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Minister Anand updates National Defence stakeholders on progress to modernize the Canadian Armed Forces for tomorrow’s security challenges

Published: March 9, 2023

As the international security environment changes, the Government of Canada is continually working to equip our Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) personnel with the tools that they need to protect Canada. To that end, as outlined in Canada’s defence policy, we are increasing our defence investments by over 70 percent between 2017 and 2026, and we are making additional targeted investments in continental defence and other priority areas.

Today at the Ottawa Conference on Security and Defence hosted by the Conference of Defence Associations Institute, Defence Minister Anita Anand updated industry partners, stakeholders, and defence experts on our work to protect Canadians, by announcing that Canada will be acquiring Portable Anti-X Missile systems, Counter Uncrewed Aircraft Systems, and Air Defence Systems as Urgent Operational Requirements (UORs). The urgent procurement of these capabilities will improve the self-protection of military members deployed in Eastern Europe as part of Operation REASSURANCE.

  • The Portable Anti-X Missile systems (PAXM) – Urgent Operational Requirement project will provide PAXM systems including missiles, simulators and associated support to empower the CAF personnel deployed with the Canada-led multinational NATO enhanced Forward Presence Battle Group Latvia with training and the capability to destroy main battle tanks. As part of this streamlined procurement process, it is expected a Request for Proposal will be issued in the coming months with a contract award in mid-2023.
  • The Counter Uncrewed Aircraft System – Urgent Operational Requirement (CUAS UOR) project will provide a CUAS capability that will provide protection measures against hostile Class 1 UAS for CAF personnel deployed in the Operation REASSURANCE theatre of operations. A Request for Information was issued on March 2, 2023. The project will be executed with a phased implementation approach. A contract award for Dismounted Equipment and Fixed Site Systems is estimated for Fall 2023. A contract award for Vehicle Mounted, Fully Integrated Systems is estimated for early 2024.
  • The Air Defence – Urgent Operational Requirement (AD UOR) project will acquire a soldier portable Very-Short Range Air Defence System (VSHORAD) for the NATO enhanced Forward Presence Battle Group Latvia in order to defeat attack aircraft and Class 1 UAS within its area of operations. A Request for Information is expected to be issued in March 2023 and a Request for Proposal is expected during Summer 2023. The timeframe for contract award is currently estimated for early 2024.

Minister Anand also announced today that Canada has awarded a contract for the Redwing space domain awareness microsatellite project, valued at $15.8 million.

Through this project, the Department of National Defence (DND) is investing in research and development to monitor objects orbiting Earth with a new agile microsatellite designed, built, and operated in Canada. To help reduce future risks to Canada’s space infrastructure from space debris or human-caused interference, the Redwing microsatellite will monitor objects in congested orbits and will be able to record and transmit tracking data from anywhere in its orbit. Redwing will also be able to take images of nearby space objects and monitor space objects performing unexpected maneuvers.

The Redwing project is directed by Defence Research and Development Canada (DRDC) with design, manufacturing, and operations led by Magellan Aerospace (Winnipeg, Manitoba). The ground stations will be located in Inuvik, Northwest Territories, and Happy Valley Goose Bay, Newfoundland and Labrador. The design phase is expected to be complete by fall 2024 with the microsatellite built and tested by 2026. Launch is planned for late 2026.

Finally, Minister Anand invited attendees, other stakeholders, and all Canadians to participate in ongoing consultations for Canada’s Defence Policy Update (DPU). The DPU builds on Canada’s defence policy Strong, Secure, Engaged (SSE) and will help ensure that the CAF is able to meet any threat in the changed global security environment.

Canadians are invited to contribute to the consultations through a new web form where they can provide comments and feedback in response to the DPU’s focus areas until April 30, 2023.

Since the announcement of the review of Canada’s defence policy in Budget 2022, DND has undertaken targeted engagements with Canadian industry leaders and Canadian defence and security companies, Canadian defence and security experts, including academics, Members of Parliament and Senators, and Indigenous leaders. Internationally, DND has also engaged with Allies and partners, including NORAD, Five Eyes, and NATO– many of which are also undergoing similar review processes.