our ice, and for preventing such activities.' In particular, 'we need to consider how to remedy our present military incapacity to operate and to maintain surveillance under the Arctic ice. The three conventionally-powered submarines we have today cannot do the job. The Soviets and the Americans have nuclear-powered submarines which can cope with Arctic conditions, but we do not and must consider how best to deal with this problem.'

The minister stressed two further points. First, that 'Canadians tend to believe the ideas of sovereignty and security are not related 2 to each other. We see them as different problems requiring different solutions. However, we are reaching the point where, at least in our defence policy, the two ideas must be brought together. Increasingly, we can expect to be judged sovereign to the degree which, in the context of alliance and collective defence, we can contribute to our own national security.' And second, that: We need to give real substance to the guiding principle, asserted but little honoured by previous governments, that military activities undertaken in Canada for purposes of collective defence will be carried out, as much as possible, by the Canadian Forces. By accepting the responsibilities of a sovereign state for national and collective defence and by making sure that the Canadian Forces can effectively meet those responsibilities both at home and abroad...the government can best assure both the security and sovereignty of Canada. The Arctic, and Canadian sovereignty and security in the Arctic, also figured prominently in Independence and Internationalism, the final report of the Special Joint Committee on Canada's International Relations. A concern that 'under present circumstances' Canada 'would have to call on U.S. submarines' if it 'wanted to take action against [northern] intruders for any reason' prompted committee members 'to inquire of witnesses what would happen if Canada were to acquire submarines able to operate under the ice.' The witnesses, said the final report, indicated 'that not only would this [acquisition] strengthen Canada's assertion of sovereignty in the region, but it would also put the U.S. Navy in a position where it would have to share knowledge with Canada of the movement of U.S. submarines in Canadian waters. The result could be enhanced naval cooperation of the United States with Canada.'

The Special Joint Committee noted that the Senate Committee on 3 National Defence had in 1983 (Canadian Annual Review, 1983) advocated the acquisition of a fleet of 'modern diesel-electric submarines, pointing to their great effectiveness as weapons in anti-submarine warfare. While the [Senate] report focused mainly on ice-free waters, it expressed the opinion that "adequate surveillance of the Northwest Passage could be provided, for the time being, by conventionally powered submarines stationed at the entry and the exit of the passage." The [Special Joint] committee recommends that the possibility of equipping the Canadian navy with diesel-electric submarines be reviewed in the context of a general examination of the country's naval forces and, more generally, of Canada's defence policy.'

The final report of the Special Joint Committee added that 'a number of factors must be considered carefully before a decision can be reached that Canada should acquire modern submarines. The cost of standard nuclear-powered submarines is very high. The committee was informed of developments in conventional [i.e. hybrid] propulsion systems that could permit non-nuclear-powered submarines to undertake extensive under-ice operations. Although these systems are considerably cheaper, they have not yet been proven. The cost of even conventional modern submarines would have to be assessed carefully, because, apart from acquisition costs, there are servicing, training, shore establishment and other program costs, all of which are expensive. Finally, if a decision to acquire modern submarines were to involve a transfer of some resources from Canadian forces in Europe, the government would have to take into account the reaction of Canada's NATO allies.' 4 Canada's International Relations, the Mulroney government's 4 December response to the report of the Special Joint Committee, posited that 'the changing nature of military activity in the Arctic and the reemergence of that region's strategic importance make it vital for Canada to acquire the "eyes and ears" that will permit us effectively to monitor northern aerospace, land, surface and subsurface waters for military activity.'

It added, without elaboration, that 'the government will pay particular attention to problems of underwater defence in the Arctic' and that 'options for acquiring submarines capable of under-ice operations to replace Canada's aging Oberon-class vessels are now...being explored.' Two days before the tabling of these rather cryptic comments on 'submarines capable of under-ice operations,' Associate Defence Paul Dick informed the Standing Committee on National Defence that in addition to the project management team working on the Canadian Submarine Acquisition Project--which envisaged acquisition of a fleet of conventionally-powered submarines--'there is an entirely different committee working within the Department considering nuclear submarines and that option. When both [groups] have completed their research, then they will come together for a comparison, and at that time a decision will be made on whether we should go with the conventional or whether we should really look more seriously at the nuclear.

It is premature [to speculate on the propulsion system]. They are just trying to get the information available and pulled together at this stage' (SCND, 2 December). In an 11 December appearance before the Standing Committee, Defence Minister Beatty acknowledged that "full" nuclear-powered submarines--as distinct from diesel-electric/nuclear 5 "hybrids"--were 'indeed expensive. There is no question about that. I guess, though, what we should be driven from is the question of our perception of the threat. What do we need adequately to protect Canada's security and Canada's sovereignty? We should work back from that.' Less spectacular initiatives related, in whole or in part, to the protection of Canadian sovereignty and security in the Arctic included an increase in the number of northern surveillance patrols conducted by CP-140 Aurora long-range patrol aircraft (from 16 in 1985 to 20 in 1986) and the navy's first venture into the far north in almost a decade, The epitome of multiple tasking, the northern surveillance patrols were designed to meet military, quasi-military, and even non-military (i.e. wildlife surveillance and ice reconnaissance) objectives. The enhanced naval presence involved the fleet diving support ship, HMCS Cormorant, and a naval research vessel, CFAV Quest.

During a mid-year deployment of approximately 60 days, the ships visited Clyde River, Nanisivik, Resolute Bay, and Pond Inlet and carried out acoustic research relevant to Arctic anti-submarine warfare. Both initiatives were foreshadowed by the government's 10 September 1985 declaration on sovereignty and security in the Arctic (Canadian Annual Review, 1985). The increased naval and air presence envisaged by the declaration of 10 September 1985, the forthcoming Canadianization of the northern radar network (see below, 'NORAD'), and the Mulroney government's obvious interest in nuclear-powered submarines did not, however, squelch complaints about the Arctic surveillance capabilities of the 6 Canadian Forces.

Two retired brigadier-generals, Clay Beattie and Keith Greenaway, for example, suggested that air defence and Canadian sovereignty would be better served by sitting the new North Warning System (NWS) farther north--around the periphery of the Arctic archipelago. Placing the NWS along the path of the existing DEW (Distant Early Warning) Line, they argued, would misuse modern technology, provide less warning time, and deprive Canada of indigenous surveillance coverage over disputed waters. A concomitant concern was the proposed use of American AWACS aircraft, with 'token' Canadian representation, in the Canadian high Arctic. This situation, said Beattie and Greenaway, 'is clearly prejudicial to Canada's claims to sovereignty' (Northern Perspectives, September-October 1986). Major-General R.W. Morton, however, argued that the NWS, as planned, would provide 'more than adequate time to carry out the attack warning and assessment function.' Moreover, 'while it can be argued that Canadian sovereignty would be better served by extending the coverage around the Arctic islands, the increased costs which would be incurred in an already expensive project designed first and foremost to do the attack warning mission could not be justified' (Canadian Defence Quarterly, Winter 1986-1987).

Go Back To Page Index At Top Of This PageThe heightened sensitivity to Arctic sovereignty and security was mirrored, albeit on a smaller scale, by increased attention to the sovereignty and security challenges off Canada's east and west coasts. At the root of the sovereignty problem, particularly on the east coast, was a rapid increase in the number of detected intrusions by unlicensed foreign fishing vessels. The Department of National Defence, in addition to its regularly scheduled support of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (i.e. 65 ship-days of surface surveillance and several thousand 7 hours of dedicated and multi-purpose air surveillance), provided special assistance to that department on two occasions during 1986. On 2 March, for example, the Tribal-class destroyer HMCS Algonquin assisted the fisheries patrol vessel, Cape Roger, in arresting the Panamanian-registered trawler, Peonia 7. In the most serious incident, in May, two Spanish trawlers--which had been stopped and boarded by personnel from the Cape Roger--fled for Spain via the Azores, with four fisheries protection officers still aboard. After a lengthy chase, the trawlers Amelia Meirama and Julio Molina were boarded in mid-Atlantic by an RCMP tactical squad operating from Canada's newest fisheries patrol vessel, the Leonard J. Cowley. Adding to the drama was a report from a Spanish marine radio station--which proved unfounded--that up to 50 Spanish trawlers 'planned to form a blockade just outside Canada's 200-mile economic zone to prevent the [Leonard J. Cowley] from escorting the two Spanish trawlers, arresting...for fishing violations, back to Canada for prosecution' (Globe and Mail, 27 May). Air surveillance during the incident was provided by CP-121 Tracker aircraft from Canadian Forces Base (CFB) Summerside, Prince Edward Island, and CP-140 Aurora aircraft from CFB Greenwood, Nova Scotia. Exasperated by the continuation of 'illegal foreign fishing within Canadian waters and over fishing by foreign fleets of "transboundary" stocks which straddle the 200-mile limit,' the secretary of state for external affairs, Joe Clark, and the minister of fisheries and oceans, Thomas Siddon, unveiled new fisheries protection measures on 13 June.

Among other changes, the ministers announced that Atlantic offshore patrol vessels would be armed--a project which ultimately saw the Canadian Forces provide both weapons (i.e. heavy machine guns) and 8 training for personnel from the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO)--and that DFO would 'explore' with the Department of National Defence and the Ministry of Transport 'means of increasing dedicated air and sea surveillance.' Somewhat paradoxically, given the proposed discussions with the Department of National Defence, the government also announced that civilian aircraft under contract to DFO would play an increased role in fisheries surveillance. Also apparent during 1986 was an increased naval sensitivity to maritime coastal defence (i.e. surface surveillance, shallow water anti-submarine warfare, and mine countermeasures). The renewed interest in maritime coastal defence--a role which had languished since the early to mid-1960s--was reflected in approval of a new role and mission statement for the Naval Reserve and in plans to create a new Maritime Coastal Defence Organization, which would be drawn largely from the Naval Reserve. Plans to re-equip the Naval Reserve with a new generation of minor war vessels, however, remained unfunded at the close of 1986. Also awaiting a decision was an update or replacement program for the venerable CP-121 Tracker, a medium-range patrol aircraft utilized for a wide variety of military, quasi-military, and non-military missions.

Go Back To Page Index At Top Of This Page

Equipment Programs

The defence procurement agenda was dominated, as in 1985, by the Low Level Air Defence (LLAD) project, the Tribal-class Update and Modernization Project (TRUMP), the New Shipborne Aircraft (NSA) project, and the Canadian Submarine Acquisition Project (CASAP). The LLAD and TRUMP projects, together worth in excess of $2.2 billion, received final government approval and formal contract award during 1986, while the CASAP and NSA projects, together worth a minimum of $4 billion (and potentially much more) received approval to enter the project definition phase. A new and controversial player on the defence procurement stage during 1986 was the CF-18 Systems Engineering Support (SES) program. Also putting in an appearance, and temporarily running in parallel to the original Canadian Submarine Acquisition Project, was an examination of the advantages and disadvantages of acquiring a fleet of nuclear-propelled attack submarines (SSNs).

Initiated in 1982, the $1 billion LLAD project sought to provide a comprehensive, all-weather air defence system for the Canadian Mechanized Brigade Group (4 CMBG) stationed in southern Germany, the Canadian Air-Sea Transportable (CAST) Brigade Group stationed in Canada but earmarked for the defence of northern Norway, and the Lahr and Baden-Soellingen airfields of the Germany-based 1 Canadian Air Group. The missile, gun and radar systems making up the LLAD package would replace the geriatric Boffin anti-aircraft gun and the aging, shoulder-launched Blowpipe surface-to-air missile.

The LLAD project, which touched off a heated international competition, had drawn bids in 1984 from seven would-be suppliers, all of them European-based (Canadian Annual Review, 1985). Three of these firms, and their respective Canadian 2M partners, were in turn short listed by the Mulroney government on 8 May 1985: Bofors (Sweden) and Canadian Marconi Company (offering the Trinity gun system and the RBS 70 ARMAD missile system); Contraves (Switzerland) and Raytheon Canada Limited (bidding the GDF-005 anti-aircraft gun, the RIM-7M Sparrow missile system, and the ATAK 35 anti-aircraft tank); and Oerlikon-Buhrle (Switzerland) and Litton Systems Canada Limited (offering the ADATS missile system and the GDF-005 anti-aircraft gun). On 16 April 1986, the associate minister of national defence, Harvie Andre, announced that the team led by Oerlikon-Buhrle had won the LLAD competition. The main contract, finalized on 12 June, was valued at $650 million and covered the purchase of 36 M113A2-mounted ADATS 'fire units,' 20 GDF-005 35mm anti-aircraft guns, and 10 Skyguard fire control radars. An additional $350 million was allocated for ammunition, spare parts, trucks, training and maintenance facilities, and sundry other expenditures.

The associate minister and project officials indicated that the most significant factors in the selection of the Oerlikon Buhrle bid were the resistance to countermeasures and the degree of survivability bestowed by ADATS' passive electro-optical target tracking and laser beam-rider guidance. The Swiss firm's bid also included a highly rated industrial benefits package for Canadian industry. Initial deliveries of LLAD equipment, to the newly-established Air Defence Artillery School at CFB Chatham, New Brunswick, were scheduled to begin in 1988. The last of the four frontline LLAD units (one in Canada, three in Germany) was expected to be fully operational with the new equipment by the spring of 1991. 3M The recipient of final approval on 9 May, the Tribal-class Update and Modernization Project sought to convert the four existing Tribal-class destroyers (Algonquin, Athabaskan, Huron, and Iroquois) from a primary anti-submarine warfare (ASW) role to a primary anti-air warfare (AAW) role. In addition to providing the Canadian fleet with a much-needed area air defence capability--and a reduced dependence on allied navies--TRUMP would improve the Tribals' ability to support an embarked commander and update or replace systems which were no longer logistically supportable.

Serving as prime contractor on the $1.2 billion undertaking--the most ambitious Canadian warship conversion project in more than two decades--was Litton Systems Canada Limited of Toronto. At the core of the update package were two state-of-the-art, American-designed products--the General Dynamics Standard 2 surface-to-air missile and the Martin Marietta Mk 41 vertical launch system. The much-modified destroyers also were to receive new long-range, medium-range, and fire control radars; a Phalanx close-in weapon system, and an OTO-Melara 76mm Super Rapid gun. In addition to a new command, control, and communications system, the rejuvenated Tribal-class destroyers were also stated to receive strengthened hulls, a water-compensated fuel system, and habitability improvements. So-called 'stand-alone' improvements, which were to be funded separately but carried out concurrently, included new cruise engines and a new electronic support measures system. The Tribal conversions were to retain their 4 existing ASW sonars and their distinctively large flight decks and hangars. Work on the first ship, HMCS Algonquin, was expected to begin in November of 1987, with completion in the fall of 1989. The last of the four, HMCS Huron, was to begin conversion in November 1990, with completion in the summer of 1992. These dates represented a slippage of one year from the original TRUMP timetable (Canadian Annual Review, 1985). Also modified was the Trudeau government's 1983 decision to pre-designate Versatile Davie Inc., of Lauzon, Quebec, for the shiypard portion of the TRUMP program. Under the revised plan, Versatile Davie would convert the first two ships, with Litton Systems holding a separate competition to select the shipyard for the third and fourth conversions. The decision of the Mulroney government to proceed, simultaneously, with both the LLAD and TRUMP projects--at a time when the capital portion of the DND budget was under considerable pressure--evoked surprise in some quarters. Indeed, it appeared for a time in early 1986 that the LLAD project, in particular, might be deferred or even dropped. There was also concern in some quarters that TRUMP might have to be scaled back, possibly by converting less than four ships or by adopting a less expensive update package (i.e. the older Standard 1 missile and Mk 13 launcher) for all four ships (Aerospace Canada International, July-August 1986).

Go Back To Page Index At Top Of This PageWhile there was ultimately some slippage in the TRUMP timetable (in part the result of squabbling over the shipyard portion of the contract) and, by comparison with Litton's 1985 'baseline' configuration, a very slight reduction in the scope of the TRUMP update (i.e. the decision to update the ships' existing torpedo handling equipment rather than install an entirely new system), the Mulroney government adopted the 'baseline' configuration essentially unchanged. Although, at $1.2 billion, considerably more expensive than the government's preliminary 1983 'design-to-cost' estimate of $650 million (in 1983-1984 dollars), the navy's need for an area air defence capability was judged sufficiently pressing to justify additional expenditures. In the case of LLAD, the decision to forego deferment or cancellation was rooted in the operational need for a new air defence capability in Europe, fear of an adverse reaction from NATO, and the prospect of substantial industrial benefits from the ADATS system. As the newest of the LLAD contenders, the ADATS system was felt to hold considerable export potential. The search for a successor to the venerable Sikorsky CH-124A Sea King ASW helicopter entered a new phase on 5 August with the announcement of government approval for the project definition phase of the New Shipborne Aircraft (NSA) project.

The NSA would be capable of performing two primary missions--anti-submarine warfare and anti-ship surveillance and targeting--and such secondary naval missions as search and rescue, vertical replenishment, and medical evacuation. At an estimated cost of $2 billion, the NSA promised, by a substantial margin, to be the largest and most complex helicopter procurement program in Canadian military history. Released on 12 September, the NSA 'request for proposals' asked would-be suppliers to provide bids on lots of 28, 40, and 51 aircraft, a request which reflected uncertainty over warship procurement beyond the first six City-class patrol frigates (Canadian Annual Review, 1985) and over the requirements of the Pacific fleet, the number of attrition replacements, and the reliability and 6 maintainability of the various contenders. The NSA schedule anticipated contract award by late 1989, first flight in 1992, and initial deliveries in 1994. The competition was expected to draw variants of the Sikorsky SH-60 Seahawk (United States), the EH Industries EH 101 (United Kingdom/Italy), and the Aerospatiale Super Puma (France). All were expected to utilize a Canadian-designed mission avionics suite. Still more helicopters of the basic NSA-type would be required if the machine also proved suitable for battlefield airlift and 'primary' search and rescue requirements. Also moving forward, but facing something of an uncertain future, was the Canadian Submarine Acquisition Project (CASAP). Under this project, which received government approval for its project definition phase on 16 July, the Department of National Defence sought 'a minimum of four new conventional submarines to replace its current fleet and restore a minimum submarine capability on the West Coast.'

Although the existing fleet of three British-built Oberon-class submarines had been partially modernized under the Submarine Operational Update Project, they suffered from the performance limitations inherent to diesel-electric submarines of their generation, were increasingly difficult to maintain, and--given the need to recharge their batteries by surfacing or 'snorkeling'--unable to operate under ice. The 1986 CASAP schedule envisaged the selection of two finalists for funded project definition studies by early 1988, the selection of the winner by late 1989, and the formal contract award by early 1990. The first boat would enter Canadian service in 1995 (the 1985 schedule had anticipated service entry in 1992-1993), with the remainder following in 1997, 1998, and 1999. As the United States had long since eschewed the production of conventionally-powered submarines, CASAP was expected to draw a lengthy list of bidders from France, Germany, Sweden, Italy, the United Kingdom, and the Netherlands. In addition to the basic requirement for four submarines, would-be bidders on CASAP were being invited to quote price and availability on increments of two, four, and eight additional boats.

Moreover, as Defence Minister Beatty noted in an 11 December appearance before the Standing Committee on National Defence, 'we [have] invited potential suppliers to indicate to us whether or not the submarines they are offering would have under-ice capability.' The latter would necessitate adding some form of air-independent propulsion (AIP) system to the standard diesel-electric submarine, thereby producing an AIP/diesel-electric 'hybrid.' Among the potential options were the Swedish Stirling engine, the German fuel cell system, and two Canadian-designed systems--the Autonomous Marine Power Source-Nuclear (AMPS-N) from Ottawa-based Energy Conversion Systems Inc. and the so-called 'nuclear battery' from Atomic Energy of Canada Limited. The European systems required on-board storage of such difficult-to-handle fuels as liquid oxygen or liquid oxygen and hydrogen. Endurance, although a substantial improvement over that offered by 'standard' diesel-electric submarines, was consequently a function of the hybrid submarine's storage capacity. The AMPS-N, a relative of Atomic Energy of Canada's highly successful Slowpoke research reactor, and the nuclear battery, however, were expected to offer virtually unlimited endurance at low to moderate speeds. Naval opinion on the viability of the hybrid option appeared mixed. A serving naval officer, Commander E.J.M. Young, for example, wrote 8 that 'the cost of a production version [of an AMPS-N hybrid submarine] is estimated to be less than an additional 10% on the acquisition cost of a conventional submarine, or about 5 to 6% in terms of program costs of the vessel.' Moreover, 'because the design of the reactor system is relatively simple and safe, the required shore support facilities would be much less extensive and simpler than those required for the SSN type submarine. Costs of such support should be of the same order as the additional ones for the system itself.

Thus for a very reasonable additional expenditure Canada could obtain a viable under ice capability in addition to a marked tactical advance in other areas of interest. While such submarines could conceivably conduct polar operations, at the very least we would have the ability to operate in the seasonal ice-covered waters of our Arctic. If Canada took this step the potential for export sales would be very great; the "hybrid" could revolutionize conventional submarine concepts' (Canadian Defence Quarterly, Summer 1986). Later in the year, however, CASAP officials indicated to the Financial Post that 'none of the air-independent propulsion systems are available right now, and it is not clear whether they could be added on to existing submarine designs later. It would therefore be risky to run the submarine project on the assumption that such a system will become available, and DND is not interested in undertaking a high-risk development project' (Financial Post, 1 December). On a parallel track to CASAP was the study group established to examine the feasibility of acquiring up to twelve fully nuclear-powered attack submarines (SSNs). Headed by the chief of maritime doctrine and operations, Rear-Admiral C.M. Thomas, the study group was investigating the cost, infrastructure requirements, and legal ramifications of a 9M Canadian SSN fleet (Jane's Defence Weekly, 13 December). Although running in parallel with the initial project definition phase of CASAP, it was apparent that any governmental decision to procure SSNs would mean the elimination of CASAP, at least in its diesel-electric or AIP/diesel-electric hybrid form. The first serious Canadian consideration of nuclear-powered attack submarines in almost three decades, the study was focusing on two designs: the French Rubis/Amethyste-class and the British Trafalgar-class. Both types were in full-scale production for their respective navies. American SSNs were deemed far too large and expensive to warrant serious Canadian consideration.

The decision to study the SSN option--which could apparently be traced to late 1985 and then-Defence Minister Erik Nielsen--was in part rooted in the government's concerns over sovereignty and security in the Arctic, but it also appeared to reflect the realization that nuclear-powered submarines could be relevant to national and Alliance commitments in the Atlantic and the Pacific and the discovery that the 'sail-away' cost of the British and, in particular, the French built SSNs compared favourably with the cost of modern patrol frigates and destroyers. An additional factor was concern over the unproven nature of the proffered AIP systems and the calculation that even the most advanced hybrid submarine could not match the speed or other operational attributes of the SSN. A powerful reminder of the intense emotions that can be fuelled by the awarding--or the failure to award--defence contracts surfaced in October with the Mulroney government's decision to award the potentially lucrative Systems Engineering Support (SES) contract for the McDonnell 10M Douglas CF-18 Hornet fighter aircraft to Montreal-based Canadair. Canadair prevailed over Bristol Aerospace of Winnipeg, even though the Bristol bid had been judged--by government experts--to be somewhat superior on cost and technical grounds. The Mulroney government declined this advice, however, on the basis that Canadair, unlike Bristol, was also an aircraft manufacturer, and thus in a position to better utilize the technology transfers which would accompany the CF-18 SES (i.e. maintenance) program. Late in the year there were indications that Bristol, which had long provided repair and overhaul services for Canadian fighter aircraft, would receive a less technically attractive, and shorter duration, contract to update 56 aging CF-5 fighter aircraft as fighter-trainers. The affair outraged Manitoba premier Howard Pawley, who described the pending CF-5 contract as 'a consolation prize' that would not satisfy Manitoba residents who believed that Bristol deserved the CF-18 SES contract (Globe and Mail, 23 December). Adding insult to injury for Manitobans was the fact that the CF-5s had been manufactured by Canadair. The federal government's practice of pursuing industrial benefits (i.e. the production of components, regional distribution of procurement, small business participation, technology transfer, and new investment in Canada) was the subject of a lengthy examination by the Nielsen Task Force on Program Review.

The study team charged with an examination of defence and other high-technology procurement by the federal government found that: --the government's expectations of securing 100 per cent offsets of equal technology to the equipment being procured have been unrealistic. Benefits acquired have been much lower than expected and have mostly been of short-term value to Canada. Costs of achieving industrial benefits have not been easily ascertained and have been substantial; 11 --while some benefits of lasting value to Canada have resulted, these have not been as significant to Canadian industrial development as had been anticipated; --the growing deficit in U.S.-Canadian defence trade is a major concern and will persist with the increase in the number of planned [Major Crown Projects]. A relative decline in the technology base of Canadian industry is a key factor in the increasing deficit; --the emphasis on offsets in Canada's industrial benefits programming has become a trade irritant with the United States and Europe while producing marginal long-term benefits to Canada; and that --there are linkages among these factors which point the way to changes which will produce greater net benefits to Canada, while reducing irritants and costs.

The study team came to the conclusion that a need 'exists for a much clearer purpose in the direction given by Ministers for industrial benefit strategies for major Crown projects'; that 'the procurement lever has not effected the anticipated broad range of industrial benefits'; and that 'a new strategy is needed if Canada is to be successful in using procurement as a lever to generate long-term benefits.' That strategy 'must be sharply focused on improving the competitiveness of Canadian-based industry in world markets. It must result in the advancement of technology, greater investment in Canadian industry, and improved access to domestic and foreign markets. A major element of the strategy should be to preposition Canadian industry for procurement to the maximum when domestic and associated export opportunities are attractive.' The study team recommended to the Task Force that the government consider developing an industrial benefits policy for federal procurement that would 'enhance the international competitiveness of Canadian industry, by establishing long-term industrial and regional development as the primary national objective for major procurements' and 'take into account the potential for Canadian industry to participate in the servicing of major equipment purchases during their operational life.' end equipment section

Go Back To Page Index At Top Of This Page


Unlike 1985, which had seen major controversies erupt over the North American Air Defence Modernization (NAADM) agreement, the American invitation to participate in the SDI (Strategic Defence Initiative) research program, and the voyage of the U.S. Coast Guard icebreaker Polar Sea through the Northwest Passage, 1986 was a relatively quiescent--and therefore more typical--year on the Canadian defence policy front. The year was not devoid of controversy, however.


Also serving to draw attention to defence or defence-related matters during 1986 were the findings of the Nielsen Task Force on Program Review, a number of reports and studies generated by the 1982 sinking, off Newfoundland, of the semi-submersible drilling rig OCEAN RANGER, and the Mulroney government's decision to assign responsibility for Canada's anti-terrorist Special Emergency Response Team (SERT) to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) rather than the Canadian Armed Forces.

The year also witnessed the deployment of the Canadian contingent assigned to the MFO (Multinational Force and Observers) peacekeeping operation in the Sinai. Established in September 1984 under the chairmanship of Deputy Prime Minister Erik Nielsen, the Task Force on Program Review had two major objectives: better service to the public and improved management of government programs. Charged with the onerous task of reviewing 989 federal programs and services, the Nielsen Task Force consisted of 19 study teams comprised of public service and private sector executives.

On March 11, 1986, the Task Force--which had in fact completed most of its work during the course of 1985--released its 2 21-volume final report grouped under four major themes: management of government; services to the public; improved program delivery; and economic growth. Mr. Nielsen emphasized that the options and proposals outlined in the reports would be studied by the federal government and Parliamentarians, and would not necessarily become government policy (Hansard, 11 March). Several of the volumes touched on defence or defence-related matters. The study team charged with an examination of real property, for example, concluded that the Department of National Defence (DND) 'has too much infrastructure, and this oversupply is causing wasteful expenditure and manpower utilization.' The study team noted that 'if military requirements were the only criterion, DND internal documents indicate that the number of [military] bases in Canada could be reduced by at least seven from the 33 which currently exist.' The report attributed the oversupply to changing military requirements, 'slow adjustment by DND to changing urban/community conditions,' 'lack of a powerful challenge function outside DND in central agencies,' and, in particular, to 'powerful local socio-economic pressures, which hitherto have led government to direct that installation which DND wishes to close should remain in operation.'

The study team added that 'mobilization contingencies' were also used 'to justify the retention by DND of redundant infrastructure.' In the view of the study team, 'prolonging indefinitely the life of defence installations with no essential military function is not the way to encourage the social and economic evolution of host communities; the costs to all outweigh the benefits.' Its report also asserted that 'an alternative approach to accommodation for mobilization which would entail a combination of prefabricated building, canvas and designated 3 civilian buildings would appear to offer a much more cost effective yet practical solution than maintaining redundant facilities.' The study team therefore recommended to the task force that 'the government should consider asking DND to develop medium (one to five years) and long range (five to ten years) infrastructure proposals. The rationalization plan should include provision for cooperative planning with provinces and local communities for the socio-economic adjustments which would have to be made.'

Go Back To Page Index At Top Of This Page


Insofar as search and rescue (SAR) was concerned, the Nielsen study team concluded that 'the assignment of responsibilities for SAR to [the Canadian Coast Guard] in the marine mode and to [the Department of National Defence] in the air mode and in coordination of search activities causes some problems. It is not clear, however, that any other assignment of responsibilities would be superior or decrease the number or severity of problems.

Segregation of the SAR budgets in the two main departments would lead to a better understanding of the costs involved but operationally the [search and rescue] program works.' The study team did not, however, that: Rescue Coordination Centres can make better use of non Coast Guard resources (e.g. municipal or provincial police forces). In addition, it might prove effective to utilize private helicopters and vessels in marine search if not in rescue. This may necessitate the federal government providing SAR kits for helicopters and ships, and entering into contracts on a contingency basis. Moreover, in reequipping [the Coast Guard's] helicopter fleet, the Department [of Transport] should consider the merits of taking into consideration SAR as a secondary mission for establishing the operational requirements of the aircraft. Search and rescue--the largest, most expensive and most important of the myriad 'national development' roles performed by Canada's armed forces--also figured in a report on military air transport prepared by the Special Committee of the Senate on National Defence. Tabled in February, the Senate report recommended that the long-serving de Havilland CC-115 Buffalo search and rescue aircraft employed by the Halifax, Trenton and Victoria SAR regions by phased out by 1992 and their tasks assigned to an augmented fleet of Lockheed CC-130 Hercules aircraft.

The Senate committee also recommended that the de Havilland CC-138 Twin Otters utilized by the Edmonton SAR region be replaced by six de Havilland Dash 8s by 1992, and that the Boeing-Vertol CH-113/CH-113A Labradors (Canadian Annual Review, 1985) be succeeded by 20 new helicopters by the mid-1990s. The committee did not endorse a specific type of helicopter, but it did take note of the advantages inherent in commonality with other military procurement programs (for example, the eventual successor to the Sikorsky CH-124A Sea King anti-submarine warfare helicopter). next--ocean ranger and responses 5 On 10 March, Perrin Beatty, then the solicitor general, announced that responsibility for Canada's long-mooted Special Emergency Response Team (SERT) would be vested in the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. An integral part of Canada's counter-terrorism program, the team would be employed 'in those rare cases where all efforts to negotiate a peaceful end to a hostage seizure have failed and where the hostages are in immediate danger, [and] the authorities have no choice but rescue by armed assault.' The 49-person team, unlike existing RCMP response units, would be held 'in a constant state of readiness and training.'

The Special Emergency Response Team would be based in the Ottawa area and make use, as required, of military air transport. Although the rise in international terrorism ensured a generally positive response to the creation of such a unit, Ottawa's decision to make it part of the RCMP, rather than the armed forces, drew criticism from John Starnes, a former head of the RCMP's security and intelligence section, Professor Leslie Green, a University of Alberta specialist on terrorism, Jean-Jacques Blais, a former solicitor general and minister of national defence, and Robert Kaplan, also a former solicitor general. In Mr. Starnes' view, 'the raison d'etre of a soldier, his experience and training seem naturally to fit the anti-terrorist role. The idea of assigning to a law enforcement officer a task which is essentially military in nature leaves me a bit uneasy' (Toronto Star, 11 March).

In response to such criticism, the deputy solicitor general, Fred E. Gibson, told an April 1986 conference of the Toronto-based Canadian Institute of Strategic Studies (CISS) that he should make clear the government's position that terrorist acts, however political in their ultimate objective, inevitably involve criminal offences which in our system of government fall within the purview of the civil law enforcement authority. On this basis, we view this [counter terrorism] role as a logical and legitimate expression of the RCMP's law enforcement responsibility, consistent with the force's national obligations for the investigation of security offences as set out in the [Canadian Security Intelligence Service] Act. Furthermore, this arrangement ensures that those required to carry out counter-terrorist assaults will be subject in all respects to the authorities, and to the ACCOUNTABILITY, imposed on peace officers, by virtue of the Criminal Code of Canada.

Go Back To Page Index At Top Of This Page


The major development on the peacekeeping front involved the dispatch of the Canadian contingent--136 military personnel and nine CH-135 Twin Huey helicopters--assigned to the MFO (Multinational Force and Observers) peacekeeping operation in the Middle East. Deployed to El Gorah in the northern Sinai Peninsula during March, the Canadians assumed responsibility for the MFO's Rotary Wing Aviation Unit (RWAU). Previously provided by Australia and New Zealand, the RWAU was responsible for the transportation of MFO observers on their verification tasks, the insertion and extraction of temporary observation posts, logistical support, medical evacuation, and MFO-related search and rescue.

The decision to join the MFO followed requests from the governments of Egypt and Israel (Canadian Annual Review, 1985). Canada's first venture into non-UN peacekeeping in the region, the MFO commitment required approximately 25 per cent of the country's tactical transport helicopter assets. Although few of the submissions to the Special Joint Committee on Canada's International Relations dealt specifically with peacekeeping, the committee found most witnesses of the opinion that peacekeeping was 'an appropriate and constructive way for Canada to contribute to maintaining peace in the world.'

The committee advanced four peacekeeping-related conclusions and recommendations: that a continuing Canadian contribution to the United Nations Force in Cyrpus (UNFICYP) helps to prevent fighting on the island and maintain stability on NATO's southern flank; that Ottawa 'consider making significantly greater use of the reserve forces for peacekeeping'; that Canada 'continue to make its peacekeeping expertise available to the armed forces of other countries'; and that the 'best approach to invitations to become involved in peacekeeping operations is for Canada to apply its criteria on a case-by-case basis, while maintaining its preference for operations under United Nations auspices.' The government's December 1986 response indicated that it would 'remain alert to possibilities to act constructively in [the peacekeeping] role, wherever they may arise in the world and whenever resources allow if Canadian interests would thus be served, and a Canadian presence would be acceptable.'

The response also expressed support for the recommendations of the Special Joint Committee. of one [issue] should be conditional upon the resolution of the other." In his September 27 address to the General Assembly, the Secretary of State for External Affairs added that "South Africa's precondition to implementation, the withdrawal of Cuban forces from Angola, cannot legitimize its illegal occupation of Namibia. The question of principle is clear. Namibia should have its independence regardless of what happens or does not happen in Angola." In June, both the Secretary of State for External Affairs and Canada's ambassador to the United Nations expressed frustration over the seemingly irreconcilable situation in Cyprus. Mr. MacEachen reportedly warned the UN Secretary-General, Javier Perez de Cuellar, that Canada might withdraw its troops from the United Nations peacekeeping force in Cyprus (International Canada, June-July 1983). Mr. Pelletier told the Security Council on 15 June that "the two communities of Cyprus and others involved in the dispute have displayed a regrettable lack of will to make the necessary difficult compromises required for a successful political solution" (International Canada, June-July 1983). In general, however, Canadian support for peacekeeping remained firm.

The December Speech from the Throne indicated that "renewed attention" would be given "to the contribution Canada can make to peace and stability through peacekeeping operations under the control of the United Nations." On December 28, the United States officially informed the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) that it would be withdrawing from the agency effective January 1985. The United States would, however, retain the right to rejoin at a future date should UNESCO correct a number of highly objectionable ARMS CONTROL AND DISARMAMENT Canadian arms control policy was studied, explored and promoted in an unusually diverse range of for a in 1983.

The new-found prominence was not surprising for, as the Secretary of State for External Affairs noted in his September 27 address to the General Assembly, "questions of disarmament and arms limitation have become the central preoccupation of our time." In his address Mr. MacEachen expressed "regret that a working group on arms control and outer space was not established this year by the Committee on Disarmament." He reiterated Prime Minister Trudeau's warning to the UN Second Special Session on Disarmament that "we cannot wait much longer if we are to be successful in foreclosing the prospect of space wars."

The Secretary of State stressed the urgency of the issue and pressed for the timely creation of a working group. Canada was "prepared to cooperate fully in the detailed examination of the issues" and continue "its research program on both the legal and technical issues." Mr. MacEachen also stressed the "absolute necessity of verification if we are going to make real progress in international disarmament and arms control negotiations." He noted that Canada had "attached special importance to the development of international verification mechanisms" and [had] "assigned a high priority to research in this area." Canada hoped to "make a real contribution to the Committee's effectiveness" through increased research into the technical and practical aspects of verification.

Go Back To Page Index At Top Of This PageThe Wednesday Report --History

1987 Year In Review

It was a remarkable year. On the domestic front, 1987 brought a relatively new white paper on defence (the first in nearly a generation), a lively debate on the perceived advantages and disadvantages of nuclear-powered attack submarines, a long-awaited order for six follow-on frigates (all from the same shipyard!), a significant upgrading of Canada's Pacific fleet (the first in nearly two decades), a significant upgrading of the northern radar network (the first in nearly three decades), and a host of smaller procurement and re-organization initiatives The year also brought renewed attention to the long-dormant subject of defence industrial preparedness.

For Canada's defence industry, 1987 was dominated by on-going activity on a host of pre-white paper procurement programs (covering everything from small arms to patrol frigates), by initial examination of the short and long-term opportunities (challenges?) offered by the white paper, and by a series of pivotal export contracts. Numbered among the latter were the French and West German orders for $410-million-worth of CL-289 unmanned airborne surveillance systems from Canadair, a British order for 242 Advanced Integrated MAD (Magnetic Anomaly Detection) systems from CAE Electronics, and last, but certainly not least, the Canadian share of the U.S. Army's potentially massive order for the Oerlikon-Buhrle/Martin Marietta ADATS air defence system. Among the Canadian beneficiaries of ADATS' victory in the hard-fought FAAD LOS-F-H competition were Oerlikon Aerospace, Litton Systems Canada Limited, and Spar Aerospace.

On the international front, the gradual warming trend in East-West relations was reflected in the December summit between U.S. President Ronald Reagan and Soviet General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev. A media event enveloped in an air of near-euphoria, the Washington summit's almost immediate claim to fame was the signing of the INF (Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces) agreement, but it also appeared to pave the way for a possible START (Strategic Arms Reduction Talks) treaty in the first half of 1988. the START talks hold the key to a potential 50 percent reduction in strategic missile inventories.

Itself a significant and encouraging -- but no means risk-free -- development in arms control diplomacy, the INF treaty would eliminate an entire category of nuclear weapons, including the American Pershing 2 ballistic missile and the BGM-109G ground-launched cruise missile (GLCM), and the Soviet SS-20 ballistic missile. Virtually certain of ratification by the U.S. Senate, the INF treaty will require rigorous -- indeed, unparalleled -- verification procedures. It would also seem to necessitate, as former NATO commander-in-chief Bernard W. Rogers has warned, increased attention to NATO's conventional deterrent.

Rendered even more timely by the INF treaty, the June 5 white paper re-affirmed the Mulroney government's staunch support of collective defence, and unveiled a 15-year game plan for bridging the gap between Canada's declared defence commitments and actual military capabilities. Integral to its vision of a more credible Canadian defence posture were the re-alignment and consolidation of existing NATO commitments, a renewed interest in home defence, a 'vigorous' naval modernization program and a sweeping re-organization of the Canadian army. The new policy document also outlined a long-term plan to increase the strength of the Primary Reserve from 21,000 to 65,000. The revitalization of the reserves would include the introduction of a genuine Total Force concept and a reduced distinction between the Regular and Reserve forces.

Dominating much of the white paper -- and most of the discussion and debate it stirred up -- were the government's proposals for the reshaping of the Canadian navy. In place of the existing fleet, which could charitably be described as geriatric, unbalanced and virtually irrelevant to sovereignty and security in the far north, the white paper envisaged a balanced, multi-role fleet capable of operating on all three coasts. In addition to the six City-class patrol frigates and four Tribal-class destroyers already under construction or conversion, the white paper announced plans for 10 to 12 nuclear-powered attack submarines (SSN's), six follow-on patrol frigates, several sonar array towing vessels (similar in concept to the U.S. Navy's SURTASS operation), and 30 or more minor war vessels. Intended primarily for a revitalized and retasked Naval Reserve, the war vessels would be utilized for mine counter-measures, coastal patrol, training, and other sundry tasks. The white paper also proposed a fixed, under-ice surveillance system for the Arctic. Cancelled to make way for this ambitious shopping list were the eight (rather ill-defined) frigates originally projected under phase three of the Ship Replacement Program (SRP III) and the four to twelve, conventionally-powered submarines (SSK's) that made up the original Canadian Submarine Acquisition Project (CASAP).

Far les spectacular in the eyes of the media and the public, but in many ways more complex, were the plans for the restructuring and expansion of Canada's land forces. Pivotal to these plans was the government's decision to shift the focus of the Canadian Air-Sea Transportable (CAST) Brigade Group from northern Norway to southern Germany. Although the CAST Brigade Group (i.e. 5e Groupe-brigade du Canada) would continue to be based in Canada, it would deploy, in time of crisis, to the Central Front. The result would be a two-brigade Division built around 4 Canadian Mechanized Group (4CMBG) -- the formation stationed year-round in Germany -- and 5e Groupe-brigade du Canada (5 GBC). Concomitant steps outlined by the white paper included the pre-positioning in Germany "of a large part" of the CAST Brigade Group's equipment, and the permanent deployment in Germany of selected Divisional elements (i.e. part of the headquarters) and larger logistics and medical support cadres. In addition, the relatively 'light' 5 GBC would be re-equipped with main battle tanks and other equipment as was necessary for the Central Front. Another Canada-based brigade group, the even more lightly equipped 1 CBG, would be upgraded with main battle tanks and other equipment (i.e. LLAD) in order to provide trained augmentation and reinforcement personnel for the division in Germany. The combined needs of the three brigade groups -- and the Combat Training Centre -- were expected to generate a requirement for 200-300 new main battle tanks.

Also unveiled in the white paper was Ottawa's decision to create a new task force for territorial defence/CANUS (Canada-United States) missions. The task force was to include an airborne battle group of approximately regimental size and a light, air-transportable brigade group. These formations would be created by re-organizing and re-equipping the existing Special Service Force (SSF). The white paper also reported that the revitalized and much expanded Militia would "contribute to defence operations in Canada and elsewhere in North America, and will train replacements for land forces deployed overseas. The Militia will also establish a relatively large force of lightly armed guards to protect military vital points, and make a major contribution to the logistic and medical organizations required to support our consolidated European commitments."

Go Back To Page Index At Top Of This PageBy comparison with the navy (which now faces the daunting task of assimilating everything from austere MCM vessels to state-of-the-art SSN's) and the army (which now faces massive re-organization and militia expansion programs), the air force's future course of development was not radically altered by the 1987 white paper. This state of affairs reflected both the priority attached to salvaging the navy and reorganizing the army, and the fact that a significant number of air force procurement programs are already well underway (i.e. North American Air Defence Modernization) or nearing completion (i.e. initial procurement of the CF-18). Still, the white paper was by no means devoid of air force or air force-related programs.

In the area of procurement, the white paper unveiled plans to: acquire "at least" six additional long-range patrol aircraft (which should take some of the burden off the 18 existing CP-140 Auroras); modernize and re-engine the venerable CP-121 Tracker medium-range patrol aircraft; acquire additional strategic air-lift capacity (which should generate a hefty order for additional CC-130's); acquire CF-18 attrition replacements (probably in the form of 13 ex-American F/A-18's); acquire advanced munitions for the CF-18; and proceed with the coastal extensions of the North Warning System. The white paper also confirmed the requirement for New Shipborne Aircraft (NSA) to replace the aging (and, of late, somewhat cantankerous) CH-124A Sea King. The document made no reference to new tankers, but a pre-white paper requirement for four KC-130's -- primarily to support home-based CF-18's apparently still stands.

The white paper also announced that the commitment of the two Canada-based CF-18 Rapid Reinforcement squadrons (the yet-to-be-formed No. 416 at Cold Lake, Alberta, and No. 433 at Bagotville, Quebec) would be shifted from Northern Norway -- the originally intended deployment area -- to southern Germany. With the commitment of the two CF-18 Rapid Reinforcement squadrons to the Central Front, the three-squadron (Nos. 409, 421, and 439) Air Group currently stationed in Germany would be elevated to Air Division status.

Apart from the fact that it would be expanded and more closely linked with the regular force, the white paper had relatively little to say about the Air Reserve. A useful glimpse of its future evolution has, however, been provided by the commander of Air Command, Lt-Gen. L.A. Ashley, in a recent interview with TWR's sister publication, Aerospace and Defence Technology. Ashley reported that "the air reserves will be postured to complement those areas where we have critical operations, such as air lift." The "kind of thing that will emerge is illustrated in Edmonton, where 418 Air Reserve Squadron will be twinned with the regular force 435 Squadron" and "share a common pool of C-130 aircraft." Another approach would be taken in Winnipeg, where No. 402 Air Reserve Squadron would be "equipped with the Dash 8 and be twinned with the Air Navigation School to provide the airlift for air nav training."

Go Back To Page Index At Top Of This PageThe Wednesday Report

Assessing The 1987 White Paper

Reaction to Canada's first defence white paper since 1971 was predictably varied. Indeed, the casual observer may have concluded that there are as many opinions on the white paper as there are editorial writers, politicians, peace researchers, academics, defence industrialists, and members of the armed forces. A perusal of the most recent assessments of the white paper -- as found in media commentaries, scholarly journals, defence and business publications, and testimony before the Commons and Senate defence committees -- quickly establishes a number of recurring themes. There is, for example, relief that a new white paper has finally appeared, and well-deserved praise of defence minister Perrin Beatty for his determination to provide a successor to the moribund Defence in the Seventies -- a document which in some major respects was obsolete within three years of its appearance. For the most part, the Mulroney government has garnered high marks for so explicitly acknowledging the commitment-capability gap, for proceeding with commitment rationalization (when it would have been very easy, politically and diplomatically, to acquiesce with the status quo) and for offering a long-term approach to the modernization and restructuring of Canada's armed forces. Although a 15-year plan is necessarily hostage to the vagaries of future elections and changes in the international environment, it offers at least a modicum of continuity and a useful benchmark or baseline for Canadian defence planners.

Also generally well-received has been the white paper's explicit recognition that Canadian security does not start and end on the Central Front or in the mid-Atlantic -- that legitimate security concerns also exist in our territorial waters, in the Arctic, on the North American continent, and in the north east Pacific. The result -- for the first time in many years -- should be a better balance between our NATO commitments in Europe and our NATO, NORAD 'defence of Canada' concerns on this side of the North Atlantic.

In terms of the specific strategies or policies outlined by the white paper, the decision to shift the CAST commitment to the Central Front has naturally drawn disappointment from those who argued -- in some cases quite eloquently -- for a 'northern' approach to Canadian defence policy. In the face of Norway's (understandable) reluctance to sanction the permanent deployment on its soil of foreign troops, most observers have expressed support for the Canadian government's choice of land force consolidation options. Although one could in theory have earmarked a significant Canada-based contingent for north flank reinforcement (i.e. a two-brigade division, replete with additional airlift support and maximum pre-positioning), its 'out-of-sight, out-of-mind' existence, and doubts over whether Canada would really deploy it in time of crisis, could have fostered the impression in Europe that Canada had opted for 'fortress North America' -- with all that might imply in terms of Canadian linkages with the United States or weakened cohesion within the North Atlantic Alliance.

Also drawing support from most observers were the decisions to create a balanced Canadian navy (although support for more submarines did not necessarily mean support for SSN's), to expand the reserves and implement a true Total Force strategy, and to place renewed emphasis on Defence Industrial Preparedness and defence-related research and development. The decision to create a balanced fleet (i.e. one that has more to offer than ASW frigates) reflects the belated recognition that a single-role, single-type-of-ship navy cannot possibly be responsive to all of Canada's maritime sovereignty and security concerns.

Go Back To Page Index At Top Of This PageShortcomings?

On the down side, one fairly common complaint was that the white paper spent too little time articulating an identifiably Canadian perspective on some of the major issues of Western security. Consider, for example, the assessment of John Halsted -- a former Canadian ambassador to NATO -- in the July-August issue of Aerospace Canada International (the predecessor to Aerospace and Defence Technology): "It is true that [the white paper] deals briefly with the international environment in terms of East-West rivalry, and with the military threat to Canadian security in North America and Europe. But it does not really come to grips with such important questions as the compatibility between NATO strategy and arms control objectives, the impact on NATO doctrine of the U.S. shift from reliance on MAD (Mutual Assured Destruction) to a countervailing nuclear strategy, and the implications of SDI (Strategic Defence Initiative) for Canada's defence posture and priorities."

Another frequently-heard observation is that the white paper's rhetoric is, in some cases, too harsh and too 'Cold War'-like, that its 'military threat' section too closely resembles a Canadian version of the Pentagon's Soviet Military Power. Some may reject such assessments as the misguided musings of the peace movement, but it should be noted that similar concerns have been voiced by more moderate, highly-respected Canadian defence commentators. In a collection of white paper reviews published by the non-partisan Canadian Institute of International Affairs (CIIA), for example, Professor R.B. Byers suggests that "while the 1971 defence white paper presented too benign an assessment of East-West relations, it may well be that that the 1987 white paper has erred in the opposite direction. This could have the effect of unnecessarily calling into question subsequent sections [of the 1987 white paper] which address changes in defence commitments and future requirements."

A thought-provoking critique of the white paper has also been provided by Brigadier-General (Ret'd) George C. Bell -- the president of the Canadian Institute for Strategic Studies (CISS) -- in a recent appearance before the Special Committee of the Senate on National Defence. Although Dr. Bell commended the Prime Minister and the Minister of National Defence for providing Canadians with "a reasonably comprehensive framework of defence policy," he expressed concern over a "number of specific deficiencies in the areas of naval forces, air forces and military space policy." The white paper's "most serious omissions," however, were to be found "in the areas of Regular Force manpower, military modernization for periods beyond 30 days and the scope of emergency legislation." Bell noted that: "Nowhere in the white paper is the size of the Regular Force mentioned. Although informal soundings indicate that the Regular Force might grow from its present ceiling of approximately 84,700 to 90,000 within the 15-year planning period, informed commentators must be concerned about the apparent insufficiency of the Regular Force. Even if it reaches 90,000, it is likely to be unable to provide the training and support infrastructure and integrated personnel in Reserve units which are essential to achieve major growth in the Reserves from current levels of 90,000 (65,000 Primary Reserve and 25,000 Supplementary Reserve)." Bell suggested that "if the increase in the Regular Force is not increased well beyond the 90,000 indicated, the net benefit in increased overall force capabilities is likely to be far less than a surface look at the white paper would suggest."

Go Back To Page Index At Top Of This PageAnother recurring theme, inevitably, has been the white paper's adoption of a two percent-plus funding formula (i.e. "a base rate of annual real growth in the defence budget of two percent per year after inflation," plus occasional extra infusions as major capital programs are introduced). Although this approach could be made to work -- assuming that the two percent figure is a floor and not a ceiling, and that the extra infusions beyond the two percent will amount to more than $1.98 -- it was not as generous as the Department of National Defence had hoped. In the current fiscal environment, however, it is difficult to see how the Department could have done any better.

The major controversy unleashed by the white paper has, of course, centred on the proposed acquisition of nuclear-powered attack submarines. This is potentially the most significant procurement decision in the history of Canadian defence policy -- and one which should be rightly subjected to the most rigorous and penetrating analysis. One barrier to meaningful discussion of the SSN option, however, is the mistaken impression in some editorial, foreign policy analysis, and U.S. Navy circles that the raison d'etre of a Canadian SSN fleet would the checking of passports at the entrance of the Northwest Passage.

While SSN's would indeed bring an important new dimension to Arctic sovereignty, they cannot and should not be assessed on that basis alone. Rather, the SSN proposal must be evaluated in the context of what it would bring to the entire spectrum of Canadian (and Alliance) maritime missions. This means looking at both sovereignty and security, and the Pacific Ocean, the Atlantic Ocean, and the Arctic Ocean. It also means looking at the other equipment options for a late 20th-early 21st century navy. One must also give the utmost consideration to the possible arms control and other implications of an SSN acquisition program. Although some of the arms control and other criticisms (such as fear of linkage, however indirect, with the U.S. Navy's controversial Maritime Strategy) which have been directed at the proposed SSN program may appear exaggerated to some SSN proponents, they must be clearly and satisfactorily addressed if the program is to garner the support of Canadians.

That still leaves, of course, the question of cost -- or, more accurately, cost-effectiveness. Given the military attributes of SSN's (i.e. speed, endurance and the unparalleled ability to shift Canadian naval resources around the three coasts without using the Panama Canal) and the costs of possible alternatives, an SSN fleet for $8 billion or so would be very cost-effective. It would still be cost effective at a cost in excess of $8 billion. If, however, an SSN program threatens to approach the truly frightening worst case scenarios postulated by some observers, it would be difficult to support. It is conceivable that the currently projected overall defence budget might still be able to cope, but the risk would be a seriously distorted defence establishment (i.e. one with too little money for the other branches of the navy, not to mention the army and the air force). In 1988, consequently, one can expect SSN cost-estimating to be a continuing national pastime.

Also at issue, although something of a 'sleeper' at this point, is the continuing tasking of both of the CF-18 Rapid Reinforcement squadrons in the flyover role (albeit to Germany rather than to Norway). More than a few observers had hoped that the government would use at least one of the CF-18 Rapid Reinforcement squadrons to bolster the modest, two-squadron force dedicated to home defence (plus, in crisis, the CF-18 operational training squadron). The rationale for an increase in the dedicated home defence fleet was not predicated on a desire to recreate the massive RAF interceptor force of the 1950's. It did, however, rest on four basic assumptions: (a) that the peacetime interceptor mission of providing "unambiguous confirmation" of radar data was becoming more important in an age of cruise missiles; (b) that two dedicated squadrons seemed a rather modest force for a country the size of Canada; (c) that additional CF-18's could be multi-tasked to perform such missions as sea denial (i.e., with Harpoon) and reconnaissance; and (d) that using additional Canada- (and Iceland-?) based CF-18's to help extend land-based air cover out over the North Atlantic could conceivably be of more use to NATO than two more fighter squadrons in southern Germany. Another irony of the continued tasking of both CF-18 squadrons in the flyover role was that it would mean sending Canadian fighter reinforcements to Europe at the very time -- during a crisis -- when the United States would be seeking to deploy USAF fighter reinforcements in Canada.

Go Back To Page Index At Top Of This Page

The NDP Position Paper

On 30 July, the New Democratic Party unveiled its conception of a viable Canadian defence policy. Entitled Canadian Sovereignty, Security and Defence: A New Democratic Response to the White Paper, it reaffirmed the long-standing NDP desire to withdraw Canada from NORAD and NATO but, ironically, it outlined a force structure which could conceivably be very useful in a NORAD or NATO context. Thus, although it would repatriate the Canadian contingents in Germany, it offered an impressive shopping list. For the navy, it would provide up to 18 patrol frigates, up to 12 conventionally-powered submarines, an unstated number of mine counter-measures and coastal patrol vessels, and an under-ice surveillance system in the Arctic. For the air force, the NDP position paper envisaged the acquisition of a New Shipboard Aircraft, additional airlift capacity, an expanded fleet of patrol aircraft and 'Canadian-controlled' AWACS aircraft. At the close of 1987, there were indications that the New Democratic Party was reassessing -- although not necessarily changing -- its position on withdrawal from NORAD and NATO. If it does modify its stance on this issue -- and if it retains the shopping list outlined in its position paper -- the New Democratic Party's defence policy would be eminently more marketable to mainstream Canadian public opinion.

Go Back To Page Index At Top Of This Page

Life Beyond the White Paper

Although Perrin Beatty's white paper and the issues it raised almost completely dominated the defence agenda during 1987, there were a host of lesser -- but still significant -- developments. For Canada's air force, the year was marked by the handover of the first CC-142 Dash 8 by de Havilland Canada, by the award of the CF-5 update contract to Bristol Aerospace (although it was no doubt a bittersweet experience to the latter), by the selection -- in principle -- of the EH Industries EH 101 for the crucial New Shipborne Aircraft (NSA) requirement, and by a well-publicized CF-18 engine problem (i.e., uncontained engine compressor failures with a potential for engine or engine compartment fires). The difficulty resulted in a temporary suspension of CF-18 deliveries in early November. CF-18 deliveries were resumed on 17 November following discussions between the Canadian government, McDonnell Douglas and General Electric, and the identification of an acceptable modification package. In other equipment developments during 1987, Innotech Aviation was awarded a contract for the modification of three Canadair CE-144 Challengers to an interim electronic warfare standard, and Kelowna Flight Group Limited was awarded a $10.9-million contract for the CC-109 Cosmopolitan avionics update.

For Canada's air force, 1987 also saw the activation of two more CF-18 squadrons (No. 441 at Cold Lake and No. 433 at Bagotville), the awarding of the operations and maintenance contract for the North Warning System (to Frontec Logistics Corporation of Edmonton), the activation of the North Warning System's first AN/FPS-117 long-range radars, the closure of the bulk of the remaining CADIN-Pinetree Line radar stations in the interior of Canada, and the selection of the five CF-18 Forward Operating Locations (i.e., Inuvik, Yellowknife, Rankin Inlet, Iqualuit [Frobisher Bay] and Kuujjuag [Fort Chimo]). Not co-incidentally, Canadian and American fighter squadrons also did land office business intercepting an inordinate number of Soviet Bear aircraft.

For the navy, 1987 saw the handover to MIL Davie of HMCS Algonquin, the first of the four DDH-280 Tribal-class destroyers to undergo conversion to the ambitious TRUMP (Tribal-class Update and Modernization Project) configuration. Although the destroyers modified under TRUMP would retain a secondary ASW (anti-submarine) capability, their primary role would become anti-air warfare (AAW). Also noteworthy were the official 'placing in dock' ceremony (i.e., the modular equivalent of 'laying the keel') for the first of the City-class patrol frigates (HMCS Halifax) and, of course, the decision to award the contract for all six of the follow-on batch (HMC Ships Montreal, Fredericton, Winnipeg, Charlottetown, St. John's and Ottawa) to Saint John Shipbuilding Limited. In organizational terms, 1987 brought the commissioning of two more Naval Reserve units in Quebec (HMCS Radisson in Trois Riviere and HMCS D'Iberville in Rimouski), the formal activation of the new Maritime Coastal Defence Organization in Halifax (although it was an organization with something less than an abundance of physical assets) and, most important, the first substantial augmentation of Canada's Pacific fleet in almost two decades. The upgrading of the Pacific fleet -- which unlike its east coast counterpart did not have any helicopters or air-capable frigates or destroyers -- reflected the decision to transfer HMCS Huron, a Tribal-class destroyer, to Esquimalt in return for the transfer to Halifax of the Improved Restigouche-class frigate HMCS Gatineau. Also transferred to the west coast were four Sea King helicopters from HS 443 Squadron. The Sea Kings would operate from HMCS Huron and from HMCS Provider, the Pacific fleet's veteran operational support ship.

A year of less obvious change for Canada's land forces, 1987 was marked by the award of a $19.2-million contract to Invar Manufacturing to produce TOW turrets (for the M113) under license from Thune-Eureka of Norway, and by on-going negotiations with France for the co-production of the advanced Eryx anti-armor weapon. Both moves promised to fill major gaps in Canada's anti-armor inventory. In organizational moves, the Royal Canadian Dragoons -- the armored regiment attached to 4CMBG in Germany -- returned to Canada for the first time in 17 years. Taking its place in Germany -- and its Leopard C1 main battle tanks -- were the 8th Canadian Hussars from CFB Petawawa. Also announced was the decision to increase the size of the Canadian contingent serving with the United Nations peacekeeping force in Cyprus. Reservists, the 60 additional soldiers would help to compensate for the withdrawal of the Swedish contingent. The increase would bring the number of Canadian military personnel on active peacekeeping duty -- in Cyprus and elsewhere in the Middle East -- to almost 1,000.

Go Back To Page Index At Top Of This Page

The Year Ahead 1988

The new year should bring a host of announcements as Canadian defence planners grapple with the initial implementation of Perrin Beatty's white paper (and with more than a few carry-over programs from the pre-white paper period). Although target dates could well change, the army programs that will attract the most attention during 1988 are the Heavy Logistics Vehicle (which may see contract award by March), TCCCS (the RFP for the first phase of which should appear by early-to-mid year), the main battle tank replacement (with the possibility of project definition approval by May or June), the Close Air Defence Weapon System (with an RFP possible in the spring or summer), the light armored vehicle/light armored utility vehicle (with an RFP likely before the end of 1988). For the army, 1988 should also bring the first LLAD deliveries, and more detailed information on the new Divisional structure in Germany (i.e., the location of the proposed fourth manoeuvre unit for 4CMBG).

For the navy, the pivotal development -- now that work is underway or committed on CFP, SRP II and TRUMP -- will centre on the selection of the 'country of origin' for the SSN program. This decision should appear relatively early in 1988. It is hoped, as well, that there will be solid news regarding mine-countermeasures vessels and new naval auxiliary vessels. On a nostalgic note, 1988 will also see the honourable retirement -- as personnel are released for training on the City-class -- of several of Canada's veteran steam-driven frigates. That these vessels lasted until 1988 is high praise for the people who designed them over the past three decades. It also speaks volumes about the lack of continuity in Canadian naval procurement, but that is another story...

For the air force, 1988 will bring continued progress on the NSA program, delivery of the last of the 138 original CF-18's, closure of the final CADIN-Pinetree Line radar stations, activation of additional AN/FPS-117 sites, activation of the eighth and final CF-18 squadron (No. 416 at Cold Lake), removal of the CF-5 from the NATO flyover role, and further refinement of the plans for the operation and staffing of the CF-18 Forward Operating Locations. Also expected to appear is the RFP for the Canadian Forces Light Helicopter (CFLH). One hopes, as well, that there will be solid developments with regard to the four proposed KC-130's, to the proposed expansions of the strategic airlift and long-range patrol fleets, and to the long-term modernization of the search and rescue fleet. At the present time, SAR modernization seems likely to involve variants of the EH 101 and the C-130, although there are proponents of a mixed C-130/Dash-8 fixed-wing fleet. Also worthy of close attention will be the Tracker update program. The latter promises to generate some very interesting questions. How extensive, for example, should the update be? Should any further privatization of the Tracker's fisheries surveillance duties -- which seem to enjoy very high levels of public support -- be sanctioned?

With all of these issues and developments -- and a federal election looming in the background -- 1988 should be a very interesting year.

Go Back To Page Index At Top Of This PageThe Wednesday Report --History

1988 Year In Review

It was a paradoxical year. On the one hand, 1988 brought major developments in the fields of defence procurement (i.e. the ordering of 1,122 heavy logistic vehicles, approval-in-principle for the acquisition of approximately 820 northern terrain vehicles, the launching of the first of twelve City-class patrol frigates, and the approval of project definition for the Tactical Command, Control and Communications System [TCCCS] and the Maritime Coastal Defence Vessel [MCDV] project), defence organization (i.e. the activation -- or, more accurately, the reactivation -- of 1 Canadian Division and 1 Canadian Air Division) and defence operations (i.e. substantial Canadian involvement in a new round of United Nations peacekeeping and the first deployment of a CF-18 'rapid reinforcement' squadron to the Federal Republic of Germany). Also outlined during the year were a series of initiatives, including a much-needed Northern Training Centre, designed to enhance Canadian sovereignty and security in the Arctic. Further attention also was directed to the long-neglected subject of defence industrial preparedness.

In a similar vein, 1988 witnessed what may well be a one-year record for reorganizations, realignments, takeovers and plant openings within the Canadian defence industry. Particularly noteworthy were the acquisition of Leigh Instruments by British-based Plessey, the acquisition of Singer's Link Simulation and Training Systems Division by CAE Industries of Toronto and the acquisition of Cincinnati Electronics by Canadian Marconi Company. In terms of exports, it was clearly the 'Year of the Airbus', with major subcontracts for the A330/A340 family being logged by Dowty Canada and, in particular, the Canadair division of Bombardier. On other fronts, 1988 saw the first flight of an MBB BO 105 helicopter powered by Pratt and Whitney Canada's promising PW200 turboshaft, the first flights of both the civil and military Turbo-Tracker (by Conair and IMP, respectively), the delivery of the 100th helicopter (a 206L LongRanger III) produced by Bell Helicopter Textron at its Mirabel plant, the roll-out of the first production ADATS fire unit by Oerlikon Aerospace of Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Quebec, and the delivery of the 844th and final de Havilland DHC-6 Twin Otter.

The international military-strategic and political environments were in a state of flux as well, with considerable progress on implementing the INF (Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces) agreement of 1987, a new round of East-West 'summitry' and the announcement of unilateral defence cutbacks by Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev. Such developments -- and progress on resolving a number of long-standing regional conflicts, usually with the assistance of United Nations peacekeepers -- did not mean, as some overly-optimistic observers suggested, that "peace was breaking out all over", but it did mean the continuation of the gradual warming trend in East-West relations and the apparent emergence of a somewhat more benign international environment.

At the same time, however, one could not escape the conclusion that 1988 was also somewhat anticlimactic -- partly because defence policy failed to emerge as an important (or even truly visible) issue in the federal election campaign and partly because the promised final decision on the 'country-of-origin' for Canada's nuclear-propelled submarine (SSN) fleet was not forthcoming.

In the weeks and months leading up to the November 21 election, it was widely assumed and confidently predicted -- by observers both within and outside government -- that defence policy would play an electoral role not seen since the BOMARC and nuclear weapons-scarred elections of the early 1960s. Such was not the case. In the 1988 election, the Free Trade debate drowned out virtually every other issue, with the result that defence -- and many other important issues -- were relegated to mere footnote status. Indeed, defence was for the most part less visible than during the 1984 election campaign -- which, from a defence viewpoint, was dominated by multi-party pledges of support for CFB Chatham, New Brunswick, and by Liberal and Progressive Conservative feuding over the cost of reintroducing distinctive uniforms for the army, navy and air force. In retrospect the dominance of the Free Trade issue was neither surprising or inappropriate but, with major differences between the three federal parties on defence policy, the country was not well-served by the absence of a meaningful debate on defence matters.

Go Back To Page Index At Top Of This PageThe low visibility of defence, which at times left the impression that the Liberals, the New Democrats and the Progressive Conservatives had signed some sort of non-aggression pact on the subject, also may have been influenced by the presence of potentially inflammable, and in some cases inconsistent, elements in their defence planks. As an earlier edition of The Wednesday Report noted, it was consequently difficult for the parties to publicize the potentially marketable or attractive aspects of their defence policies without risking powerful political (and other) counterattacks on the more vulnerable aspects of those policies. The New Democrats, for example, could have played up the sovereignty-enhancing features of their defence policy but, given that most Canadians still support membership in NATO, would have been extremely vulnerable to Liberal and Progressive Conservative sniping. The NDP's attempt to soften its long-standing pledge to withdraw from NATO -- by saying that it would not do so until a second term -- could have been played up too, but such a tactic probably wouldn't have produced many converts and, by drawing attention to the change, would have risked renewed internal strife within the party.

The Progressive Conservatives could justifiably have taken credit for producing the first white paper in almost a generation (itself an interesting comment on the Canadian public's interest in defence matters) and for so explicitly acknowledging the commitment-capability gap, but systematically 'playing up' defence would have invited fierce Liberal, NDP and peace movement attacks on the SSN programme. The Liberals, too, were vulnerable on defence. Although their anti-SSN position was eminently marketable in some quarters, the party was vulnerable to charges that a pro-NATO, anti-cruise missile testing stance was inconsistent (and the subject of internal disagreements), and to accusations that its naval policy (i.e. how it would rebuild the navy in the absence of SSNs) was decidedly murky.

By far the greatest let-down for the Canadian defence establishment and the Canadian defence industry, however, was the absence of a cabinet decision on the 'country-of-origin' for the SSN programme. As readers of The Wednesday Report are well aware, the decision is now the better part of a year behind schedule and unlikely to be rendered before the end of February at the earliest. The reasons for the slippage are complex and vary depending on the source, but are variously ascribed to political 'cold feet' (indeed, some peace groups are now claiming that "adverse" public opinion on the proposed acquisition has administered the coup de grace to the entire project), cabinet dissension over the cost, continuing American intransigence over certain technology transfer issues (which have made life very interesting for the British), the Mulroney government's need to grapple with more pressing matters (most notably the Free Trade Agreement) and last, but certainly not least, the complexities inherent in evaluating weapon systems and technologies with which Canada has virtually no prior experience.

If a final decision between the British and French contenders can be reached by the close of February, the damage done in terms of delaying naval modernization, delaying the industrial start-up and tarnishing Canada's international credibility will still be manageable. Significant delays beyond that point would be decidedly risky, however, and would call into question the centrepiece of the 1987 white paper, the Mulroney government's commitment to a genuine three-ocean navy and the credibility of Canadian pronouncements on defence procurement. More to the point, what would replace CASAP-SSN if it were to be cancelled? How soon would alternative naval and naval air procurement strategies be put into place? At this juncture virtually all indicators suggest that the Mulroney government will move forward with the SSN programme, but it should be noted that Canada is fast-approaching the point where a decision to pursue alternate naval modernization strategies would be preferable to continued delays in reaching a decision on SSNs. Irrespective of whether one favours SSNs or some other approach, time is of the essence.

Go Back To Page Index At Top Of This PageIt is clear, as well, that a decision to pursue the SSN option will have to be accompanied by a renewed effort to blunt some serious -- and continuing -- public misconceptions about CASAP-SSN. These include the mistaken belief that the raison d'etre of the SSN fleet will be the checking of passports, largely American passports, at the entrance to the Northwest Passage. The three-ocean rationale for SSNs and their relevance to Canada's traditional naval missions need to be restated. Also required is a reminder that the navy gave up SRP III (Ship Replacement Programme Phase III), CASAP (in its conventionally-powered form) and part of the NSA (New Shipborne Aircraft) programme to help pay for the SSNs. The government also needs to deal in a forthright manner with the cost and arms control reservations, some of them quite legitimate, which have been expressed in certain quarters. If the SSN debate enters a second phase next month, let us hope that it rises above the sort of misleading hyperbole spouted by some of the organizations affiliated with the Canadian Peace Pledge Campaign. Debate is healthy, indeed essential, in a democracy, but newspaper ads that suggest that "Canada's finger is on a nuclear trigger" and warn that a Canadian SSN "could start a nuclear holocaust" if it "were to accidentally or purposefully attack a Soviet...submarine" are not helpful.

Undoubtedly more satisfying for the Mulroney government were a number of SSN endorsements from the defence-academic community (which was, and in some respects still is, uncertain about SSNs) and the general media. Underscoring the latter were a number of pro-SSN editorials from the Globe and Mail, which noted that nuclear propulsion allowed "subs to be subs." Underscoring the former was the testimony of Professor Rod Byers before the House of Commons Standing Committee on National Defence (SCOND). Now a Senior Fellow at York University's Centre for International and Strategic Studies -- and arguably Canada's foremost non-governmental strategic analyst -- Byers told the Committee that if one took account of both military-strategic and Arctic sovereignty considerations "within the context of Canada's maritime strategy, with the primary purpose of sea control, sea denial, and the requirements of the 21st century, then the rationale for SSNs...becomes quite compelling. SSNs would substantially increase Canada's capabilities to operate independently within a task force concept. Diesel-electric submarines would not be as effective for this type of role. In fact, I might even suggest that if we are going part of the way down this route of really having a maritime strategy for Canada then I wonder -- and I have grave doubts -- whether or not the acquisition of diesel-electric submarines would serve that function at all. You are probably in a situation where the diesel-electric capability would have to be exclusively placed within a NATO context and probably would not be able to relate to the requirements of independent task force structures and capabilities." Byers concluded with the observation that "if we have a Canadian maritime strategy, if it is explicit, and if independent naval assets are deemed important for the 21st century, then SSNs would be an important force structure requirement."

Go Back To Page Index At Top Of This Page

Life Beyond Elections and SSNs

There was, of course, life beyond the federal election and the SSN issue during 1988. For Canada's navy, 1988 saw the handover to MIL-Davie of HMCS Iroquois, the second of two Tribal-class destroyers to undergo conversion from a primary anti-submarine warfare (ASW) role to a primary anti-air warfare (AAW) role. With the first of the TRUMP conversions, HMCS Algonquin, still in dockyard hands (but expected to re-enter service in 1989) and HMCS Huron now stationed on the west coast (having been transferred to Esquimalt, B.C., in return for the transfer to Halifax of the Improved Restigouche-class frigate HMCS Gatineau in 1987), the handover to MIL-Davie of HMCS Iroquois temporarily reduced the Atlantic fleet to only one Tribal-class destroyer, HMCS Athabaskan. The decision as to the shipyard for TRUMP (Tribal-class Update and Modernization Project) conversions three (Athabaskan) and four (Huron) is expected to be announced in April of this year. The TRUMP conversions also look set to receive the Block III variant of the Standard 2 (MR.) surface-to-air missile instead of the originally specified Block II version.

Also noteworthy were the launching of HMCS Halifax (the first of the long-awaited City-class patrol frigates) and the keel laying ceremonies (or the modular equivalent thereof) for the second and third City-class patrol frigates (Vancouver and Ville de Quebec). The first two events took place at the New Brunswick shipyard of Saint John Shipbuilding; the third at the Lauzon, Quebec, yard of MIL-Davie Inc. It was also an unprecedented year for Canada's small, but increasingly resurgent, Naval Reserve. Announced during 1988 were the acquisition of two ex-civilian offshore supply vessels (for conversion into MCM (Mine Countermeasure) auxiliaries), the launching of project definition studies for a fleet of twelve Maritime Coastal Defence Vessels (for minesweeping, minehunting and, to a lesser degree, coastal surveillance), and the creation -- over the next three years -- of new Naval Reserve divisions at Sept-Iles, Quebec, London, Ontario and Charlottetown, P.E.I. Other naval developments of note included the initiation of crew training for the City-class patrol frigates, the phasing out of the St. Laurent-class frigate HMCS Assiniboine (the first of the old steamers to be displaced by the City-class), and the 20th anniversary of the Standing Naval Force Atlantic, NATO's multinational frigate and destroyer squadron. A Canadian frigate or destroyer -- and in some instances a replenishment vessel -- has served with the squadron since its inception.

For Canada's air force, 1988 saw the activation of the eighth and final CF-18 squadron (the NATO-assigned No. 416 at CFB Cold Lake, Alberta), the disbanding of the last frontline CF-5 squadron, No. 434 at CFB Chatham, New Brunswick (although No. 419 Tactical Fighter (Training) Squadron will continue to operate a large fleet of CF-5 fighter-trainers at CFB Cold Lake), the completion of the original order for 138 CF-18s and the completion of Phase I of the North Warning System (i.e. the installation of eleven General Electric AN/FPS-117 long-range radars). On the organizational front, the year saw the reactivation of 1 Canadian Air Division at CFB Lahr in the Federal Republic of Germany. Originally disbanded on July 1, 1970 (and reduced to Air Group status with three squadrons of CF-104s), the reincarnated Air Division includes three CF-18 squadrons permanently stationed in Europe (Nos. 409, 421 and 439) and two 'rapid reinforcement' squadrons normally stationed in Canada (Nos. 433 and 416).

Other developments during the year included the selection of Sanders Canada Inc. for Phase I of the Electronic Support and Training (EST) programme (which includes modifying three Canadair CE-144A Challengers to an interim electronic warfare training configuration), the awarding, to EH Industries (Canada) Inc., of the definition contract for the New Shipborne Aircraft-configured EH 101, and the selection of EDO Canada Limited to supply 959 external fuel tanks (480-gallon) for the CF-18. Also noteworthy were the first flight of a military Turbo-Tracker (a CP-121 on loan to IMP, although there was still no formal DND commitment to the type), the awarding of a $3.8 million contract to Northwest Industries to make two CC-130H Hercules (ex-Abu Dhabi) compatible with the rest of Canada's Hercules fleet, and the awarding of a $6.5 million contract to Innotech Aviation for a Depot Level Inspection and Repair (DLIR) programme on the Canadair CC-109 Cosmopolitan. With the DLIR and other improvements (Kelowna Flight Systems was last year awarded a $10.9 million contract to conduct a CC-109 avionics update), the veteran Cosmopolitan could remain in service beyond the turn of the century.

Go Back To Page Index At Top Of This PageA rather busier year for the army than 1987, last year saw the reactivation of 1 Canadian Division (with its peacetime Headquarters located in modest facilities at CFB Kingston, Ontario, and a small forward Headquarters at CFB Lahr, Federal Republic of Germany), the return to Winnipeg from Europe of the 2nd Battalion, Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry (which was replaced in CFB Baden-Soellingen by the 3rd Battalion, the Royal Canadian Regiment), and the announcement that the first Militia Training and Support Centre would be established at Meaford, Ontario. Budgeted at $60 million, the Centre -- the first of several envisaged under the Total Force Concept -- was scheduled for completion by 1992. It will initially offer support services and accommodation for up to 500 Militia members. By about 1995, the Centre will have the equipment and facilities to train a full battle group of 1,000 soldiers.

Activity on the peacekeeping front -- overwhelmingly but not exclusively an army affair -- saw the dispatch of reservists to join the long-established Canadian contingent in Cyprus, the provision of a small observer contingent to serve with the United Nations Good Offices Mission in Afghanistan and Pakistan (UNGOMAP) and the dispatch of a much larger, 525-man, contingent to serve with the United Nations Iran-Iraq Military Observer Group (UNIIMOG). The Canadian contingent was primarily composed of signalers, all of whom were repatriated to Canada by the end of 1988. Fifteen Canadian observers, however, are still serving with UNIIMOG. Completing the remarkable renaissance of United Nations peacekeeping was the creation, in December, of the United Nations Angola Verification Mission (UNAVEM). Comprised of 70 military observers and 20 civilian support personnel, UNAVEM is charged with overseeing the withdrawal of 50,000 Cuban troops from Angola. Its claim to fame from a Canadian perspective, however, is the fact that it is the first UN peacekeeping force or observer mission which does not include Canadians. The lack of Canadian representation does not reflect any waning of Canadian support for peacekeeping, but rather a UN desire to broaden the base of peacekeeping by adding new nations to the roster. This process has been made easier by the resurgence in the popularity of peacekeeping (not to mention a Nobel Peace Prize) and the concomitant willingness of more nations to get involved. Canada is, however, still expected to provide a 300-man logistics element for the long-mooted United Nations Transition Assistance Group (UNTAG) in Namibia.

Also announced, in mid-summer, was the decision to make the Canadian battalion group currently assigned to the Allied Command Europe Mobile Force (Land) available for the proposed NATO Composite Force. The multinational Composite Force is designed to replace the Canadian Air-Sea Transportable (CAST) Brigade Group previously earmarked for the defence of north Norway. Under the new arrangement -- which caused no end of confusion for the general media -- the battalion group would deploy only to northern Norway, either as part of the Allied Command Europe Mobile Force (Land) or, should the AMF(L) be assigned elsewhere, as part of the new NATO Composite Force in company with units from the Federal Republic of Germany, the United States and, of course, Norway.

It was also an exceptionally busy year on the procurement front. Dominating the agenda were the Heavy Logistic Vehicle Wheeled (which saw the awarding of a $250 million contract to UTDC Inc. of Kingston, Ontario, for the production of 1,122 Steyr-Daimler-Puch-designed heavy trucks), the Tactical Command, Control and Communications System (which received approval for project definition in September) and the northern terrain vehicle project (which received approval-in-principle for the production, in Calgary, of approximately 820 Bv 206s by Canadian Foremost Limited and Hagglunds Vehicle AB of Sweden. Also noteworthy were the selection of Spar Aerospace to produce 233 Night Observation Devices Long-Range (NODLR), the roll-out of the first production ADATS fire unit, the delivery of the first Oerlikon GDF-005 35mm anti-aircraft guns to the air defence regiment in Germany, the awarding -- to MIL-Vickers -- of a contract to upgrade almost 200 M113A1 armoured personnel carriers, and the awarding, to Thomson-CSF Systems Canada, of a contract valued at over $700,000 for the advanced development of a minefield breaching system (FALCON).

Go Back To Page Index At Top Of This Page

Opinions, Opinions

It was also a busy year for assessments, critiques and criticisms of Canadian defence policy, procurement and organization. Published during 1988, for example, were two reports by the House of Commons Standing Committee on National Defence. The first, dealing with the reserves, was published in July and offered the Mulroney government 16 key recommendations. The report stressed the need for "a more credible conventional defence in Europe and at home" and "a considerable increase" in Canada's military manpower while, at the same time, "keeping defence costs under control." The Committee chairman, Patrick Crofton (PC, Esquimalt-Saanich), saw the reserves as "a crucial pillar in Canada's security structure," and noted that "in an era of soaring defence costs, the resuscitation of the reserves will provide Canadians with more effective security for the dollars they spend on defence." In a subsequent response, defence minister Perrin Beatty expressed support for the general thrust of the report, but cautioned that fiscal constraints made it difficult to implement the complete set of recommendations. The Standing Committee also published a report on CASAP-SSN, but it was essentially an overview of the pros and cons and was devoid of specific recommendations. A report on Canada's land forces by the Special Committee of the Senate on National Defence was originally expected to appear in the Fall of 1988, but is now likely to appear early in 1989.

Also offering assessments of varying aspects of Canadian defence procurement and/or defence policy were the Auditor General (who, among other things, found a significant surplus of training ammunition), the Jane's Information Group (which produced a NATO handbook suggesting that Canada "has long had a reputation as being less than fully committed to a strong defensive capability"), and NATO's Defence Planning Committee (which noted that Canada has been doing reasonably well in terms of real growth increases in defence expenditure, but stressed that the country had started from a low baseline). Weighing in late in the year with their own examination of burden-sharing within the North Atlantic Alliance were the U.S. Departments of Defense and State. Their report offered a number of trenchant criticisms of Canada's military posture, including the relatively limited manpower in both the regular and reserve forces.

Go Back To Page Index At Top Of This Page

The State of the Industry 1988

Dominating the Canadian defence industrial scene during 1988 were an impressive number of plant openings and/or expansions, an equally impressive number of corporate reorganizations and realignments, and some noteworthy acquisitions -- both of foreign firms by Canadian companies, and of Canadian companies by foreign firms. Among the companies opening or projecting new or expanded facilities were Oerlikon Aerospace (which expected to double the size of its still-new Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu facility by mid-1989), Bendix Avelex Inc. (which moved its Aero-Marine Division to new facilities at Vancouver International Airport), Bombardier (which began the relocation of Canadair's military aircraft division to Mirabel, Quebec) and Litton Systems Canada Limited (which opened a new Halifax-area plant for its Atlantic Division on August 16). Also making news were Menasco Aerospace (which opened a 40,000-square foot addition to its Oakville, Ontario, facility), Leigh Instruments (which broke ground for a new 63,700-square foot corporate headquarters and engineering facility in Kanata, Ontario), Thomson-CSF Systems Canada (which opened a new 20,000-square foot facility in Nepean, Ontario) and Field Aviation Company Limited (which opened a 2,000-square foot aircraft parts depot in Halifax).

Corporate reorganizations and realignments during 1988 involved Marine Industries Limited (which modified the work-sharing arrangements for the three Quebec-built City-class patrol frigates and announced the disposal of several subsidiaries), Hughes Aircraft Company (which in January opened a new marketing office in Ottawa), Rockwell International (which announced the formation of a new Ship Systems Division within Rockwell International of Canada Limited), Devtek Corporation (which created the Devtek Systems Division and the Devtek Precision Components Division to better serve the aerospace, defence and electronics markets) and MacDonald Dettwiler (which established a new space and defence business group). Also making changes were Ernst Leitz Canada (which was assigned to Wild's Special Products Division and also opened an office in California) and Lockheed Corporation (which announced that a new Canadian subsidiary, Lockheed Canada Inc., would be created by combining the current operations of Sanders Canada Inc. and the existing Lockheed Canada Inc.).

In the realm of acquisitions and takeovers, the major players were CAE Industries Limited of Toronto (which invested $665 million in the acquisition of Singer's Link Domestic Simulation and Training Systems Division, thereby creating a genuine simulator 'superpower'), Canadian Marconi Company (which acquired Cincinnati Electronics for $39 million [U.S.]), and Leigh Instruments (which was acquired by Plessey Company plc of the United Kingdom). Among the smaller acquisitions was the purchase of Miller Communications Systems Limited of Kanata, Ontario, by Ottawa-based Calian Technology Limited.

Go Back To Page Index At Top Of This Page

The Year Ahead - 1989

The new year should, at least in theory, bring a flurry of procurement announcements as Canadian defence planning moves into a more mature post-white paper period. High on the agenda for hoped-for action include the main battle tank, light armoured vehicle and close air defence weapon system projects. For the air force, it is hoped that 1989 will bring some positive action on tanker and heavy transport aircraft, the medium-range patrol aircraft (MRPA), additional long-range patrol aircraft (LRPA), and on the proposed family of training aircraft. The latter appears likely to be spearheaded by the acquisition of approximately twelve turboprop-powered multi-engine trainers. For the navy, the pivotal question will of course centre on an SSN 'country-of-origin'.

On other fronts, 1989 should bring further refinement of the army's new Divisional structure, additional peacekeeping commitments, a clearer picture of Canada's requirements for new search and rescue aircraft, and varying degrees of action on a host of smaller procurement programmes. It also appears likely to be the 'Year of the Environment', with any procurement or deployment programme with environmental 'overtones' almost guaranteed to produce public, media or political controversy. Falling into this category, frequently as a result of misinformation, are the Goose Bay training facility (even if it is not selected as the site of NATO's proposed Tactical Fighter Weapons Training Centre), CASAP-SSN and the five Forward Operating Locations (FOL) for CF-18 and other interceptor aircraft. The FOL programme is already the source of confusion, since reports by the general media have left the public with the image of five massive, Cold Lake-style military airbases, replete with all manner of support and training facilities and hordes (!) of permanently-deployed CF-18s. Only in Canada...

Go Back To Page Index At Top Of This PageThe Wednesday Report - History

1994 Defence Policy White Paper

More so than any other previous defence white paper, one aspect of the Liberal government's defence policy paper is consistent with the times: it has a more recent date on it.

Reluctantly one has to admit that this alleged oracle for the next 15 years does reflect the present-day government's main concern. After a year of consulting with (seemingly) each and every one of some 28 million Canadians -- and their dogs, cats and cows -- it wallows, as ever, in the miserable concept of the "D" word. D-E-B-T.

"The new policy respects the government's commitment to reducing deficit," said Minister of National Defence David Collenette, last Friday. As a blueprint for the future the new defence policy paper cuts the capital defence budget by some $15 billion over the next 15 years.

Air Command will take it on the chin to the tune of some 25 percent in reductions. The number of operational fighter aircraft will be reduced, annual flying hours will be cut back, and personnel will be reduced. The CF-5 fleet, with an estimated life expectancy to 2000 after an extensive refit, will be retired. The Canadair-built fighter-trainer entered the Canadian inventory in 1968.

"To enable us to meet defence requirements in the post-Cold War era, the Department Of National Defence and the Canadian Forces will fundamentally change the way they do business in the coming years," said Collenette. That is made bluntly obvious by the white paper's planned job cuts.

Adding to high unemployment levels, and continuing the trend of the past four decades, the strength of the Canadian Forces Regular Force will be further reduced from the current level of 74,900 to 60,000 over the next five years. The CF's primary Reserve Force will be reduced to 23,000 from 29,400, meanwhile civilian staff cuts will also be extensive, in the vicinity of 12,500. The Department of National Defence's personnel cuts will eventually total 33,800.

NDHQ will experience some significant cutbacks and reductions through the remaining 1990s, as will others of DND's various support operations. Collenette says the government hopes that the savings will be better spent on combat forces.

Mobile Command, the "army", will get a booster shot in the arm; three thousand extra troops will theoretically make the army more capable and more flexible to meet the growing demand for ground forces in Canada's bid for Global Security as part of its various collective security alliances. "Peacekeeping" is the byword. The army will also get new armoured vehicles to match its blue helmets.

New armoured personnel carriers are on the government's shopping list although that has happened before without result. The white paper recommends that new APCs be in service by 1997.
Canada's commitment to NATO remains at a constant although its participation will be reduced as a reflection of the CF's reduced capability.

"We will have a military in step with the 21st century, protecting Canadians and upholding our values and vital security interests, domestically and internationally," said Collenette last Friday.

For Maritime Command, our navy, slightly used Upholder-class submarines have become a key target on Collenette's shopping list. What's this? The Liberals are now going to buy submarines? Well, they always said we needed diesel-electrics, not nukes.

John Major and Malcom Rifkind have been contemplating selling off as many as half a dozen of the British-designed SSKs. The Chretien government likes the idea. Canada's waterlogged Oberon-class submarines should have been paid out some time ago, perhaps because they are prone to leak badly. But the white paper says the government will only explore the possibility. Well, you don't have to be a modern-day Christopher Columbus to know that the Pinta, Nina and Santa Maria are no longer up to the task. We have debated the old Oberons' replacement with suggestions of everything from Rubis to Trafalgars, hybrids to Walrus's, and gosh knows what else since the early 1980s. We are now considering the "possibility"? We trust the Chretien government will consult with Washington to make certain the Jesuits approve the concept, before consulting with Canadians. Why not make it an election issue? Or just buy the damn things.

After dumping overboard a billion dollars or more from DND's helicopter budget and after killing one year ago a Major Crown Project and a Crown contract to buy replacement helicopters for the CH-124A and the CH-113, the Liberal government has announced that it has discovered an urgent need to buy replacements for the Sea King and Labrador fleets. How do you feel?

It should at least please Maritime Command to know that aircraft to replace the Sikorsky-built CH-124A Shipborne helicopters -- at a cost yet unknown -- are to be in service by 2000. That timing also applies to replacements for the Boeing Vertol-built CH-113/113A search and rescue helicopters.

Both aircraft types up for replacement were introduced into service in 1963. The CH-113 Labrador and 113A are derivatives of the Boeing Vertol BV107/UH-46. The CH-113A was originally an olive drab army machine named the Voyageur, but was subsequently converted to search and rescue operation. The name was dropped. The intended successor to these venerable relics along with the CH-124A was to have been a Canadianized version of the EH Industries EH-101, a modern three-engined maritime machine considerably larger than the Sea King.

Don't entirely rule out an inexpensive Bell helicopter solution to the present replacement problem. The Liberal's have said they will do the job for much less cost than the Tories' EH-101 project. And the Grits are more than $1 billion in the hole at the starting gate.

Don't let these tales of ambitious(?) capital equipment programmes blow your mind. An average one-billion-dollars-per-year will be cut from DND's already haggard procurement budget. Statutory costs to run the department will also drop as force size is reduced over the next few years.

In all, this butchery done on National Defence at the end of 1994 is the best piece of axe work since the Tory budget of April 1989. The Canadian Forces is becoming The Incredible Shrinking Whipping Boy as the Canadian national debt grows and grows and grows. The 1994 white paper is kind of a sad statement of reality. At a time when Canada is deep in debt, it has lost interest in national security. The new policy is not unexpected.

Go Back To Page Index At Top Of This PageThe Wednesday Report

History of The Wednesday Report --  Writers and Staff 1987-1999

        • Amato-Gaucci, Tanya (Staff Writer)
        • Blais, Hon. Jean-Jacques (Ottawa)
        • Brox, Wanda (Staff Writer)
        • Crandall, Lisa (Production Manager)
        • Ditter, Al (Editor)
        • Grant, Dale (Staff Writer)
        • Harris, Frederick J.(Staff Writer)
        • Henderson, Jim (Staff Writer)
        • Kane, William (Washington D.C.)
        • Karem, Moshe (Jerusalem, Israel)
        • Knapp, Bill (Editor)
        • Kwiecinski, Julie (Staff Writer)
        • MacDonald, Col. Brian (Contributor)
        • Martin, Mike (Ottawa)
        • McManus, McManus (Halifax)
        • Munn, Monica (Staff Writer)
        • O'Brien, Micheal J. Editor-In-Chief / Publisher
        • Reed, John (London, England)
        • Shadwick, Martin (Editor)


Publisher and Editor-In-Chief: Micheal J. O'Brien
The Wednesday Reportis published and printed weekly in hard copy by MPRM Group Limited,Canada. Telephone: (905) xxx-xxxx use email contact.Email
Subscription Rates:first class mail delivery $550 yearly, express delivery $715 yearly, single copy $15.ISSN 0835-6122
Copyright:MPRM Group Limited 1987-2000.
All rights reserved. Reproduction in part or in whole, in any manner whatsoever, is strictly forbidden.

Go Back To Page Index At Top Of This Page

Subscription Rates: first class mail delivery $550 yearly, express delivery $715 yearly, single copy $15.
MPRM Group Limited,
Telephone: (905) xxx-xxxx use email contact.
Message Board

The Wednesday Report
Canadian-Built Avro Arrow, CF-105, Orenda Engines also built in Canada.
Copyright © 1987-2001 MPRM Group Limited. All rights reserved. Revised: February 08, 2002.

  Home TWR Index The Editor Comments Defence History