AID FOR SHORTS, BUT MORE SUPPORT NEEDED FOR U.K. AEROSPACE
A decision by the European Community (EC) has cleared the way for further U.K. government aid to Bombardier subsidiary Shorts. The Belfast-based aerostructures specialist will now receive 25 percent of its development costs for the Learjet 45 aircraft in the form of repayable launch aid. The Learjet 45 is not covered by the July 1992 agreement between the U.S. and the EC on trade in large civil aircraft, but the terms of the proposed aid have been accepted as being compatible with it. The aid will be repayable in full with a financial real rate of interest and an eight percent levy on sales after the 101st aircraft is sold. Final contractual details are currently under discussion with the U.K.’s Department of Trade and Industry.
Shorts, which is designing and producing the Learjet fuselage for the new aircraft, has together with other U.K. airframe builders been pressing the country’s government for more assistance in the development of new aircraft. The repayable launch aid for the Learjet, which will be the first such grant for more than five years, is described by an industry source as "a help... but a great deal more needs to be done".
Support for the U.K. aerospace industry has become a critical issue. The industry has recently made strong representations to the Department of Trade and Industry’s Aviation Committee and the parliamentary Trade and Industry Committee, claiming that unless it receives government aid, the development of key technologies previously sustained by higher levels of defence spending will wither. The calls come at a time when both the Ministry of Defence’s Defence Research Agency (DRA) and the Department of Trade and Industry are developing a sharper focus on the so-called "dual use technologies". At this stage the MoD has indicated that it sees "information processing including avionics" as one of two catch-all priority areas for dual use technology. The DRA has meanwhile proposed the creation of Dual Use Research Centres in an effort to extract what its technical director Adrian Mears describes as "greater leverage from defence research". Mears believes that the creation of such centres will compensate for the tendency of industry to concentrate its research into its ‘product divisions’ which can dissipate effort and make dual-use difficult to attain.
Meanwhile well-placed sources are hopeful that the recent representations will bear fruit. One not unreasonable hope is that there will be demonstrable progress on proposals for a policy for the strategic development of the U.K. aerospace industry that are said to be snagged in the Department of Trade and Industry.
John Reed, U.K. Editor
SWISS ELECTORATE VOTES TO GO AHEAD WITH F-18 BUY
The planned purchase of 34 McDonnell Douglas F/A-18 Hornet fighters for the Swiss Air Force will move forward as a result of a national referendum in Switzerland on Sunday, June 6. The Swiss electorate turned down an initiative that would have halted advanced aircraft purchases before the year 2000.
The vote clears the way for the Swiss Military Department to sign the U.S. Navy’s Letter of Offer and Acceptance and related contracts later this month. McDonnell Douglas Aerospace will build two complete aircraft for testing and flight evaluation and 32 kits to be assembled by the Swiss Federal Aircraft Factory at Emmen, near Lucerne.
Twenty-six of the Hornets will be single-seat C models, and eight will be two-seat D models. The programme also includes spares, technical support and training and is worth approximately $2.3 billion.
The decision by Swiss voters culminates a meticulous evaluation and acquisition process that goes back to 1988, when the Swiss Military Department first selected the F/A-18 after a thorough evaluation involving the U.S. F-16, the Swedish JAS-39 and the French Mirage 2000-5.
The Swiss Federal Council reaffirmed the Hornet selection over the Mirage in June 1991, and the Swiss Parliament approved the Hornet acquisition bill last summer. The final decision was left to the Swiss electorate. The vote June 6 seals the Swiss Hornet programme.
"The Swiss Military Department has said that the Hornet offers decisive advantages for Switzerland and that it is the most cost-effective solution for their air defence needs," said John McDonnell, chairman and chief executive officer of McDonnell Douglas.
"We can be justifiably proud of this affirmation of the Hornet, which is proving again and again to be the fighter of choice on the international market. The Hornet is the U.S. Navy’s top warfighting priority and will remain a leading contender for international sales into the 21st century."
McDonnell added that "the Swiss are world-renowned for their technical capability and attention to detail, and their choice of the Hornet provides a strong vote of confidence that will be noted around the globe."
The Swiss Hornets will be equipped with improved F404-GE-402 Enhanced Performance Engines, an upgraded APG-73 radar, and the latest in night vision technology, which enables Hornet pilots to fly as aggressively at night as they would in the daytime.
More than 1,170 F/A-18s are in service worldwide with the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps as well as the air forces of Canada, Australia, Spain and Kuwait. The Hornet began operational service with the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps just 10 years ago.
A TROUBLED SPACE AGENCY
An extraordinary number of industry and government sources -- including civil servants who are usually very discreet, even off the record -- are being unusually frank about problems they see at the Canadian Space Agency. They paint a stark picture of an agency losing its credibility and the confidence of its political masters whilst battling a hostile bureaucracy. They also say that the space industry is suffering as a result.
Usually it’s difficult to deliver a realistic snapshot of an industry that is reliant on the government for contracts. The players have too much of a vested interest to go on record with what’s actually going on, and while off-the-record briefings give a journalist background, they can rarely become the basis for a story. Sometimes, though, when so many people are repeating the same thing off the record, that fact of itself is a story. The current situation with Canada’s space programme is a case in point.
The centre of the behind-the-scenes storm is the agency’s new Long Term Space Plan. Back in 1985, the government approved a 10-year space plan that included three major projects -- the Radarsat earth observation satellite, Canadian participation in the international space station programme, and MSAT, a mobile communications satellite. Under that plan the funding was to peak this year as the manufacturing phase of those three projects drew to a close. So, in 1989, the CSA began drawing up a new plan with the objective of having it approved by Cabinet in time to overlap the old plan thereby avoiding a funding gap for the industry. However, for a variety of reasons, it wasn’t until this May that a draft of the plan was officially submitted to science minister Tom Hockin.
Some in industry who have seen the document are content with the plan. Ron Holdway, COM DEV’s manager of government business, described it as "...a fair and balanced response to the realities of life." Others, who asked not to be identified, were not so content, describing the plan as "crap" and "pathetic".
"There’s a lot of platitudes and no supporting finance," one source said. "ISTC wants to see hard numbers: ‘where’s the return that we’re getting on these space dollars?’ And as much lip service as was paid to that by senior people in the space agency, in fact the document itself came out all platitudes and no meat. It was really quite a pathetic document."
Government and industry sources say that the absence of the economic analysis shook the confidence of ISTC minister Michael Wilson, and that he promptly ordered the formation of an interdepartmental task force to investigate the economic impact of the plan, consisting of senior level bureaucrats from a number of government departments such as Finance, Communications and ISTC, with an assistant deputy minister level steering committee.
"Wilson clearly doesn’t have confidence in the agency if he’s setting up parallel think tank review processes in this other department," one source said. "That’s the sort of thing that would scare me if I was in the agency. It says that the minister has lost confidence in me and he’s setting up somebody else to give him advice. And in Ottawa you don’t like other people giving your minister advice. It’s a serious thing."
CSA president Roland Doré said that the task force is no threat. "ISTC is in a better position to assess the capacity of our industry in general because industry is their first mandate," he said. "But of course we’re working with them because we know very well the space industry itself."
But sources say that the formation of the task force is all the more dangerous because a number of the bureaucrats involved are hostile to the agency, some because they didn’t like losing major programmes to the CSA when it was established in 1989, and others because of what they saw as the CSA’s high-handed tactics while securing additional funding of $289 million in 1990.
"There is such hate on out there at the senior bureaucratic level for the space agency right now, for a number of reasons," one source said.
Paul Lafleche, Hockin’s executive assistant and senior policy advisor, downplayed bureaucratic opposition. "Anytime anybody is coming into Ottawa looking for a lot of money, they’re not going to get a friendly reception. And the CSA is obviously coming in here looking for money for its long term plan. So there’s obviously going to be some officials who are less than thrilled," he said.
Coupled with an election, it’s generally agreed that the upshot of all this is that the Long Term Space Plan is very unlikely to be approved and implemented for at least 18 months.
"Just in terms of practical reality, even if they were to present the LTSP to Cabinet now, and Cabinet were to approve it, it would be the next fiscal year before any money would flow. And in fact, they’re not ready to do that," a source explained. "Cabinet is in the midst of a prime-ministerial race, and next there’s going to be an election. And whether or not they’ll choose to spend money or not on the LTSP in the fall as a prelude to an election is kind of hard to say. But even if they did, we would be into a new government before that spending would be confirmed."
And that has the industry worried. With current contracts winding down, and without the government funding that would flow from the new plan, most companies will be unable to maintain their technology and skilled labour base at current levels. Spar’s Montreal-based Satellite and Communications Systems Group, for example, informed its employees early in May that one third of its work force would be laid off this year as a result of the completion of the Radarsat and MSAT contracts.
With that spectre looming over them, Canada’s space industry CEOs met in Toronto at the end of April to discuss the situation. As a result, Spar submitted a bridging proposal on behalf of the industry directly to ISTC on May 13. Sources said that the proposal was to be reviewed by a Cabinet subcommittee June 8, and that while it was expected that Spar would receive some funding, the rest of the industry was likely to get very little.
Complicating the situation is the CSA’s move to Montreal later this year. The agency expects fully 40 percent of its Ottawa-based staff to leave the agency rather than move to Montreal, including 50 percent of the engineers working on the space station programme.
Sources say that the prospect of losing so many experienced people doesn’t seem to worry the CSA. "I think that’s part of the [CSA’s] game plan, actually," said one. "The 50 percent that are not moving are all Anglophones. That gives them the chance to bring in 50 percent Francophones. There are lots of Francophone engineers -- whether they’ve got the experience or not is a moot point. And they’d all love to work for the agency. So there’ll be no problem in getting people to come and work for the agency. It’ll be a hell of a job getting credible people, particularly in the senior management positions, where you need somebody who’s been through the process before."
Despite the alluring prospect of the CSA hiring so many Francophones, some sources say the blush is off the CSA rose for the Quebec government.
"They [the Quebec government] fought long and hard to get the agency for Montreal because they thought it was going to do something for them," one source said. "And now they’ve got this wounded, limping organization that nobody wants to work for, and nobody has any credibility in, and programmes are going down the tubes. It’s not exactly the right image for them."
Editor’s note: Bill Knapp, The Wednesday Report’s first editor (1987/1988), is a freelance writer specializing in space policy and technology for numerous U.S., British and Canadian publications.
AW&ST SAYS NEW SPACE STATION PLANS ARE MISSING THE MARK ON COST
Aviation Week & Space Technology reports in its June 7th edition that none of the three options the space station redesign team is scheduled to present next week appears to offer the dramatic savings from the existing Freedom programme that President Clinton has demanded.
The failure to identify big savings in station development costs has led to intense pressure on redesign team members from NASA Administrator Daniel S. Goldin -- pressure intended to make the only wholly new option, known popularly as "the can", appear clearly superior.
That in turn has sparked dissension within NASA, widespread suspicions in Congress and criticism from among NASA’s international partners that the evaluation of the three options is not being conducted evenhandedly.
At times, the turmoil within NASA over the redesign threatens to erupt into civil war. On several occasions, Goldin and Freedom programme officials have openly disputed each other’s data and conclusions. Station redesign director Bryan O’Connor insists, "We have not been asked to tilt our work."
However, a senior member of the redesign team, says McGraw-Hill’s Eileen Gabriele, told AW&ST that Goldin’s efforts to lower the costs of the radical redesign and raise the costs of Freedom-derived options have some team members contemplating formal protests. Aviation Week and Space Technology is published weekly out of New York by McGraw-Hill.
DND SMALL CONTRACTS AWARDED IN ONTARIO
Zenon Consulting Services Ltd. of Ottawa won a $963,000 contract to provide DND with personnel to conduct logistic support functions for repair and overhaul contracts and activities in Europe. The contract maintains one job until March 31, 1995.
Dew Engineering and Development Ltd. of Ottawa won two contracts totaling $833,208 to supply DND with fenders for military trucks. The contracts maintain six jobs until April 1996.
Flight Safety Canada Ltd. of Downsview received a $573,142 contract to provide DND with training courses for Canadian Forces personnel on operating and maintaining Dash 8 aircraft.
Johnson Controls Ltd. of Sudbury received a $517,051 contract to operate, maintain and evaluate a control centre at CFB North Bay. The contract maintains eight jobs until February 28, 1994.
Nedco Division of Westburne Enterprises Ltd. in Kingston won a $470,800 standing offer to supply various electrical supplies for CFB Kingston. The offer maintains four jobs until April 30, 1994.
Diversitel Communications Inc. of Nepean received a $371,673 contract to supply DND with solar power modification kits for data communications sites in the Arctic. The contract runs until June 30, 1994.
Love Printing Services of Stittsville won a $267,500 contract to provide DND with typesetting and printing services. The contract maintains eight jobs until March 31, 1994.
Walsh Fencing Ltd. of Belleville won a $200,000 standing offer to repair and replace fencing at CFB Trenton. The offer runs until March 11, 1995.
Carrying Place Sanitation of Frankford won a $171,735 contract to provide CFB Trenton with wet garbage pickup and disposal services until March 31, 1995.
Cleaning Service by Deline in Harrowsmith won a $160,500 contract to provide wet garbage pickup and disposal services at CFB Kingston until March 31, 1994.
Jim Pate of Baltimore received a $100,000 standing offer to renovate the bathrooms in the married quarters at CFB Kingston. The offer runs until March 31, 1994.
ROCKWELL WINS MILSTAR TERMINAL CONTRACT
Rockwell International Corporation has been awarded a $111 million contract to produce 24 Command Post Terminals (CPT) and 65 percent of the spares for the U.S. Air Force Milstar communication satellite programme. The contract was issued last week by the U.S.A.F.’s Electronic Systems Centre at Hanscom Air Force Base in Massachusetts, bringing the total value of Rockwell’s Milstar Command Post Terminal programme to more than $500 million.
"This is an important win that establishes us as a leader in the extremely high-frequency (EHF) satellite communication terminal market," said John McLuckey, president of Rockwell’s Defence Electronics (DE) business which received the contract. "Coupled with our November 1992 award for medium data rate tactical terminals for the U.S. Army, this award strongly positions Rockwell in the growing EHF satellite communication market."
The company says that this market is growing because of some fundamental changes in warfare and "lessons learned" from Desert Storm. Battles are increasingly dependent on the flow of information and satellite communication systems such as Milstar serve as crucial links that can determine success or failure in a conflict.
Two Rockwell divisions play major roles in the Milstar terminal programme. The effort is led by the Command and Control Systems Division (CCSD) in Richardson, Texas, a major developer and manufacturer in the terminal segment of the Milstar programme. Approximately 50 percent of the production hardware is provided by the Collins Avionics and Communications Division in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.
"Rockwell has made a significant commitment to the EHF market, and has incorporated Total Quality Management (TQM) principles into our SATCOM business," said Ron Kodimer, CCSD vice president and general manager. "The result is our emerging market leadership and this ‘Best Value’ award from the Air Force."
Milstar forms the backbone satellite communications system for assured command and control of the U.S. Armed Forces. It will provide secure, anti-jam, interoperable communications for all services with the flexibility to adjust quickly to meet a wide range of operational requirements on a global basis.
The contract will complete the Air Force’s Ground Post Terminal programme, which provides terminals for use by the National Command Authority, Joint Chiefs of Staff, Commanders-in-Chief of Unified and Specified Commands and major force elements. CCSD is also developing a higher rate Secure Mobile Anti-Jam Reliable Tactical Terminal (SMART-T) for the U.S. Army, and a Low Cost Terminal (LCT) for the U.S. Air Force.
TMI CREDITORS APPROVE RESTRUCTURING PROPOSAL
Telesat Mobile Inc. (TMI) of Ottawa announced last Thursday that it has reached agreement in principle with most of its creditors on the proposal which was filed under the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act. (See The Wednesday Report, May 12, page 6, "Telesat Mobile Needs Creditors’ Approval Of Proposal".)
"The support and good faith shown by our creditors in approving the proposal is truly gratifying and indicates the widespread belief in the MSAT project," said Bob Ferchat, TMI’s chairman and chief executive officer. "Their flexibility illustrates their confidence in our business." Known as MSAT, the TMI network will be the world’s most powerful and advanced commercial domestic mobile satellite communications system.
The reorganization ensures the required financial support to complete construction and to launch TMI’s satellite as well as to complete the ground-based portion of the network and other necessary infrastructures. Completion of the reorganization remains subject to several closing conditions, including court approval.
DND SMALL CONTRACTS AWARDED IN WESTERN CANADA
ISE Research Ltd. of Port Coquitlam, British Columbia received a $4,442,076 contract to develop and demonstrate an autonomous underwater vehicle for DND which will be used for laying cable under ice.
UMA Engineering Ltd. of Edmonton, Alberta received a $1,991,570 contract to provide DND with a design and cost estimates to shut down and clean up 11 Distant Early Warning (DEW) sites in the north. The contract maintains 12 jobs until February 28, 1994.
Cubic Field Services Canada Limited of Grand Centre, Alberta received a $1,963,460 contract to manage a system for training DND aircraft crews. The contract maintains nine jobs until September 30, 1995.
Northwest Industries Limited of Edmonton received a $631,300 contract amendment to convert CT-114 Tutor aircraft from trainers to Snowbirds and to convert them back into trainers when required.
Manta Industries of Winnipeg, Manitoba won a $492,986 contract to supply DND with fabric for the manufacture of expandable tents. Delivery is expected by August 30.
Canadian Component Services of Richmond, B.C. received an $80,250 contract to provide DND with technical investigations and engineering support (TIES) services for the CH-118, CH-135 and CH-136 helicopters.
DND SMALL CONTRACTS AWARDED IN ATLANTIC CANADA
Survival Systems of Dartmouth, Nova Scotia received a $359,423 contract to provide DND with emergency breathing systems and training courses for air crews on an emergency exit system. The contract maintains four jobs until March 31, 1994.
J & L Construction Ltd. of Goose Bay, Newfoundland won a $23,825 contract to repair the heating system at CFB Goose Bay. Work under the contract is to be completed by August 30.
LITTON GPS/INS COMBO GETS NOD FROM U.S. NAVY
Litton’s Guidance & Control Systems (U.S.) division has won the first contract to produce for U.S. military aircraft a navigation system that combines the newest laser gyro sensors and a precise Global Positioning System satellite signal receiver in a single lightweight unit.
Under an initial award of $4.5 million from the U.S. Navy, Litton will produce five flight test units called Global Positioning System Inertial Navigation System Assemblies (GINA). Options for production of additional test units and future full-scale production for Navy trainer aircraft could raise the total value of the programme to $27.8 million. Delivery of GINA systems will begin in October. The units are slated for installation with an upgraded cockpit under development by the Navy for its McDonnell Douglas-built T-45A advanced trainers.
"GINA is the first major competitive award for production of a new lightweight inertial navigation system with an embedded GPS module specifically for U.S. military aircraft," said Larry A. Frame, a Litton vice president and president of the Guidance & Control Systems division, Woodland Hills, California. There are options in the contract which the Navy may exercise for applications to carrier-based aircraft in addition to the T-45A."
Designated LN-100G, GINA is a version of Litton’s LN-100 advanced laser gyro inertial navigation system chosen for the U.S. Air Force F-22 fighter and Multi-Service Launch System, as well as the U.S. Army’s AH-64 Apache Longbow and RAH-66 Comanche helicopters.
The LN-100 series employs Litton’s new generation Zero-Lock (TM) laser gyros which results in an installation that is half the weight and consumes less power than comparable systems.
Rockwell International’s Collins Avionics division, Cedar Rapids, Iowa, provides the GPS module that is embedded in the GINA unit.
BO-105 LS SUCCESSFULLY TESTS MD’s NIGHTHAWK TARGETING SYSTEM
The NightHawk surveillance and targeting system, developed and manufactured by McDonnell Douglas Aerospace, has successfully completed a series of firing tests at the U.S. Army’s Yuma, Arizona Proving Ground.
NightHawk was mounted on top of the fuselage of a Eurocopter BO-105 LS helicopter for the test series. The system provided targeting information for three weapons systems on the helicopter. Tests were conducted during the day and at night.
"We tested the NightHawk using the Hellfire missile system, a .50 calibre gun pod and Hydra 70 rocket launchers," said Ray Wagoner, McDonnell Douglas NightHawk programme manager. "In every case, the NightHawk established its combat effectiveness."
In one missile sequence, using the NightHawk/Hellfire rapid fire mode, the system demonstrated its capability of tracking and designating multiple targets. During launch of two missiles at an interval of 14 seconds, NightHawk automatically tracked two tank targets, designating for both missiles. Upon first missile impact the NightHawk designated the second tank, resulting in two kills in less than 40 seconds. Firing tests with the gun pod and rocket launcher confirmed the NightHawk’s ability to provide accurate fire control for those weapons.
NEW NAME FOR PRIOR’s PRODUCT SALES: GALLIUM SOFTWARE
PRIOR Data Sciences Product Sales Inc. of Kanata, Ontario has changed its name to Gallium Software Inc. The name change results from the terms of a legal agreement with Spar Aerospace Limited which acquired a 70 percent share of PRIOR Data Sciences Ltd. in January 1992. From its inception in June 1985 until the acquisition by Spar, PRIOR Data Sciences Product Sales was a wholly-owned subsidiary of PRIOR Data Sciences Ltd. When the acquisition took effect, PRIOR Data Sciences Product Sales became a completely independent corporate entity.
Gallium Software features the same team of software developers and sales support personnel as were employed by PRIOR Data Sciences Product Sales. The mission of Gallium Software is "to be a world leader in the development of software tools that improve the usability and productivity of computer systems".
Gallium currently markets five main software products including InterMAPhics, GKS, G/PHIGS, PHIGURE and WiX. InterMAPhics is used to develop Graphical User Interfaces for high performance display systems. GKS and G/PHIGS are international standard graphics tool kits used in the development of 2D and 3D graphics applications. PHIGURE is a high-level statistical and scientific data visualization tool kit. WiX is an enabling technology for porting Microsoft Windows applications to UNIX X-windows.
B.C. SHELTER FIRM TO OPEN NEW FACILITY TOMORROW
Weatherhaven Resources Ltd., which provides all-season shelter systems for both military and civilian customers, is celebrating the official opening of its new facility on Thursday, June 10. The facility is located at 5700 Marine Way in Burnaby, British Columbia. Weatherhaven’s Canadian operations were previously located in Vancouver. (See June 13, 1990, page 6, "B.C. Firm Exports Military Severe-WX Shelters For Antarctic".)
June 11-20 -- The 40th Paris Air Show gets under way at Paris-Le Bourget, France. The last Paris Air Show in 1991 included 973 foreign exhibitors from 36 different countries. In total there were 1,721 exhibitor’s. In this the 40th show, 1,569 firms from 38 countries including Canada will be on display.